Expectancies, alcohol, and sexual arousal in women

G. Terence Wilson, David M. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A total of 40 university female volunteers, all social drinkers aged 18-35 yrs, were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 expectancy conditions in which they were led to believe that the beverage they were administered contained either vodka and tonic or tonic only. For half the Ss in each expectancy condition, the beverage actually contained vodka; for the other half, tonic only. After their drinks, measures of vaginal pressure pulse obtained with a vaginal photoplethysmograph were recorded during a nonerotic control film and 2 erotic films depicting a heterosexual or a homosexual interaction. The 2 groups that received alcohol, regardless of whether they believed that their drinks contained alcohol, showed significantly reduced sexual arousal during both erotic films. No effects of expectancy or an interaction between alcohol and expectancy were obtained. Ss' subjective estimates of intoxication were significantly correlated with their self-report of sexual arousal during both erotic films. The differences between these results and previous findings using similar procedures with male social drinkers are discussed. (31 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • alcohol expectancy & consumption & homosexual vs heterosexual erotic film, sexual arousal, female 18-35 yr old social drinkers


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