Are you a completely different person when sexually aroused?

In this post I mentioned that forecasting how happy something will make us is difficult because when emotionally aroused, we can be very different people.

What about when we’re sexually aroused?

In his excellent book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely discusses a study he did on just that subject.

Students were surveyed about what sexual activities they were interested in.

Having them answer when they were in a calm, neutral state got one set of answers.

Having them answer when they were sexually excited produced a very different set of results.

How different were the responses?

  • “Can you imagine being attracted to a 12-year-old girl?” Affirmative responses increased from 23% to 46%. 
  • “Can you imagine getting sexually excited by contact with an animal?” Affirmative responses increased from 6% to 16%.
  • Would you keep trying to have sex after your date says ‘‘no.’’? Affirmative responses increased from 20% to 45%.
  • Would you slip a woman a drug to increase the chance that she would have sex with you? Affirmative responses increased from 5% to 26%.

You are a very different person when sexually aroused.

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