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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.


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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