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Addict Behav. 2008 Sep;33(9):1167-76. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.04.017. Epub 2008 May 8.

Women's condom use assertiveness and sexual risk-taking: effects of alcohol intoxication and adult victimization.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105-4631 USA.


This experiment examined relationships among adulthood victimization, sexual assertiveness, alcohol intoxication, and sexual risk-taking in female social drinkers (N=161). Women completed measures of sexual assault and intimate partner violence history and sexual assertiveness before random assignment to 1 of 4 beverage conditions: control, placebo, low dose (.04%), or high dose (.08%). After drinking, women read a second-person story involving a sexual encounter with a new partner. As protagonist of the story, each woman rated her likelihood of condom insistence and unprotected sex. Victimization history and self-reported sexual assertiveness were negatively related. The less sexually assertive a woman was, the less she intended to insist on condom use, regardless of intoxication. By reducing the perceived health consequences of unprotected sex, intoxication indirectly decreased condom insistence and increased unprotected sex. Findings extend previous work by elucidating possible mechanisms of the relationship between alcohol and unprotected sex - perceived health consequences and situational condom insistence - and support the value of sexual assertiveness training to enhance condom insistence, especially since the latter relationship was robust to intoxication.

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