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A psychophysical and neuroimaging analysis of genital hedonic sensation in men

Ruesink, GB, McGlone, FP, Olausson, H, de Jong, C, Marsman, JB, Renken, RJ and Georgiadis, JR (2022) A psychophysical and neuroimaging analysis of genital hedonic sensation in men. Scientific Reports, 12 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Current understanding of human genital-brain interactions relates primarily to neuroendocrine and autonomic control, whereas interactions during sexual stimulation remain largely unexplored. Here we present a systematic approach towards identifying how the human brain encodes sensory genital information. Using a validated affective touch paradigm and functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that hedonic responses to discriminatory versus affective tactile stimulation were distinctly different for both penile shaft and forearm. This suggests that, as with other body sites, genital skin contains small diameter mechanoreceptive nerve fibres that signal pleasant touch. In the brain, secondary somatosensory cortex (S2) distinguished between affective and discriminative touch for the penile shaft, but not for the forearm. Frenulum stimulation induced the greatest reports of subjective pleasure and led to the greatest deactivation of the default-mode network. This study represents a first pass at investigating, in humans, the relationship between innervation of genital surfaces, hedonic feelings, and brain mechanisms, in a systematic way.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Genitalia; Somatosensory Cortex; Humans; Physical Stimulation; Touch; Male; Touch Perception; Neuroimaging; Genitalia; Humans; Male; Neuroimaging; Physical Stimulation; Somatosensory Cortex; Touch; Touch Perception
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 08:27
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2022 08:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41598-022-14020-4
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17262
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