Queen's University

Department of


Department of


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Meredith L. Chivers, PhD, CPsych
Department of Psychology
Queen's University
62 Arch Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Welcome to the SageLab

View our information page for participating in research

To receive updates and information about Sagelab research, including opportunities to participate in research, and discussion of research on sexuality and gender:

Our Mission

Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human nature. Although it may come as no surprise that women are different from men, given the different reproductive and social roles of each sex, gender differences in aspects of sexuality are numerous and profound. Traditional models of sexual response, sexual dysfunction, and sexual orientation, however, are not gender-specific and, as such, do not adequately explain observed differences in female and male sexuality. Undifferentiated models of sexuality run the risk of biasing observations and interpretations of sexual phenomena as deficits or excesses, depending on what standard is adopted. Recently, however, there has been a paradigm shift in thinking about female and male sexuality, and gender-specific models are emerging.

Our laboratory is dedicated to understanding gender differences, and similarities in sexuality, including sexual psychophysiology, sexual orientation, and sexual functioning. We conduct both basic research, such as examining sexual response in women and men in the laboratory, and clinical research, such as understanding factors that contribute to healthy sexual functioning. We primarily investigate these topics from a biopsychological perspective informed by evolutionary theory, and enriched by an understanding of the sociocultural environment in which our sexualities unfold.

To find out more about our lab members, current projects, collaborations, and recent media coverage of lab activities, or to get involved with Sagelab research, please click on the links on the left side of this page.

SageLab News

November 2014:

November 6, 8pm ET! Watch "Decoding Desire" on the Nature of Things, featuring SageLab research! Dr. Chivers will be doing a live twitter chat during the episode - tune in at @QSageLab.

Live stream URL: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/decoding-desire

October 2014:

October 24-26, the Sagelab co-hosts the 41st annual meeting of the Canadian Sex Research Forum!

Dr. Chivers will not be accepting new graduate, postgraduate, or undergraduate students for the 2015-2016 academic year.

July 2014:

Congratulations to Dr. Meredith Chivers on being awarded the Canadian Institute of Health Research New Investigator Award!

Congratulations to Samantha Dawson for winning an International Academy of Sex Research Student Research Development Award!

June 2014:

Congratulations to Sagelab post-doc, Dr. Kelly Suschinsky, on being awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). You can read about the work Kelly will be conducting here. Kelly also received a CIHR travel award to present recent Sagelab research at the Annual Meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from June 25 to 28.

Congratulations to Dr. Meredith Chivers and Samantha Dawson, on being awarded a Senate Advisory Research Council Grant from Queen's University to investigate the attentional mechanisms involved in sexual arousal and desire difficulties in women.

Congratulations to Jackie Huberman for being awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) to start her PhD in September of this year!

Congratulations to Amanda Timmers for winning a Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Certificate of Academic Excellence as well as being nominated for a Teaching Assistantship Award in Psychology!

Congratulations to Samantha Dawson and Jackie Huberman for winning the Best Symposium Award at the Psychology Outside the Box Conference in Ottawa on June 19 and 20 with their symposium entitled “New Paradigms for the Sexual Psychophysiological Assessment of Sexual Interest and Arousal in Women and Men”.

February 2014:

The Sagelab is excited to host Dr. Lori Brotto, Ph.D., on her visit to Queen's as part of the Department of Psychology's Distinguished Speaker Series. Dr. Brotto's colloquium, Mindfulness and Sex, will cover innovative, mindfulness-based treatment approaches for women experiencing difficulties in sexual desire, arousal, distress, and genital pain. The colloquium will occur at 2:30 P.M. on Friday, February 28 in Biosciences 1103 – we hope to see you there!

July 2013:

Congratulations to former Sagelabber, Jennifer Bossio. for winning the International Academy of Sex Research Best Student Manuscript prize -- way to go Jenn! The paperwill appearin the Archives of Sexual Behavior and reports on NSERC-funded research examining menstrual cycle effects on the gender-specificity of women'ssexual arousal:

Bossio, J. A., Suschinsky, K. D., Puts, D., & Chivers, M. L. (provisionally accepted).Does menstrual cyclephase influence the gender specificity of heterosexual women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal?Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Sagelab was awarded Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding to study women's sexual arousal and desire, with Sagelab collaborators Drs. Lori Brotto, Tom Hollenstein, and Sari van Anders!

The Guardian publishes an excerpt from Bergner's book, "What Do Women Want?", discussing Sagelab research.

June 2013:

Continued media coverage of Daniel Bergner's book "What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire" featuring Sagelab research. Below are some of the latest:

The Atlantic: "What Being Editor in Chief of Playgirl Taught Me about Female Desire" by Ronnie Koenig.

The Atlantic: "Turns Out Women Have Really, Really Strong Sex Drives: Can Men Handle It?" by Hugo Schwyzer.

The Atlantic: "Women Want Sex. But Men Don't Want Them to Know It" by Amanda Hess.

The Boston Globe book review.


Congratulations to Jackie Huberman for winning a SSHRC master's fellowship!

May 2013:

Sagelab research discussed in New York Times Magazine article, "Unexcited? There May Be a Pill for That" by Daniel Bergner. The research mentioned in the article describes the following studies:

Chivers, M. L., & Timmers, A. D. (2012). The effects of gender and relationship context cues in audio narratives on heterosexual women’s and men’s genital and subjective sexual response. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41,185–197. Link to article.

More information about Samantha Dawson's

Dawson, S. J., Suschinsky, K. D., & Lalumière, M. L. (2013). Habituation of Sexual Responses in Men and Women: A Test of the Preparation Hypothesis of Women's Genital Responses. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 990-1000. link to article.


Sagelab graduate students receive fellowships and awards:

Congratulations to Amanda Timmers for winning a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship!

Congratulations to Samantha Dawson for being awarded the University of Lethbridge's Medal of Merit!

Congratulations to Jackie Huberman for winning an Ontario Graduate Scholarship!

September 2012:

Welcome to Jackie Huberman and Sam Dawson, the newest grad students in the Sagelab!

Congratulations to Jackie Huberman for winning the Society for Sex Therapy and ResearchSandra J. Leiblum Student Research Award for her manuscript entitled, "Relationship between impression management and three measures of women’s self-reported sexual arousal."Way to go Jackie!

Jackie also won theStudent PosterAward for the same paper at the annual Canadian Sex Research Forum meeting in Ottawa.

June 2012:

Sagelab was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to investigate the effects of gender norms on agreement betweengenital and self-reported sexual arousal! Congratulations to Drs. Chivers, Suschinsky and our collaborator at Ohio State University, Dr. Terri Fisher!

January 2012:

Welcome to Dr. Kelly Suschinsky, Sagelab's first post-doctoral fellow! Kelly will be leading new research on agreement between genital and self-reported and methods of assessing genital response.

November 2011:

Meredith Chivers returns to her sex therapist roots and offers sex advice on Dan Savage's sex advice column, Savage Love, November 16, 2011.

On November 15th, 2011, Sagelab's Jenn Bossio (pic below) and Jessica Spape received their Master's of Science. Congratulations to Jenn & Jessica -- Here's to creating more sex researchers!

October 2011:

Sagelab is now tweeting from QSagelab. Follow us on Twitter to stay updated on lab news, current research, and for links to other research, media, and news on world events relating to sexuality and gender.