Attitudes towards sex, arousal, and the retention of contraception information

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American Psychological Association


Previous research has suggested that women with a negative emotional orientation toward sexuality (i.e., erotophobia) have difficulty learning and retaining sexually relevant material such as contraceptive information. It has been hypothesized that these women become aroused by this material and that this arousal interferes with their ability to learn it. The importance of this issue led us to conduct the current study. Erotophobic and erotophilic women viewed presentations about contraception while their physiological responses were being monitored. In addition, they were tested on the information contained in the presentation before, immediately after, and again 4-6 weeks after the presentation. The results indicated that the erotophobic women knew less contraceptive information before the presentation and were more aroused by the presentation. This arousal, however, did not interfere with retention of the material. These results are discussed in terms of individual differences in reactions to sexual material and the ability to learn, retain, and use contraceptive information.

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