The Interplay of Sexual Arousal and Power-Related Emotions in Men’s Alcohol-Involved Sexual Aggression Intentions

Kelly Cue Davis, Elizabeth C. Neilson, Mitchell Kirwan, Elizabeth R. Bird, Nolan Eldridge, William H. George, Cynthia A. Stappenbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research has identified power/dominance and sexual arousal as key motivators of men’s sexual aggression; however, little research has examined the interplay of these two factors in alcohol-involved sexual aggression. Two alcohol administration experiments investigated the roles of power-related sex motives and power- and sexual arousal-related emotions on men’s sexual aggression intentions. In Study 1, participants (N = 96) read a sexual aggression scenario after random assignment to consume either an alcoholic (target peak BrAC = .10%) or nonalcoholic beverage. Results indicated that power-related sex motives indirectly predicted stronger sexual aggression intentions through greater in-the-moment power-related emotions but not through sexual arousal-related emotions. Intoxicated men with more severe perpetration histories reported stronger sexual aggression intentions. In Study 2, participants (N = 203) completed similar measures after random assignment to receive either a brief emotion regulation-focused intervention (cognitive restructuring or mindfulness) or a control, followed by either alcohol (target peak BrAC = .08%) or nonalcoholic beverage consumption. Results demonstrated that greater power-related sex motives indirectly predicted stronger sexual aggression intentions through greater feelings of power and sexual arousal. Additionally, findings suggest that cognitive restructuring approaches may mitigate these relationships in sober men, while mindfulness approaches may exacerbate these relationships in intoxicated men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Sex Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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