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The Influence of Arousal

Often, in movies or books, two characters are swept away in “the heat of the moment” and commit sexual acts they might not have otherwise.

With so many societal warnings against “heat of the moment” activities, Dan Ariely and George Loewenstein found it odd that little research has been conducted on the impact of sexual arousal on judgment. Through research, the authors find that aroused participants’ interest in procuring sex increased, willingness to use morally questionable methods to obtain the sex increased and probability of using protection decreased. The authors believe the participants were unable to predict how much of an effect a state of arousal will have on their decision-making.

The results show that people simply don’t realize how different their decision-making is during a state of arousal.  A few representative results

 

Can you imagine having sex with a 60-year-old woman
Sober: 7%
Aroused: 23%

 

Could you enjoy having sex with someone you hated?
Sober: 53%
Aroused: 77%

 

Is just kissing frustrating?
Sober: 41%
Aroused: 69%

 

Would you slip a woman a drug to increase the chance she’d have sex with you?
Sober: 5%
Aroused: 26%

 

Would you use a condom even if you were afraid that a woman might change her mind while you went to get it?
Sober: 86%
Aroused: 60%

Implications: Someone may promise to just say no, but that promise is less likely to hold up during a state of arousal.

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