Women’s Sex-Related Dissociation: The Effects of Alcohol Intoxication, Attentional Control Instructions, and History of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Elizabeth R. Bird, Amanda K. Gilmore, Cynthia A. Stappenbeck, Julia R. Heiman, Kelly Davis, Jeanette Norris, William H. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined influences of alcohol intoxication, attentional control, and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) severity on sex-related dissociation. Sex-related dissociation is defined here as dissociation (e.g., feeling as if the world is unreal and feeling disconnected from one's body) during sexual activity or in the presence of sexual stimuli. Women (N = 70) were randomized to a 2 (alcohol condition: none,.10% peak breath alcohol concentration) X 2 (attentional control instructions: none, “relax and maximize” sexual arousal) experiment and exposed to sexual stimuli. Alcohol intoxication was positively associated with sex-related dissociation. CSA severity and sex-related dissociation were positively associated in the no-instruction condition but not in the “relax and maximize” condition. For some women, efforts to relax and maximize sexual arousal may buffer the association between CSA and sex-related dissociation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sex and Marital Therapy
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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