Effects of alcohol on sexual arousal in women

G. Terence Wilson, David M. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


During weekly experimental sessions each of 16 university females received in counterbalanced order 4 doses of beverage alcohol prior to viewing a control film and an erotic film. Half of the Ss were instructed beforehand that alcohol would increase their degree of sexual arousal in response to the erotic film; the other half were told that alcohol would decrease their sexual arousal. Measures of vaginal pressure pulse obtained by means of a vaginal photoplethysmograph showed a significant negative linear relation with alcohol doses. A significant Sessions * Instructional Set interaction indicated that Ss in the increase-set condition experienced less sexual arousal. This result is attributed to performance pressure induced by the demand characteristics of the instructional set. Additional measures of sexual arousal, including TAT responses and self-report, showed no differences. With increasing levels of intoxication, however, a greater proportion of Ss reported enhanced sexual arousal. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • alcoholic beverage & experimental instructional set, sexual arousal to erotic film, female college students

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