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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Available from: William Henry George, Jan 04, 2016
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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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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Archives of Sexual Behavior

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    ABSTRACT: Although there have been numerous investigations of alcohol's relationship to sexual risk taking, the vast majority of these studies have not examined whether the biphasic nature of alcohol intoxication differentially influences risky sexual decisions. Thus, a laboratory study was conducted to investigate the effects of alcohol consumption and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limb on sexual risk-taking intentions. Participants (N = 150; 51.3% male) were randomly assigned to consume alcoholic drinks (target peak BAC = .08%) or nonalcoholic drinks and then completed a hypothetical sexual risk assessment involving an opposite-gender new partner while on either the ascending BAC limb or descending BAC limb. Alcohol intoxication resulted in increased sexual risk-taking intentions indirectly through its influence on perceived intoxication and, subsequently, sexual arousal. An interaction of beverage condition and BAC limb condition indicated that alcohol's effects on perceived intoxication varied significantly by limb, with those on the ascending limb reporting greater perceived intoxication than those on the descending limb. Findings suggest that future research and prevention efforts would be better informed through a more comprehensive consideration of BAC limb effects on sexual risk behaviors. Moreover, results indicate that prevention programs should address in-the-moment states, such as perceived intoxication and sexual arousal, in interventions targeting risky sexual decision-making processes.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs
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