Department of Psychology

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

Who are we?

The SageLab is a research laboratory in the Psychology Department at Queen’s University.  We are a group of psychological scientists interested in understanding the intersection between gender and sexuality as it pertains to sexual attractions, sexual desire and arousal, and sexual functioning.

What do we do?

We conduct basic research, such as examining sexual responses in the laboratory, and clinical research, such as understanding factors that contribute to healthy sexual functioning.  Although some of our studies may focus on a particular gender or sexual orientation, the SageLab is an environment that supports people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. We also work to challenge the invisibility and silencing faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, and Asexual people, as well as inform the discourse around sexual responses for all people.

How can you get involved?

If you are interested in participating in one of our research studies, click here.

We are always interested in recruiting enthusiastic and dedicated people to assist with our research. If you are interested in undergraduate or graduate studies in the SageLab, or in getting involved as a research volunteer, click here for information on how to applyWe are currently seeking volunteers for the 2018-2019 academic year.

To receive updates and information about Sagelab research, including opportunities to participate in research, media coverage of research, and current events about gender and sexuality, follow us on Twitter or like our lab Facebook page.


SageLab News

November 2017:

Read about the scientists that put Canada on the map as a world leader in human sexuality research in this new Globe and Mail article highlighting the work of our very own: Dr. Meredith Chivers

Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Suschinsky for winning the  L’Oreal-UNESCO 2017 Excellence in Research Fellowship to support her postdoctoral studies in the Sagelab!

Click here to read the press release or the Gazette article outlining her outstanding academic achievement!

Tarragon 2.0 Study Launch! 

Sexual arousal and desire problems affect up to one third of women, yet effective and safe treatments do not yet exist. One of the challenges in developing effective treatments is the fact that we know very little about the relationship between sexual arousal and desire. 
We are currently recruiting premenopausal women ages 18-50 with OR without sexual arousal and desire difficulties for a study on the relationship between sexual arousal, desire, and motivations. Study procedure involves completing questionnaires about your sexuality, a phone interview about your sexual responses, and an in-lab assessment of your genital responses to sexual and non-sexual videos. 
The results of this research will inform the development of effective treatments for sexual desire difficulties and reduce some of the distress caused by low desire that is felt by up to one third of the population.

Email for more information or to sign-up!

Funding news!

Congratulations to Amanda Timmers for being awarded a renewal of her Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award!  This prestigious award is given to those researchers who excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge about women’s health and its translation into improved health for women, more effective health services and products for women, and a strengthened health care system.

New publications! 

Timmers, A.D., & Chivers, M.L. (2017). Gynephilic men's self-reported and genital sexual responses to relationship context cues. Archives of Sexual Behaviour

Huberman, J.S., Dawson, S.J., & Chivers, M.L. (2017). Examining the time course of genital and subjective sexual responses in women and men with concurrent plethysmography and thermography. Biological Psychology.

Read it here!

Upcoming Events

On November 8th Dr. Chivers will be sharing her research with Kingston women at Vino and Vaginas, an event hosted by Taylored Training Physiotherapy to promote open dialogue about women's health issues.    

June 2016:

Funding news!

Congratulations to Jackie Huberman for being awarded the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council! The Vanier Award program recognizes students who demonstrate leadership skills as well as strong research potential and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies. The program was developed to help establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Read more about the Queen's Vanier recipients here.

April 2016:

Listen to SageLabber Amanda Timmers talk about her research in the April 25th edition of Grad Chat!

New publication!

Dawson, S. J., & Chivers, M. L. (2016). Gender-specificity of initial and controlled visual attention to sexual stimuli in androphilic women and gynephilic men. PloS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152785

March 2016:

Funding news!

Congratulations to Amanda Timmers for being awarded the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award!  This prestigious award is given to those researchers who excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge about women’s health and its translation into improved health for women, more effective health services and products for women, and a strengthened health care system. Read more in this article from the Queen's Gazette.

New publications!

Brotto, L. A., Chivers, M. L., & Millman, R. (2016). Mindfulness-based sex therapy improves genital-subjective arousal concordance in women with sexual desire/arousal difficulties. Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

Chivers, M. L. (2016). The rainbow becomes a spectrum: Commentary on van Anders (2015), Sexual Configurations Theory. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Suschinsky, K. D., Shelley, A. J., Gerritsen, J., Tuiten, A., & Chivers, M. L. (2016). The clitoral photoplethysmograph: Response specificity and construct validity. Journal of Sexual Medicine.

December 2015:

New publication!

Chivers, M. L., Bouchard, K., & Timmers, A. D. (2015). Straight but not narrow: Within-gender variation in the gender-specificity of women's sexual response. PLOS One.
PDF available free at:

November 2015:

New research publications!

Suschinsky, K. D., Shelley, A. D., Gerritsen, J., Tuiten, A., & Chivers, M. L. (in press). The clitoral photoplethysmograph: Response specificity and construct validity. Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Rieger, G., Savin-Williams, R., Chivers, M. L., & Bailey, J. M. (2015). Sexual arousal and masculinity-femininity of women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Timmers, A. D., Bouchard, K., & Chivers, M. L. (2015). Effects of gender and sexual activity cues on the sexual responses of women with multidimensionally defined bisexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 15, 154-179. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2015.1023389

Bouchard, K., Timmers, A.D., & Chivers, M. L. (2015). Gender-specificity of genital response and self-reported sexual arousal in women endorsing facets of bisexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 15, 180-203. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2015.1022924

June 2015:

New research article published!
Huberman, J. S., & Chivers, M. L. (in press). Evaluating gender-specificity of sexual arousal in women and men using thermography. Psychophysiology.

Jackie Huberman's thesis shows that gendered patterns of sexual response, where heterosexual women respond to both preferred and nonpreferred sexual stimuli, are also found using thermal imaging to measure temperature change in the genitals during sexual arousal, instead of just with traditional measures of genital response (vaginal and penile plethysmography). This is important work because some critics of gendered sexual response believe these patterns happen only because of the instruments we use to measure sexual arousal in women. This study shows that we find the same gender-nonspecific pattern of sexual response in heterosexual women using a different measure of genital response, strengthening the argument that women's sexual response operates differently that men's.

Jackie won the Best Student Manuscript at the International Academy of Sex Research for this manuscript too! Jackie will be presenting her paper at the 41st meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research meeting in Toronto, Aug 9-13 2015.

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:

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.