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Learn More. This experimental study examined effects of alcohol consumption and sexual sensation seeking on unprotected sex intentions, taking into sexual arousal, indirectly discouraging sex, and condom insistence.
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Participants projected themselves into a hypothetical sexual interaction with a man in which no condom was available. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that both sexual sensation seeking and alcohol dose directly increased sexual arousal early in the interaction, but later sexual arousal indirectly increased unprotected sex intentions by decreasing endorsement of indirect discouragement and, in turn, condom insistence.
Because consistent use of the male condom is still the most effective preventive strategy, intervention efforts have focused on ways to increase its use. When a woman wants to use a condom with a man, she may engage in a series of strategies, such as discouraging him from continuing to pursue sex if one is not available and insisting on using one before ultimately deciding whether or not to have unprotected sex.
Contributing to the complexities of these interactions is likely to be concurrent sexual arousal. To obtain a full understanding of how sexual decisions are made, it is necessary to study both situational and predispositional influences on this process. However, little research has addressed the nexus of alcohol consumption, sensation seeking, and sexual arousal in affecting sexual decisions, especially among women. The present study investigated the extent to which these factors influenced a series of behavioral intentions related to having unprotected sexual intercourse in women.
Sensation seeking, alcohol consumption, and sexual risk taking
Three studies, which have included women, have examined relationships among sensation seeking, alcohol consumption, and high risk sexual behavior. Kalichman and Cainin a six-month prospective study of men and women seeking treatment in a sexually transmitted infections STI clinic, tested a model in which sensation seeking was proposed to predict unprotected sexual intercourse both directly and indirectly through alcohol use in sexual contexts and alcohol sexual enhancement expectancies, while examining gender differences.
Although they found that the model was supported across the total sample, among women neither sensation seeking nor any alcohol variables were related to unprotected sex at follow-up. This raises the question of whether there are other variables that might serve as intermediaries between sensation seeking and alcohol-related variables, on the one hand, and risky sexual behavior on the other.
Kalichman, Simbayi, Jooste, Cain, and Cherryin a retrospective survey of South African STI clinic patients, demonstrated that, controlling for gender, alcohol use in sexual contexts partially mediated the effect of sensation seeking on risky sexual practices.
Hendershot, Stoner, George, and Norris extended this work by incorporating several indicators of each construct into the model and specifically testing for gender differences, using multiple-group structural equation modeling, as well as by employing a general population sample of young adult, heterosexual social drinkers. They found that sensation seeking was directly and indirectly related to of sex partners through frequency of drinking before sex and that these relationships held for both men and women.
These studies illuminate to some extent our understanding of the associations among sensation seeking, alcohol consumption, and risky sexual behavior, but are limited in some ways as well.
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First, Hendershot et al. Thus, in this study we employed a measure of sexual sensation seeking. Second, there is a need to examine the possible influence of sexual arousal in this constellation of relationships since sexual decisions are frequently made when sexually aroused.
Third, studies to date have depended on measures of self-reported alcohol use in sexual contexts overall, which are subject to possible memory distortion and attempts to present oneself in the best light. Fourth, even when employing prospective survey des, causal connections between overall drinking in sexual contexts and risky sexual behavior are difficult, if not impossible, to establish.
This study attempted to address these issues to further extend this field of research. The role of sexual arousal in sexual risk taking has not been extensively examined, although some studies have found a negative impact of sexual arousal on condom use. In a retrospective survey of male and female undergraduates, Boldero, Moore, and Rosenthal found that those who reported the greatest sexual arousal in a sexual encounter were least likely to have used a condom.
Two sets of researchers have examined the combined influence of alcohol consumption and sexual arousal on risky sex intentions.
Aggregating findings from seven experimental studies of male participants conducted by their research group, MacDonald, MacDonald, Zanna, and Fong found that sexually aroused, intoxicated men reported a higher intention to have sex without a condom than those who received either a control or a placebo beverage or those who were not sexually aroused. George et al. They found that for both men and women alcohol dose indirectly increased the intention to have sex without a condom through increased sexual arousal.
Although these studies indicate that sexual arousal either alone or in combination with alcohol consumption decreases condom use intentions, questions remain about these relationships. First, only one study George et al. Second, experiments that assess sexual arousal have generally done so either once at the end of a stimulus story or prior to a story using a sexual arousal priming procedure. Research is needed to address how sexual arousal may vary over the course of a sexual event in response to changing situational cues.
Third, how sexual arousal is related to behaviors leading up to having unprotected sex is important to understanding the entire sexual decision making process and, therefore, needs to be examined. Finally, the relative contribution of alcohol expectancy and physiological effects to this process in women is not clear. Leigh, Controlling for potential confounds, differences that occur between the two conditions are attributable to expectancies evoked by the belief that one has consumed alcohol. MacDonald et al. Because George et al. After completing background measures and the alcohol administration protocol, participants projected themselves into a story that simulated a consensual sexual encounter with a first time partner in which no condom was available.
