Sensing Sex

stimulating and signaling sexual arousal

Media:  Talk   

November 26, 2016

Byens Lys

Heather Hoffmann

Heather Hoffmann is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Knox College in Illinois. She is also an affiliated researcher at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Her research primarily focuses on human sexual psychophysiology. Homepage

Organ Arousal Project

The Organ Arousal Project is a trio, quartet or more, centered around the Hammond organ and its weight in erotic movies, sensual passages and lovemaking in teenage rooms around the globe throughout the 70's.

What sensory stimuli turn you on and why? How does touch lead to sexual arousal? What can we sense about people from their body odor? Can we smell sexual arousal? How do sensory stimuli acquire erotic competence?

The Kinsey reports, based on thousands of person-to-person interviews, published in 1948 and 1953 by Alfred Kinsey and others, opened up a new research programme: that of understanding human sexual behaviour. Nowadays, the Kinsey Institute at Indiana and many other research groups have taken this programme to new different levels. This session focuses on one aspect of human sexuality: arousal.

We commonly think of sexual arousal as driven by visual cues. Although data suggest that touch and smell are important in finding the right sexual partner and in contributing to arousal during sexual activity, the sense of touch and the sense smell are underappreciated and understudied senses when it comes to human behavior, particularly sexual behavior. Heather Hoffmann, for the first time in Copenhagen, will focus on how body touch and body odor affect sexual arousal.

We also commonly think of sexual arousal as occurring spontaneously. However, current models of sexual motivation are incentive based, meaning that our arousal occurs in response to stimuli, even if we are not aware of processing or responding to such cues. Moreover, only a narrow range of stimuli can be regarded as inherent sexual incentives. Stimuli typically acquire sexually arousing properties through experience. But exactly how cues acquire erotic competence is unclear. Heather Hoffmann will also explain how many other processes contribute to sexual arousal.

Sex, explained in a nutshell, chilled cocktails to help you cope with your explicit thoughts while The Organ Arousal Project sets the mood. It may – or may not – be as corny as the name suggest, but it will get steamy, as drums, electric pianos from the 70’s and other instruments join in.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: