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Laser Doppler perfusion imaging: a method for measuring female sexual response

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To develop a new noninvasive technique to measure vulval blood flow changes during sexual arousal; 18 healthy volunteers between the age of 20 and 33 years were studied. Each subject underwent two experimental sessions at least 2 weeks apart to coincide with the proliferative and luteal phases of her menstrual cycle. An initial laser Doppler perfusion imaging (LDPI) scan of the vulva was performed. The subject was then given a chapter of erotic fiction to read and a repeat LDPI scan was performed immediately after. The percentage change in flux were calculated: the clitoral skin blood flow increased by 26.4% (P < 0.05), labial skin blood flow by 24.9% (P < 0.05) and the posterior fourchette skin blood flow by 35.3% (P < 0.05). LDPI can detect changes in vulval perfusion during the sexual arousal response and could be used to compare healthy subjects with female sexual dysfunction patients, as well as for assessing the benefits of any treatment for this condition.

Keywords: Sexual response; skin perfusion; vulva

Document Type: Short Communication


Affiliations: 1: University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hampstead Campus, The Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK 2: Clinical R & D Department, Pfizer Global R & D, Sandwich Laboratories, Sandwich, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2006


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