Dual Control Model in a Cross-Cultural Context: Role of Sexual Excitation in Sexual Response and Behavior Differences Between Chinese and Euro-Caucasian Women in Canada

  • Silvain S. DangEmail author
  • Boris B. Gorzalka
  • Lori A. Brotto
Original Paper


Chinese women in Western nations frequently report less engagement with sexuality, such as lower sexual response and behaviors, and more restrictive sexual attitudes, than their Euro-Caucasian peers. This difference is likely related to sexual conservatism within traditional Chinese culture, though the mechanisms underlying how culture influences sexual responding are not well understood. The current study investigated if these differences were consistent with the dual control model, a well-established model for understanding regulation of sexual response. Chinese and Euro-Caucasian women (N = 471; age M = 20.7 years, SD = 3.3) residing in Canada from a university sample completed self-report questionnaires on sexual excitation and inhibition, sexual attitudes, and various sexual response and behavior measures. Sexual excitation was significantly lower in Chinese than Euro-Caucasian women and was significantly associated with sexual response in both groups. Structural equation modeling showed that sexual response variables were associated with a latent sexual excitation factor and that sexual attitudes partially mediated the relationship between this latent factor and ethnicity. The findings showed that sexual excitation and sexual attitudes contribute to cross-cultural differences in women’s sexual responding. Theoretical and clinical considerations are discussed.


Chinese Cross-culture Dual control model Sexual excitation Sexual inhibition Female sexual response 



S. S. Dang is funded by a stipend from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Award No. 767-2016-2329).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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