Sexual Desire/Arousal

Sexual Desire/Arousal studies

Study purpose

In this study, we will examine the role of sexual motivation or sexual goals and their impact on women’s and non-binary individuals’ sexual well-being. We will also examine the impact that sexual motivation has on attention to erotic and neutral content. Specifically, we are interested in how these factors are related to sexual desire difficulties. We hope our findings will improve current treatments for sexual concerns.

Who can participate?

We are inviting individuals who identify as women (cisgender and transgender women both eligible), as well as non-binary individuals, both with and without sexual desire difficulties, ages 19 or older to participate in this research study. Participants will also need access to a computer with a physical keyboard (not just a touchscreen keyboard) and internet to complete the study tasks. Study eligibility will be assessed during a phone screen.

What is involved?

You will be asked to complete online questionnaires, and one at-home online assessment consisting of a writing task related to your previous sexual experiences and an attention task where your attention to sexual and neutral videos will be assessed. You will complete another set of online questionnaires at home 72 hours after your online assessment.

Contact: Faith Jabs

Study purpose

Although there are correlations between sexual quality of life and mental wellbeing, very little is known about its implications on university students. Evidence suggests that there is a prevalence of mental health problems amongst university students, and an increased demand for mental health services on university campuses. Our proposed study aims to explore an important relationship between the sexual quality of life and mental wellbeing of cis-gender women student populations. Understanding this relationship is crucial to improving health education and promotion, and ultimately enhance the support available to students. This information will then be used to suggest changes to policy, health promotion, and education for mental wellbeing services provided on university campuses to include assessments of sexual quality of life.

An online survey will be constructed by combining demographic questions, SQOL-F, and MHC-SF to assess mental wellbeing and sexual health.

Who can participate?
You may be able to participate in this study if you:
1) Identify as female,
2) Are over the age of 18,
3) Can speak and read/write in English on your own or with assistance,
AND 4) Enrolled as a student at the University of British Columbia in an undergraduate program.

Contact: Niki Oveisi

Juniper: We are examining the relationship between sexual arousal and desire in women with and without sexual difficulties. More specifically, the purpose of this study is to understand the early neurocognitive correlates of sexual arousal and desire, including attention to sexual cues, and physiological and subjective sexual responses.

Eligibility: Women (cis- and trans-women) with and without sexual concerns, who are between the ages of 18-50, attracted to men, premenopausal (still having regular menstrual periods), and in a sexual relationship. This study will not be suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are affected by a major mental disorder or are taking any medication that might interfere with sexual response (e.g., antidepressants) will be excluded from participation.


The SPACE study will compare how asexual people and heterosexual women with sexual desire difficulties attend to and evaluate sexual images using a computer task and eye-tracking. This study involves a short telephone interview about your sexuality, completion of an online questionnaire package at home at any time convenient for you, and an in-lab testing session that will involve two components: a computer task and an eye-tracking task that will ask you to view a series of sexual and neutral images.  Participation in this study will require 1 hour and 45 minutes and you will be compensated for your time.
We hope that this study will add to the growing amount of evidence that asexuality and clinically low desire are distinct entities, and inform more effective interventions for women who are negatively impacted by sexual concerns.

Contact: Natalie Brown

Our lab has developed a web-based program called eSense that adapts existing psychological interventions for sexual difficulties into an online format that can be accessed from the privacy and convenience of your own home. We will be continuing to test the efficacy of this online cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness intervention geared towards helping women increase their sexual desire. For our next phase, we will be recruiting cis and trans women (19 years of age and up), of any sexual orientation, with desire/arousal difficulties. You must have internet access, be computer literate and comfortable navigating an online program, fluent in English, and in a committed relationship of at least 6 months. All participants will be pre-screened for sexual difficulties and must meet the criteria. There will be an honorarium and participants will also be granted free lifetime access to eSense.

Recruitment for the next phase of EXCITE will be starting in January 2021. For further information or to be put on the list, please contact:  Natasha Zippan

- Closed for recruitment

In this treatment study for women's sexual interest and/or arousal difficulties, participants will be randomly assigned to take part in either group mindfulness-based therapy or support group therapy. Both types of therapy involve eight 2.25-hour weekly sessions that include discussion and education about sexual difficulties. The mindfulness group also includes learning and practicing mindfulness skills, and the support group emphasizes providing and receiving support from other women.

Participants will complete assessments (filling out questionnaires and collecting saliva samples at home, and a sexual arousal assessment in our laboratory) at four time-points: before treatment, and at 2-4 weeks, 6 months and 12 months after treatment. Treatment is provided free of charge and participants will be compensated for completing the assessments.

Entry criteria include:

  • Women between the ages of 19-65
  • Able to read, write and speak English fluently
  • Currently experiencing sexual desire and/or arousal difficulties
  • Able to attend 8 weekly group therapy sessions, complete homework between sessions, and complete 4 assessments

Contact person:  Faith Jabs

- Closed for recruitment

This study is investigating how women with and without sexual concerns respond to erotic pictures and videos. The study involves an in-depth telephone interview about health and sexuality and an in-laboratory testing session that includes the measurement of sexual response, the measurement of viewing patterns with an eye tracker, and a presentation of erotic pictures and videos. Participants will also complete questionnaires online at their own home. Participation in this study will require less than two hours of your time.

Contact person: Yvonne Erskine

- Closed for recruitment

The purpose of this study is to explore the effectiveness of a brief online mindfulness meditation intervention on women’s sexual desire. In this study, participants will take part in a brief Skype information session to determine eligibility, and complete a questionnaire to measure sexual desire, relationship satisfaction, empathy, stress, and mindfulness. Participants will be randomly assigned to either a mindfulness meditation or psychosexual education group, and will take part in a 4-week intervention period, which will include daily mind-body exercises. At the end of the intervention, participants will complete the same questionnaire to determine your post-intervention measures. This study spans across 6 weeks, and will take up approximately 6 hours of your time cumulatively.

Contact person: Adrianna Xue

- Closed for recruitment

Researchers at VGH and UBC are investigating the relationship between stress hormones (cortisol and DHEA), mood, and history of stressors, in women with and without sexual desire complaints. Women will take part in a face-to-face interview at our clinic, complete questionnaires and provide saliva samples from home to be analyzed for cortisol & DHEA. This project is led by Dr. Rosemary Basson from the BC Centre for Sexual Medicine.

Contact: Julia O'Loughlin

For prostate cancer patients, there are many well-designed quality of life studies in the heterosexual population. However, very little research has been dedicated to sexual function post treatment in men-who-have-sex-with-men. Through this study, we will develop and validate an assessment tool for sexual quality of life following prostate cancer treatment in men-who-have-sex-with-men.  By completing an online survey, which takes about 25 minutes, participants will have one in ten chance to win $50.

Contact: Dr. Tsz Kin (Bernard) Lee

Click here to complete the COMPASS study survey