According to the study, sexual arousal can be detected by the composition of the air we breathe. Subjects exhaled less isoprene and carbon dioxide, but the concentration of breakdown products of certain neurotransmitters increased, according to a statement from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Mainz. The researchers had subjects watch various film clips – including an erotic film – and analyzed their breath.
The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, could help better assess sexual dysfunction, it said. However, only 24 men and women participated in the study. “In order to increase the overall validity, we would like to repeat the study with a larger number of subjects,” says Giovanni Pugliese, a researcher at MPIC.
Subjects watched different film clips in a random order at the SexLab at the University of Porto: a nature trip documentary, a horror film, a football match and an erotic film. Meanwhile, her breath was continuously analyzed for more than 100 organic compounds. At the same time, the researchers measured the subjects’ sexual arousal by determining, for example, the rise in temperature in the genitals.
“In general, the results of the breath analysis were clearer in men than in women,” says Pugliese. The researchers did not see the same increase in volatiles in women as in men. In addition, some women were not particularly excited by erotic films.