Sexual excitement from sexual risk videos as a moderator in the relationship between sexually arousing videos and attitudes, norms, perceived behavioral control and intentions regarding condom use of men who have sex with men.
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To date, some research has been done to assess the influence of visceral processes on sexual decision making, perceived behavioral control, attitudes and intentions regarding condom use. This research was mostly concerned with heterosexual young men, notably college students, and the aim of the present study is to address how visceral processes activated by sexually arousing materials influence evaluation, motivation and decision making regarding condom use of men who have sex with men. We also investigated whether participants’ level of reported sexual excitation from sexual risk videos moderates this relation. We conducted a study on a French Internet site in which 283 gay men participated. We used two videos to get the participants in a state of sexual arousal: a safe sex video and an unsafe sex (or bareback) video. The control group saw a non sexual video and the videos were randomly shown. Results of measurements of key variables of the Theory of Planned Behavior as well as participants’ implicit attitudes measurements showed innovative findings. We expected participants’ (implicit) attitudes, norms, perceived behavioral control and intentions to be negatively influenced by exposure to sexually arousing videos. We found, in contrast, that men who reported to find risk videos highly exciting had more favorable scores on these variables after watching sexually explicit videos than men in the control condition. The positive (instead of the expected negative) impact of sexually arousing materials can be understood by drawing on theory and research regarding goal activation and the relationship between higher and lower order goals (Fishbach, Friedman and Kruglanski (2003). This study showed a positive interaction between sexual arousing material and excitation from risk videos on evaluations, motivations and decision making regarding condom use. Further research should focus on other moderating factors like the influence of cognitive depletion and affect.