Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 217–230 | Cite as

The Relation Between Mood and Sexuality in Heterosexual Men

  • John Bancroft
  • Erick Janssen
  • David Strong
  • Lori Carnes
  • Zoran Vukadinovic
  • J. Scott Long
Article

Abstract

This paper reports on a study of individual variability in the relationship between negative mood and sexuality in men. Part 1 involves a questionnaire survey of 919 white heterosexual men, asking what typically happens to sexual interest and response when (a) depressed and (b) anxious/stressed, using the Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ). Trait measures of sexual inhibition and excitation, depression, anxiety, and sensation seeking were also used. Relationships between trait measures and MSQ scores were tested using multiple linear and ordinal logistic regression. Of those reporting the experience of depression, 9.4% indicated increased and 42% decreased sexual interest when depressed; for anxiety/stress, the percentages were 20.6 and 28.3%, respectively. Increase in sexual interest during negative mood states was negatively related to age and trait measures of sexual inhibition and positively related to depression proneness and sexual excitation. In Part 2, the relationship between mood and sexuality was explored qualitatively, using in-depth interviews with 43 participants from Part 1. This supported the findings in Part 1, while finding more complex relations with depression than anxiety. Sex when depressed can serve needs for intimacy and self-validation as well as sexual pleasure. Sex when anxious appears to be more simply related to the calming effect of sexual release, plus a possible “excitation transfer” effect of anxious arousal. Further research is needed to explore these relationships in clinical mood disorders. Paradoxical increases of sexual interest with negative mood may help explain high risk as well as “out of control” patterns of sexual behavior.

sexual interest erectile function depression anxiety men 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Angst, J. (1998). Sexual problems in healthy and depressed persons. International Clinical Psychopharmacology, 13(Suppl. 6), S1­S4.­Google Scholar
  2. Araujo, A. B., Durante, R., Feldman, H. A., Goldstein, I., & McKinlay, J. B. (1998). The relationship between depressive symptoms and male erectile dysfunction: Cross­sectional results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60, 458­465.­Google Scholar
  3. Bancroft, J. (1999). Central inhibition of sexual response in the male: A theoretical perspective. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 23, 763­784.­Google Scholar
  4. Bancroft, J., & Janssen, E. (2000). The dual control model of male sexual response: A theoretical approach to centrally mediated erectile dysfunction. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 24, 571­579.­Google Scholar
  5. Bancroft, J., Janssen, E., Strong, D., & Vukadinovic, Z. (2003). The relation between mood and sexuality in gay men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 231­242.­Google Scholar
  6. Bancroft, J., Janssen, E., Strong, D., Carnes, L., & Long, J. S. (in press). Sexual risk taking in men who have sex with men. II: The relevance of sexual arousability, mood and sensation seeking. Archives of Sexual BehaviorGoogle Scholar
  7. Bancroft, J., Janssen, E., Strong, D., Carnes, L.Goodrich, D., & Long, J. S. (in press). Sexual risk taking in young heterosexual men: The relevance of personality factors. Journal of Sex ResearchGoogle Scholar
  8. Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental and theoretical aspects. London: Staples Press.­Google Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty­five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77­100.­Google Scholar
  10. Black, D. W., Kehrberg, L. L. D., Flumerfelt, D. L., & Schlosser, S. S. (1997). Characteristics of 36 subjects reporting compulsive sexual behavior. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 243­249.­Google Scholar
  11. Cassidy, W. L., Flanagan, N. B., Spellman, M., & Cohen, M. E. (1957). Clinical observations in manic depressive disease. Journal of the American Medical Association, 164, 1535­1546.­Google Scholar
  12. Cranston­Cuebas, M. A., & Barlow, D. H. (1990). Cognitive and affective contributions to sexual functioning. Annual Review of Sex Research, 1, 119­161.­Google Scholar
  13. Figueira, I., Possidente, E., Marques, C., & Hayes, K. (2001). Sexual dysfunction: A neglected complication of panic disorder and social phobia. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30, 369­377.­Google Scholar
  14. Hosmer, D. W., & Lemeshow, S. (2000). Applied logistic regression (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.­Google Scholar
  15. Janssen, E., Vorst, H., Finn, P., & Bancroft, J. (2002). The Sexual Inhibition (SIS) and Sexual Excitation (SES) Scales: Measuring individual differences in the propensity for sexual inhibition and excitation in men. Journal of Sex Research, 39, 127­132.­Google Scholar
  16. Kennedy, S. H., Dickens, S. E., Eisfeld, B. S., & Bagby, R. M. (1999). Sexual dysfunction before antidepressant therapy in major depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 56, 201­208.­Google Scholar
  17. Long, J. S. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.­Google Scholar
  18. Mathew, R. J., & Weinman, M. L. (1982). Sexual dysfunction in depression. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11, 323­328.­Google Scholar
  19. Mitchell, W. B., DiBartolo, P. M., Brown, T. A., & Barlow, D. H. (1998). Effects of positive and negative mood on sexual arousal in sexually functional males. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 197­208.­Google Scholar
  20. Nofzinger, E. A., Thase, M. E., Reynolds, C. F., Frank, E., Jennings, J. R., Garamoni, G. L., et al. (1993). Sexual function in depressed men: Assessment by self­report, behavioral, and nocturnal penile tumescence measures before and after treatment with cognitive behavior therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 50, 24­30.­Google Scholar
  21. Norton, G. R., & Jehu, D. (1984). The role of anxiety in sexual dysfunctions: A review. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 13, 165­183.­Google Scholar
  22. Segraves, R. T. (1998). Psychiatric illness and sexual function. International Journal of Impotence Research, 10(Suppl. 2), S131­S133.­Google Scholar
  23. Schreiner­Engel, P., & Schiavi, R. C. (1986). Lifetime psychopathology in individuals with low sexual desire. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 174, 646­651.­Google Scholar
  24. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E. (1970). STAI Manual for the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.­Google Scholar
  25. Ware, M. R., Emmanuel, N. P., Johnson, M. R., Brawman­Mintzer, O., Knapp, R., Crawford­Harrison, M., et al. (1996). Self­reported sexual dysfunctions in anxiety disorder patients. Psychopharmacology Bulletin 32, 530.­Google Scholar
  26. Wolchik, S. A., Beggs, V. E., Wincze, J. P., Sakheim, D. K., Barlow, D. H., & Mavissakalian, M. (1980). The effect of emotional arousal on subsequent sexual arousal in men. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 89, 595­598.­Google Scholar
  27. Wolfe, R., & Gould, W. (1998). sg76: An approximate likelihood­ratio test for ordinal response models. Stata Technical Bulletin, 42, 24­27.­Google Scholar
  28. Zemore, R., Fischer, D. G., Garratt, L. S., & Miller, C. (1990). The depression proneness rating scale: Reliability, validity, and factor structure. Current Psychology: Research and Reviews, 9, 255­263.­Google Scholar
  29. Zillmann, D. (1983). Transfer of excitation in emotional behavior. In J. T. Cacioppo & R. E. Petty (Eds.), Social psychophysiology: A sourcebook (pp. 215­240). New York: Guilford.­Google Scholar
  30. Zuckerman, M. (1994). Behavioral expressions and biosocial bases of sensation seeking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.­ ­Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Bancroft
    • 1
  • Erick Janssen
    • 1
  • David Strong
    • 1
  • Lori Carnes
    • 1
  • Zoran Vukadinovic
    • 1
  • J. Scott Long
    • 2
  1. 1.The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and ReproductionIndiana UniversityBloomington
  2. 2.Department of SociologyIndiana UniversityBloomington

Personalised recommendations