Alcohol and human sexual behavior

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64 Scopus citations


Despite the potential clinical significance of the relationship between alcohol consumption and human sexual responsiveness. the subject has received little systematic research attention. Clinical observations have suggested that alcohol abuse can lead to impotency disorders in males and sexual dysfunction in women. Alcohol has been associated with sex offences such as rape and pedophilia, increased sexual activity and extramarital affairs. However, correlation has been confused with cause, and unequivocal evidence of alcohol as the causal agent is lacking. Recent research using penile tumescence and vaginal pressure pulse as measures of sexual arousal has shown a significant negative linear relation between alcohol and sexual responsiveness in both men and women social drinkers. Findings that cognitive rather than pharmacological factors decisively influence alcohol's effects on sexual arousal, together with other psychosocial analyses, dispute the disinhibition hypothesis of alcohol's effects. A social learning analysis of alcohol's influence on sex is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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