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Trait hedonic capacity correlates with sexual pleasure and motives for sexualized drug use in young adults

Bernecker, Katharina; Becker, Daniela; Weitkamp, Katharina; Wehrli, Fabienne (2024). Trait hedonic capacity correlates with sexual pleasure and motives for sexualized drug use in young adults. Current Psychology. 10.1007/s12144-024-06017-1

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Although pleasure is a primary motivator for sexual activity, research into the mechanisms facilitating pleasurable sexual experiences is limited. The present research adopts a self-regulatory perspective on sexual pleasure, investigating individuals’ capacity to shield hedonic activities from distracting thoughts (trait hedonic capacity) as a correlate of sexual pleasure and sexualized drug use. Study 1 (N = 247) demonstrates that young adults with higher trait hedonic capacity experience more sexual pleasure and are less prone to cognitive distraction during partnered sexual activities. Pre-registered Study 2 replicates these findings while accounting for demand effects (N = 182, n = 86). Expanding on these findings, pre-registered Study 3 (N = 903) shows that young adults with lower trait hedonic capacity are more inclined to use alcohol as a means of coping with cognitive distraction during sexual activity. Exploratory moderation analyses suggest that this is particularly true for women and individuals with higher levels of stress. In summary, low trait hedonic capacity is associated with lower sexual pleasure and a tendency to use alcohol with the motivation to cope with distracting thoughts during partnered sexual activity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

PHBern Contributor:

Bernecker, K.




Sibylle Blanchard

Date Deposited:

13 Jun 2024 11:18

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2024 11:18

Publisher DOI:





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