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The relationship between age and brain response to visual erotic stimuli in healthy heterosexual males


The various changes of sexuality, including decreased sexual desire and erectile dysfunction, are also accompanied with aging. To understand the effect of aging on sexuality, we explored the relationship between age and the visual erotic stimulation-related brain response in sexually active male subjects. Twelve healthy, heterosexual male subjects (age 22–47 years) were recorded the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals of their brain activation elicited by passive viewing erotic (ERO), happy-faced (HA) couple, food and nature pictures. Mixed effect analysis and correlation analysis were performed to investigate the relationship between the age and the change of brain activity elicited by erotic stimuli. Our results showed age was positively correlated with the activation of right occipital fusiform gyrus and amygdala, and negatively correlated with the activation of right insula and inferior frontal gyrus. These findings suggest age might be related with functional decline in brain regions being involved in both interoceptive sensation and prefrontal modulation while it is related with the incremental activity of the brain region for early processing of visual emotional stimuli in sexually healthy men.

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We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) grant funded by the Korean government (MOST) (No.2006–05372: BSJ).

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Correspondence to B Jeong.

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Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on International Journal of Impotence Research website

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Seo, Y., Jeong, B., Kim, JW. et al. The relationship between age and brain response to visual erotic stimuli in healthy heterosexual males. Int J Impot Res 22, 234–239 (2010).

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  • aging
  • emotion
  • sexual behavior
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • insula

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