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Queen's University

Arousing questions about female sexuality

Assistant psychology professor Meredith Chivers talks about arousal in women and the physiological/psychological disconnect

If you met Meredith Chivers outside a professional function, chances are you’d have a skewed idea of what she does.

Chivers, a newly-hired assistant professor in the psychology department and a Queen’s National Scholar, has spent the last few years conducting studies to measure men’s and women’s sexual arousal objectively and subjectively. She said she often has trouble making people understand the boundaries of such a steamy topic.

"If I meet people and they don’t know me in a professional context, like, if I’m sitting on a plane, then I lie," she said. "People usually take that as a license to disclose personal details to me that I don’t necessarily want to hear," she said, with a laugh. "I just tell people that I do research on cognitive science and they typically don’t understand what that is, so they leave me alone."

Chivers is one of the few women studying human sexuality. Traditionally a male-dominated field, a lot of the research tends to focus on male subjects instead of women, she said.

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