Journal of Sex Research vol:43 issue:2 pages:136-43
Negative mood states, such as depression and anxiety, are typically associated with decreased sexual interest and arousal. However, there is also some evidence that depressed or anxious mood may increase sexual interest or arousal in some individuals. In this study, 663 female college students (mean age = 18.9 years, SD = 1.21) answered questions regarding the effects of anxious and depressed mood on sexual interest and arousal and completed trait measures of sexual excitation and inhibition, anxiety, and depression. The majority of women reported decreased sexual interest and response when feeling depressed or anxious; a minority (about 10%) of women, however, reported increased sexual interest/response during anxious and depressed mood. This sample of women was compared to a sample of 399 college-aged men. In general, men were more likely than women to report increased sexual interest during negative mood states. Of the variables explored, propensity for sexual excitation was the strongest predictor of the relationship between negative mood and sexuality in women. Individual differences in the effects of negative mood may prove relevant to our understanding of a variety of topics, including risky and compulsive sexual behavior and sexual dysfunction.