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Study Shows That Some Brains Are More Wired Towards Sex

Researchers used EEG scans to determine that some people are more sensitive to sexually explicit images, though that doesn't mean they're addicted to sex.

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By Bryan Le

05/16/14

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According to a new study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, some people's brains are actually more sensitive to sexual cues than others, leading them to desire more sex.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles had students view 225 images of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant things. The pleasant category included pictures of people kissing as well as explicit sex, and researchers measured the students' brain reactions with an EEG brain scan. The researchers also took note of how many sexual partners the students had over the past year.

The results showed that students with more sexual partners had stronger brain reactions to all intimacy-related images regardless of how explicit or non-explicit they were. Also, the gender of the students didn't change how their brains reacted to the intimate imagery, meaning that men and women are equally sensitive to sexual stimuli.

But does this research mean that the students found to be especially motivated by sexual imagery are hard-wired to be sex addicts? “People may be more sensitive to sexual cues and engage in behaviors that aren’t helpful for them, but this study suggests you don’t need to use the label of addiction to describe that,” said researcher Nicole Prause, explaining that these people aren't chasing a "high," but are simply more biologically sensitive.

“Being aware that if you are going out, and there is the possibility of having a new partner, and thinking about ways to not get too excited may sound silly, but managing that rather than ignoring it may help with better ways to control risky sexual behavior,” Prause said.

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