Influences of situational factors and alcohol expectancies on sexual desire and arousal among heavy-episodic drinking women: acute alcohol intoxication and condom availability

Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Aug;42(6):949-59. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0109-x. Epub 2013 May 10.


Although studies suggest that alcohol increases women's sexual desire, no studies to our knowledge have examined the effects of acute alcohol intoxication on women's sexual desire. The majority of research examining alcohol's effects on sexual arousal in women suggests that alcohol increases self-reported arousal. In an alcohol administration study in which women projected themselves into an eroticized scenario depicting a consensual sexual encounter with a new male partner, we examined the effects of alcohol and condom condition on women's sexual desire and arousal. The moderating effects of sex-related alcohol expectancies were also examined. Results revealed that alcohol intoxication was related to less desire to engage in sex with a new partner and condom presence was related to more desire. Alcohol interacted with sexual disinhibition alcohol expectancies, indicating that more expectancy endorsement was associated with greater sexual desire and self-reported arousal in the alcohol condition, but not the control condition. Condom condition had no effect on self-reported sexual arousal. The present research suggests that sexual desire merits research attention in non-clinical samples, and experimental methodology can provide valuable information about alcohol's influence on women's sexual desire, thus advancing our understanding of this relationship beyond cross-sectional correlations. The current findings also provide evidence that sex-related alcohol expectancies may play an important role in alcohol-involved sexual experiences including desire and arousal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Condoms*
  • Decision Making / drug effects
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects
  • Social Environment*
  • Unsafe Sex / drug effects


  • Ethanol