Women and men are equally aroused when presented with sexual images, a new study has found.
It is widely viewed that men are more likely than women to become aroused by pornographic images.
However, according to research conducted by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, a person's sex makes little difference to their response to sexual visual stimuli.
For the study, which was published in the scientific journal PNAS on Monday, the researchers assessed data from 61 neuroimaging studies, a procedure which measures brain activity.
The team analysed the brain images of 1,850 people who had been presented with "erotic visual stimuli".
According to their findings, human brains react to sexual images in the same way, regardless of an individual's sex.
"Erotic pictures and videos are widely assumed to induce differential response due to sexual duality," the researchers state.
"In particular, men are presumed to respond more strongly to visual sexual stimuli than women."
The scientists state that this assumption may be due to the fact that men are more widely perceived to watch pornography on a regular basis than women.
"There are differences in behaviour – the number of men going to porn sites is roughly 80 per cent of the consumers," says Hamid Noori, research group leader in the Department of Physiology of Cognitive Processes at the Max Planck Institute.
Noori explained to The Independent in further detail how the study was carried.
"We systematically collected data from 61 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies," the scientist said. "Each of these studies investigated how the human brain responds to arousing visual sexual stimuli.
"The studies reported coordinates for brain regions that showed a significant response and we integrated all this data into a unified framework to get an idea of what factors dominate the brain reaction."
Noori added that while future studies may draw the conclusion that men and women do respond to erotic images in differing ways, the researchers' conclusion is that "men and women with this respect are seemingly not that different as people presume".
"This result challenges not only some of the previous studies but also the common public perception that men respond stronger to porn or even like sex more than women," the scientist stated.
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