Participants answered questions concerning their sexual arousal at three key points in the story, as well as intentions to discourage further sexual contact, to insist on using a condom, and to have unprotected sex at the end of the story. The hypothesized model is shown in Figure 1. We hypothesized, based on George et al.
At the first two assessments of sexual arousal, story cues were largely excitatory, but Women looking for dick in Norris la the third assessment a strong inhibitory cue of condom unavailability was introduced along with the excitatory sexual cues. Therefore, we expected that alcohol dose would be positively related to sexual arousal at the first two assessments, but not at the third.
Path model and standardized path coefficients for prediction of unprotected sex intentions. Bold arrows show ificant paths. That is, the powerfully reinforcing effects of sexual arousal would lead those with a heightened sensation seeking propensity to manifest lower sex discouraging behavior and condom insistence and higher endorsement of unprotected sex than low sensation seekers.
Furthermore, we examined the interaction between sensation seeking and alcohol consumption on sexual arousal. In other words, we predicted a synergistic effect of intoxication and sexual sensation seeking on early onset sexual arousal. Rather than a direct effect of sexual arousal on unprotected sex intentions, we hypothesized that the effect would occur indirectly through the woman indirectly discouraging further sexual contact before insisting on condom use.
That is, before openly insisting on using a condom, a woman might attempt to take control of the situation by slowing the negotiation process.
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In balancing her positive feelings for the man with her concerns about sexual safety, a woman might begin with a subtle, indirect approach before assertively stating her desire for a condom. Thus, we believed that heightened sexual arousal would lead to lowered endorsement of indirect discouragement and condom insistence, which in turn would lead to higher endorsement of having unprotected sex.
One hundred seventy-three women participated of whom 12 were dropped - 10 because of incomplete data or equipment problems and 2 because of manipulation failures. Of the total sample Thirty-four percent were full- or part-time students. Most Advertisements in local newspapers and posted flyers recruited single female social drinkers between the ages of 21 and 35 to participate in a study on social interactions between men and women. Exclusion criteria included being in a committed, exclusive relationship, having no interest in a relationship with a man, and never having had consensual vaginal sex with a man.
This ensured that all participants would find the experimental story relevant to their current dating status and lifestyle. Callers were screened for medical conditions, such as heart, blood pressure, liver, and psychiatric problems, and medication usage that would contraindicate alcohol consumption.
They were also questioned about their usual and peak drinking habits. Abstainers, those who drank more than 40 drinks per week, and those who reported past or present problem drinking were excluded.
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Participants reported an average of Participants were instructed not to eat for 3 hours prior to their appointment, not to drive nor to use any alcohol or other drugs that day, including over-the-counter medications, and to bring picture ID. The session consisted of two parts. In the first, participants completed a set of background questionnaires; the second involved the experimental protocol. The experimenter obtained informed consent and left the room so that the participant could complete the computerized background questionnaires in private.
Upon completion, the experimenter debriefed the participant and read a second informed consent form describing the second part of the study. Following the beverage administration procedure see belowthe experimenter left the room to allow the participant privacy while reading the stimulus story and completing the dependent measures. Afterwards the experimenter offered the participant food and water.
Alcohol participants were situated in a comfortable room until their BAL fell below. No adverse effects were reported.
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Participants were randomly ased to a high dose target BAL 0. Alcohol doses were. One-hundred proof vodka presented in a brand-name bottle was mixed with orange juice in a ratio. Each brand-name vodka bottle contained either proof vodka alcohol conditions or flat tonic water plus a trace amount of vodka placebo condition.
In the alcohol and placebo conditions, beverage cups were misted with proof vodka, and lime juice ly mixed with a small amount of vodka was added to the beverage. The beverage was mixed in full view of the participant who had three minutes to consume each of three cups of the beverage. Control participants drank an equivalent amount of pure orange juice. Prior to drinking, the participant was directed to rinse with a strongly flavored mouthwash and was told that this would allow a more accurate breathalyzer reading. This procedure was standardized across all conditions even though it was only necessary to prevent placebo participants from recognizing the lack of alcohol in their beverage.
Influences of sexual sensation seeking, alcohol consumption, and sexual arousal on women’s behavioral intentions related to having unprotected sex
In the alcohol conditions, after a 4 to 5 minute initial absorption period, participants were breathalyzed every 2 to 5 minutes until they reached a criterion BAL of. These criterion BALs were selected to insure that participants began reading the story while their BALs were ascending toward the target.
Average absorption times for the low and high dose participants respectively were The yoked control participant was breathalyzed at the same time points and began reading the story after the same of minutes as her counterpart in the alcohol condition George et al. Placebo participants were yoked to low alcohol participants. The experimenter breathalyzed the placebo participant at the same time point at which her yoked alcohol participant had reached the criterion BAL.
The experimenter told the placebo participant she was right on target with a BAL of. T tests performed on all variables in these analyses produced no differences between the two control groups. Therefore, analyses of variance and structural equation modeling collapsed across these two groups. The story contained approximately words and depicted a social interaction between a woman and a man to whom the woman was very attracted, but with whom she had never had sexual intercourse.