All studies will take place in campus in the Mount Allison Sexual Health Research Lab in the Psychology department. Your participation will often involve watching explicit erotic films featuring heterosexual couples engaging in petting, oral sex, and vaginal intercourse. The videos are carefully selected and edited by research assistants to ensure that each video adheres to strict guidelines. Following a briefing of all procedures, you will be left alone in the room for the remainder of the study. All communication with the researcher will be done through an intercom.
For every 1 hour of participation, you will receive $20 in compensation for your time. Students enrolled in Psychology 1001 and 1011 at Mount Allison University will also be given the option to receive credit towards their course (1 credit for 1 hour of participation). Participation in this study is voluntary; you are free to withdraw your participation at any point, and this withdrawal will not influence current or future relationships with faculty at Mount Allison University.
All information obtained in our studies will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. All data will be kept in a locked room and marked with identification numbers. There will be no names or identifying information on any of the response sheets.
AROUSAL RESPONSE MEASURES
The vaginal photoplethysmograph was developed in 1975 to measure sexual arousal responses in women. It is a small, tampon-shaped device containing an infrared light source and a light detector. The light source shines on the vaginal wall and the light detector indicates the amount of light reflected back from the vaginal wall, which is a function of the amount of blood within the tissue. Since sexual arousal is accompanied by an enlargement of the blood vessels in vaginal tissue, the signal we obtain from the light detector is an indirect measure of changes in blood flow resulting from sexual excitement. Once inserted into the vagina, most women find that the device is relatively unnoticeable.
There are no known risks associated with the use of the vaginal photoplethysmograph. The plethysmograph is disinfected after each use using Cidex Plus (Johnson & Johnson, Inc.) according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Cidex Plus is used regularly to disinfect medical devices that cannot be disinfected by other measures such as heat sterilization. Cidex Plus is known to be highly effective against infectious agents such as the tuberculosis bacterium, herpes simplex virus (Type 1 and 2), sexually transmitted infections (such as chlamydia and gonorrhea) and HIV.
The Penile Plethysmograph (PPG) was developed in the 1960’s and is used to measure sexual arousal responses in men. The circumferential method of measuring arousal involves a loop of rubber tubing, which is filled with mercury or indium-gallium and electrodes that are connected to electronic circuitry. A small current is passed through the mercury (or indium/gallium), and when flaccid, the resistance in the circuit is zero. Any expansion of the penis after this thins the column of mercury (or indium/gallium) and increases the electrical resistance in the circuit. The changes in resistance are fed to a computer and produce a real time tracing of the sexual arousal response (Laws, 2009).
This is the arousometer. It is used to measure psychological arousal while watching erotic stimuli. It ranges from 0-9. Zero is neutral or no sexual arousal and 9 is intense sexual arousal. Participants are instructed to move the lever up and down to indicate their level of sexual arousal during experimentation.
Because our equipment comes into close contact with most of our study participants, it is essential that the equipment be sterilized properly. All honours students and research assistants are trained on both WHMIS and equipment sterilization procedures. Both the penile plethysmography and the vaginal photoplethysmograph are disinfected after each use, using Cidex OPA (Johnson & Johnson, Inc.) according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Cidex OPA is used regularly to disinfect medical devices that cannot be disinfected by other measures such as heat sterilization. Cidex OPA is known to be highly effective against infectious agents such as the tuberculosis bacterium, herpes simplex virus (Type 1 and 2) sexually transmitted infections (such as chlamydia and gonorrhea) and HIV.
After the equipment has been used, it is washed with warm water and antibacterial soap. It is then placed in the disinfectant (Cidex OPA). Once disinfected, the equipment is rinsed with warm water, dried with sterile gauze, and placed inside a sterile bag. Gloves are worn by researchers at all times during the cleaning process to ensure optimal sanitization.