Later that night: descending alcohol intoxication and men's sexual arousal.

University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
American journal of men's health (Impact Factor: 1.15). 04/2008; 2(1):76-86. DOI: 10.1177/1557988307313549
Source: PubMed


Although men often have sex when intoxicated, basic questions remain about how alcohol affects erection. It may depend on whether blood alcohol level is ascending or descending and whether the situation calls for maximizing or suppressing erection.
To evaluate whether descending intoxication affects erection when men are instructed to maximize or suppress arousal.
Seventy-eight heterosexual men were randomized to intoxication (descending from .08% vs. no alcohol) and arousal instruction (maximize vs. suppress) conditions. Response to erotica was examined using penile plethysmography.
Compared to similarly instructed sober men, intoxicated men instructed to maximize exhibited less erection yet reported greater effort to maximize. Interestingly, intoxicated men instructed to suppress exhibited more erection than those instructed to maximize. In general, however, observed effects were modest.
Findings suggest there is no simple answer regarding how alcohol affects sexual arousal. Descending intoxication, depending on context, appears to affect erection capacity and control.

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    • "The alcohol myopia model posits that people differ in the cues they consider when making sexual risk decisions before drinking alcohol, alcohol decreases processing capacity, and decreased processing capacity leads the intoxicated person to consider only cues that were most salient to them before they started drinking. A third model is that sexual arousal mediates the relationship between alcohol and sexual risk taking (George et al., 2008). In the current study, sexual arousal was monitored during acute alcohol consumption to test whether alcohol directly, or through its interaction with sexual arousal, exerted effects on sexual intercourse intentions. "
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