Little, Christie A.; Byers, E. Sandra
September 2000
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2000, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p167
Academic Journal
The current study investigates factors that influence individuals to appraise their experience of the same sexual cognition (i.e., sexual thought or fantasy) as positive on one occasion and negative on another. Participants were 35 men and 50 women who had experienced at least one of three sexual cognitions as positive and negative under different circumstances. Participants completed a questionnaire that assessed both the frequencies of these cognitions and the factors associated with their being experienced positively (positive sexual cognitions) or negatively (negative sexual cognitions). Both sexes reported having experienced the positive sexual cognitions more often than the negative ones although the men had the positive cognitions, but not the negative ones, more often than did the women. The positive cognition was more likely than the negative one to occur in a public place, to be intentional (as opposed to being thought of unbidden), to last longer, to occur when the participant was in a better mood, to be associated with more positive feelings and snore attraction toward the person in the cognition, and to result in better feelings about self and higher sexual arousal. In response to an open-ended question, participants identified the affect surrounding the sexual cognition as the most important factor in determining their appraisal of it as positive or negative. These and other findings from the study highlight the importance of distinguishing between positive and negative sexual cognitions in research on sexual thoughts and fantasies.


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