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J Stud Alcohol. 1986 Jul;47(4):327-32.

Alcohol consumption, female sexual behavior and contraceptive use.


To examine the effects of alcohol consumption on female sexuality and contraceptive use, 69 sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 34 completed daily logs of their drinking behavior, sexual activity and contraceptive use over three consecutive menstrual cycles. In addition, participants completed a post-study questionnaire that assessed personal beliefs regarding alcohol use and sexual behavior. Although the results from the daily logs failed to show any significant effects of alcohol on subsequent sexual arousal, sexual pleasure or orgasm, female-initiated sexual activity appeared to be inversely related to alcohol use with women initiating significantly fewer sexual activities following the consumption of alcohol. On the contrary, the retrospective questionnaire data indicated that women believed alcohol enhanced sexual desire, enjoyment and activity. The findings further indicated that alcohol consumption immediately prior to sexual intercourse did not significantly alter the use of coitus-dependent contraceptives. These data suggest that women view alcohol as an aphrodisiac despite their physiological and reported behavioral responses.


69 volunteers, age range 18-34, who were recruited from among the women affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles, completed daily logs about their drinking behavior, sexual activity, and contraceptive use over 3 consecutive menstrual cycles to examine the relationship of female alcohol consumption to subsequent sexual behavior and reported sexuality. A secondary objective was to assess the effect of alcohol immediately prior to intercourse on the use of coitus-dependent contraceptives. 87% of the sample was white; and 81% had more than 2 years of college education. 83% were unmarried. The 69 women completed data for 191 menstrual cycles. 14 subjects discontinued after 2 months' participation. 1 participant became pregnant during her 2nd menstrual cycle and was unable to continue with the research. Alcohol use prior to sexual activity was defined as alcohol imbibed 4 hours or less before sexual behavior ensued. 4 measures of female sexuality were examined at each of the following categories of alcohol use: no alcohol; moderate alcohol -- 3 or fewer drinks; and heavy alcohol -- more than 3 drinks. The average number of female-initiated sexual activities was the 1st measure of female sexuality and included all female and mutually initiated sessions of intercourse and sexual caressing, female advances rejected by partners, and all autosexual activities. The remaining 3 measures of female sexuality included mean self-rating of sexual arousal (on a 5-point scale), mean self-rating of sexual pleasure (on a 5-point scale), and proportion of sexual activities resulting in orgasm. Female-initiated sexual behavior appeared to be negatively associated with alcohol consumption. Women initiated significantly more sexual activities following no alcohol than with moderate or heavy alcohol use. The results failed to show any significant effects of alcohol on sexual arousal, sexual pleasure, or female orgasm. The post-study questionnaire also collected data on sexuality and drinking behavior. 61.2% of the women reported that they desire sexual activity most when drinking as compared to not drinking, but more women related increased sexual desire to drinking a little (44.8%) than to drinking a lot (16.4%). 64.2% indicated that alcohol did not make a difference in the frequency of sexual activity, but more women stated that they were more likely to engage in sexual activity with alcohol (22.4%) than without alcohol (13.4%). 46.3% stated that alcohol use did not influence the enjoyment of sexual activities. Drinking alcohol immediately before sexual intercourse did not significantly alter the use or nonuse of coitus-dependent contraceptives in this sample.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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