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Validity and ethics of penile circumference measures of sexual arousal: a reply to McConaghy.

Archives of sexual behavior. 
177-86; discussion 187-95; 
[Record Source: PubMed]
McConaghy (1989) argued that the validity of penile circumference responses (PCRs) is at best unestablished and that penile volume responses (PVRs) have been demonstrated to be clearly superior indices of sexual arousal and orientation. In his critique, McConaghy stated that (i) penile erection has been incorrectly identified with sexual arousal, (ii) that PCRs have not been shown to accurately discriminate between divergent patterns of sexual arousal (including paraphilias), (iii) that the methodologies used to compare the two types of transducers are inappropriate, and (iv) that PCRs should not be used for diagnostic and treatment decisions. In this paper, McConaghy's criticisms are reviewed in the context of the existing literature on the subject. Although PCRs and PVRs involve different methodologies, they generally yield results that bear more similarities than differences. Furthermore, there is an extensive and growing literature on the use of PCR measures with various paraphilias. Several of McConaghy's arguments should be considered tentative while others are clearly unsubstantiated. Most of McConaghy's concerns over the validity and uses of PCR measures are empirical questions. Suggestions for future research are offered.
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