Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1577–1589 | Cite as

Effects of Sexual Arousal and Alcohol Cues on Acute Motivation for Alcohol

  • Philip J. Spelman
  • Jeffrey S. Simons
Original Paper


Reward-related stimuli can induce motivation to obtain rewards both within and across domains. We tested within- and cross-domain effects of environmental context (mock bar vs. laboratory) and sexually arousing stimuli (pornography vs. nature film) on acute motivation for alcohol as measured by a state-based alcohol purchase task in 109 male and female college students. Our results showed significant effects of both sexual arousal and environmental context on acute motivation for alcohol. A limited subsample analysis (N = 84) revealed significant effects of both sexual arousal and environmental context conditions on elasticity. Consistent with hypotheses, the presence of either sex- or alcohol-related cues increased acute motivation for alcohol and decreased sensitivity to costs of drinking. Furthermore, there was a significant video × laboratory condition interaction in the elasticity analysis. Our findings suggest that both sexually arousing stimuli and incidental environmental alcohol cues may significantly increase the effort one will expend to consume alcohol and thus the potential for risky drinking behavior. We believe this is the first experiment to use demand curves to present evidence of cross-domain effects of sexually arousing stimuli on acute motivation for alcohol.


Sexual arousal Alcohol Purchase Task Demand curves Behavioral economics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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