Sex steroids, sexual behavior, and selection attention for erotic stimuli in women using oral contraceptives. Academic Article uri icon


  • The relationship between sex steroids and sexual behavior was examined in 19 oral contraceptive users. Retrospective assessment of sexual attitudes were obtained and women completed daily ratings of sexual behavior and well-being for 28 days. Plasma levels of free testosterone (T), estradiol, and progesterone were measured at weekly intervals. In addition, women performed a novel selective attention task designed to measure the strength of the tendency to be distracted by sexual stimuli. Multiple regression analyses using average sexual behavior variables as dependent variables, and hormone levels sexual attitudes and well-being as predictor variables, showed that free T was strongly and positively associated with sexual desire, sexual thoughts, and anticipation of sexual activity. A role for T in attention to sexual stimuli was also supported by the positive correlation between free T and the bias for sexual stimuli in a subgroup of women. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that T may enhance cognitive aspects of women's sexual behavior.

published proceedings

  • Psychoneuroendocrinology

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Alexander, G. M., & Sherwin, B. B

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Alexander, GM||Sherwin, BB

publication date

  • January 1993