Synaesthesia and Sexuality : The influence of synaesthetic perceptions on sexual experience

Frontiersin sexualite synesthesie

 

Ceux qui vivent une forme de synesthésie associée au plaisir sexuel semblent connaître un plaisir plus profond, mais pas nécessairement plus intense.

 


Depuis le site : Frontiersin

 

Introduction :

Synaesthesia is a phenomenon in which a certain stimulus induces a concurrent sensory perception; it has an estimated prevalence of 4 %. Sexual arousal as an inducer for synaesthetic perceptions is rarely mentioned in the literature but can be found sometimes in case reports about subjective orgasmic experiences.

Aims : To examine whether synaesthetic perceptions during sexual intercourse have an impact on the sexual experience and the extent of sexual trance compared to non-synaesthetes.

Methods : In total, 19 synaesthetes with sexual forms of synaesthesia (17 female; 2 male) were included as well as corresponding control data of 36 non-synaesthetic subjects (n = 55). Two questionnaires were used to assess relevant aspects of sexual function and dysfunction (a German adaption of the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning, KFSP) as well as the occurrence and extent of sexual trance (german version of the Altered States of Consciousness Questionnaire, OAVAV). Additionally qualitative interviews were conducted in some subjects to further explore the nature of sexual experiences in synaesthetes.

Main Outcome Measures. Sexual experience and extent of sexual trance during intercourse.

Results : Synaesthetes depicted significantly better overall sexual function on the KFSP with increased scores for the subscale “sexual appetence” but coevally significant lower subscale scores for “sexual satisfaction”. Sexual dysfunction was not detected in this sample. Synaesthetes depicted significantly higher levels of the subscales “oceanic boundlessness” and “visionary restructuralization” than controls using the OAVAV. Qualitative interviews revealed varying synaesthetic perceptions during the different states of arousal. Furthermore, synaesthetes reported an unsatisfactory feeling of isolation caused by the idiosyncratic perceptions.

 

Conclusions :

Synaesthetes with sexual forms of synaesthesia seem to experience a deeper state of sexual trance without, however, enhanced satisfaction during sexual intercourse.

The present investigation reveals novel aspects of ASCs in synaesthetes; synaesthetic experiences during sexual arousal seem to be accompanied by a higher degree of sexual trance consisting of an experienced loss of environmental boundaries and varying visual perceptions. This increment in trance possibly leads to accelerated introversion and a shift in attentional resources focusing exclusively on inner perceptions. Whether or not this heightened introversion attenuates the partner involvement—and consequently the synaesthete’s own sexual satisfaction—should be the subject of further research.

 

Janina Nielsen1, Tillmann H. Krüger1, Uwe Hartmann1, Torsten Passie1, 2, Thorsten Fehr3 and Markus Zedler1*
  • 1 Hannover Medical School, Germany
  • 2Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA
  • 3Dpt. of Neuropsychology, University Bremen, Germany

 

 
Keywords: synaesthesia, Sexuality, sexual satisfaction, sexual appetence, oceanic boundlessness, visionary restructuralization, sexual trance, KFSP, OAVAV

Citation: Nielsen J, Krüger TH, Hartmann U, Passie T, Fehr T and Zedler M (2013). Synaesthesia and Sexuality: The influence of synaesthetic perceptions on sexual experience. Front. Psychol. 4:751. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00751

Received: 28 May 2013; Accepted: 26 Sep 2013.

Edited by:

Clare Jonas, University of East London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Noam Sagiv
Danko Nikolic, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany

Copyright: © 2013 Nielsen, Krüger, Hartmann, Passie, Fehr and Zedler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Markus Zedler, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany, zedler.markus@mh-hannover.de

The present investigation reveals novel aspects of ASCs in synaesthetes; synaesthetic experiences during sexual arousal seem to be accompanied by a higher degree of sexual trance consisting of an experienced loss of environmental boundaries and varying visual perceptions. This increment in trance possibly leads to accelerated introversion and a shift in attentional resources focusing exclusively on inner perceptions. Whether or not this heightened introversion attenuates the partner involvement—and consequently the synaesthete’s own sexual satisfaction—should be the subject of further research.

 

 
Janina Nielsen1, Tillmann H. Krüger1, Uwe Hartmann1, Torsten Passie1, 2, Thorsten Fehr3 and Markus Zedler1*
  • 1 Hannover Medical School, Germany
  • 2Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA
  • 3Dpt. of Neuropsychology, University Bremen, Germany

 

Keywords: synaesthesia, Sexuality, sexual satisfaction, sexual appetence, oceanic boundlessness, visionary restructuralization, sexual trance, KFSP, OAVAV

Citation: Nielsen J, Krüger TH, Hartmann U, Passie T, Fehr T and Zedler M (2013). Synaesthesia and Sexuality: The influence of synaesthetic perceptions on sexual experience. Front. Psychol. 4:751. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00751

Received: 28 May 2013; Accepted: 26 Sep 2013.

Edited by:

Clare Jonas, University of East London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Noam Sagiv
Danko Nikolic, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany  

Copyright: © 2013 Nielsen, Krüger, Hartmann, Passie, Fehr and Zedler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Markus Zedler, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany, zedler.markus@mh-hannover.de
 
 

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