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Erotophilia-erotophobia is the disposition to respond to sexual cues along a positive-negative dimension of affect and evaluation. Erotophilia is the positive dimension of affect and evaluation, which essentially is a dimension of personality. Erotophilia-erotophobia is internally consistent, shows acceptable degrees of convergent and discriminant validity, and is correlated as expected with related constructs such as authoritarianism, adherence to traditional sex roles, indices of value orthodoxy, and other methods of sexually related evaluations. The consequences of this way of thinking could involve avoidance versus approach, various responses to sexuality and eroticism, likelihood of engaging in sexual fantasy behavior, the tendency to use contraception, and sexual behaviors during periods of pregnancy (Fisher 1988).
Erotophilia is a sexual way of thinking. Byrne believes that, from childhood, we as people are introduced to a series of responses that affects sexual stimulation, and determine whether we are an erotophilia or an erotophobia. Byrne calls this the Sexual Behavior Sequence. First, affective responses that are associated with a variety of sexual cues are changed to stable evaluative, attitudinal sets. Secondly, the beliefs and expectancies that are relevant to sexuality are learned, informational responses. Lastly, sexual imagery-based fantasies are available with the addition of sexual arousal (Fisher 1988). This is a subconscious process that most people is not aware of. From that, we grow up and through the experiences we face, we decided whether we are an erotophiliac or not. Many people think that children’s first sexual thoughts begin during puberty, which is not completely wrong. During the Sexual Behavior Sequence, the child gains the ability to stimulate themselves which usually lies dormant until puberty. Puberty allows for it to be explored and controlled.
Sex in itself is a risk. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 19 million STD infections every year (Weinstock, Berman, & Cates, 2004). Also, the rate of unexpected pregnancies exceeds three million (Henshaw, 1998). With such statisitcs, one may wonder an erotophilias involvement with risky sexual behavior. Since erotophilia is a positive reaction towards sexual stimuli, it shows more approachable tendencies to sexual contact. Some studies have shown a positive correlation in risky sexual behavior and erotophilia. The logic behind that is multiple sexual partners, for examples, is labeled as risky sexual behavior. An erotophilic, who welcomes sexual stimuli more than others, would be more likely to engage in such risky lifestyle rather than an erotophobic. One positive statistic is that there is evidence available that suggest that at the risk form multiple causal sexual partner’s among erotophillics is combatted by their willingness to open sexual communication about topics such a condoms and STD’s (Melissa 2006).
The idea of erotophilia-erotophobia was based on experimentation. One of the beginning steps in running an experiment was creating a list of items with the purpose of assessing affective-evaluative responses, some of the themes of the items included auto sexual, heterosexual, homosexual behavior, sexual fantasies, and visual stimuli. The way experimenters could tell if it was an accurate measure for the tester, a correlational, external-criterion item analysis was given. That means that an emotional response was an indicator of the construct (Fisher 1988)
One experiment featured 88 males and 103 females undergraduate student to take part in a 53 item pool. First they were to measure their social desirability response set, then the subjects viewed 19 pictures that featured eroticism and sexual activity. The results showed that the responses to 21 of 52 of the preliminary items were significantly corrected with affective responses to the slides male and female subjects (Fisher 1988).
Another experiment was done to show the risks associated with being an erotophilic. The results show that for women, the higher the erotophilia is positively associated with more risky sexual behavior. For men, the relationship between erotophila was dependent on the level of controlled orientation. For the men who were not as controlled as the rest of the participants, there was little to no relationship between erotophilia and risky sexual behavior (Melissa 2006).
Ertotophobia-Erotophilia has an effect on all aspects of life, including pregnancy and post-partum. An experiment was held to see the effects of erotophilia on pregnancy and post-partum. The experiment features 50 couples who are asked to respond to a question assessment. For the post-partum experiment, 25 couples were used to respond to their own question assessment. The results showed that women who are erotophilac showed more sexual activity, interest, and satisfactory during pregnancy. Also, the same demographic reported an earlier resumption of coitus in the postpartum period. It is said that, during pregnancy sexual activity is diminished, but that is dependent upon the person (Fisher 1988)
Some women reported that they had unchanged sexual interest, instead of decreased sexual interest, throughout pregnancy. The researches believed that it was a rarity to find individuals who change in sexual interest was not identical to someone going through pregnancy and post-partum. Some reasoning for this is the erotophiliacs positive feelings towards sex will encourage their continued interest for sex, and it will give birth to new inspiration for sex, and sex related activities. Open communication with their respective partner, and exploring their sexual options such as new positions. Another benefit of the open communication would be encouragement for one another, rather than self-encouragement to continue their sexual escapades. That is why there should be no downfall in the sexual interest of the couple (Fisher 1988)
Fisher, W. A., White, L. A., Byrne, D., & Kelley, K. (1988). Erotophobia-Erotophilia as a Dimension of Personality.
Journal of Sex Research
, 25(1), 123. Retrieved from EBSCO
Fisher, W. A., & Gray, J. (1988). Erotophobia-Erotophiliia Sexual Behavior During Pregnancy and Postpartum.
Journal of Sex Research
, 25(3), 379-396. Retrieved from EBSCO
Henshaw, S. K. (1998). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Family Planning Perspectives, 30, 24–29, 46
Melissa A. Lewis, Clayton Neighbors, Jeremy E. Malheim, Indulgence or restraint? Gender differences in the relationship between controlled orientation and the erotophilia-risky sex link, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 40, Issue 5, April 2006, Pages 985-995, ISSN 0191-8869, DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.09.015. (
Weinstock, H., Berman, S., & Cates, W. (2004). Sexual transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36, 6–10.
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