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Arch Sex Behav. 2011 Apr;40(2):373-84. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9718-9. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

The effects of acute ethanol consumption on sexual response and sexual risk-taking intent.

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  • 1Mind Research Network, 1101 Yale Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA. nprause@mrn.org


Two theories of sexual risk taking (disinhibition and alcohol myopia) were tested using genital measures of sexual response and computer measures of sexual risk propensity. A total of 44 men and women completed two sessions comparing responses to erotic films while consuming alcohol (breath alcohol doses were .025 g/kg and .08 g/kg) or juice alone. After consuming alcohol, more sexual arousal was reported in response to neutral films and at a breath alcohol level of .08 g/kg as compared to no alcohol. Genital responses for men and women increased during sexual films, but men did not respond as strongly when breath alcohol level was .08 g/kg. Intentions to have intercourse with a new partner at baseline predicted the level of sexual arousal reported. As self-reported sexual arousal increased in response to sexual films and higher alcohol dose, the intent to engage in intercourse with a new partner increased. Alcohol dose was not related to later sexual intercourse intentions. With no direct relationship of alcohol and intercourse intentions, results appear more consistent with a disinhibition model of sexual arousal.

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