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Does the sentence

It was arousing

have a sexual connotation?

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There's no need to talk about connotations - it has a primarily sexual meaning. – Jefromi Aug 30 '11 at 2:57
I think there is always context. There is no void space in which the sentences can be uttered. – Theta30 Aug 30 '11 at 7:16

Yes, it does. "Arouse" has been used in recent times to mean the stimulation of the sexual senses.

The only alternate meanings are "to cause to wake up" as in arousing from sleep. That's not used very often at all.

"Arouse" can also be used in this way:

The fight aroused the attention of the village elders.
The mean actions of the police aroused a riot in London.

This usage is also, not as often as the other sense of "sexually stimulating".

Thus, when you just state "IT was arousing" with no explanations, no context, no whatsoever, people are bound to understand you in the sexual sense. It's far more commonly used that way, that's why.

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"Aroused a riot" has a very small number of ghits, but sounds strongly marked to me. Suspicion is a far more likely collocate. – Peter Taylor Aug 30 '11 at 12:42
It depends on context. In a medical context, "arousal" has much more to do with "level of consciousness" than anything sexual. "Arousing" is something that is able to trigger increased alertness in someone. – user362 Aug 30 '11 at 12:49
+1 @al-everett Although sexual connotations are probably the most frequent, there are other legitimate, non-sexual usages. – user12549 Sep 1 '11 at 11:42

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