Risky Sex: Interactions among Ethnicity, Sexual Sensation Seeking, Sexual Inhibition, and Sexual Excitation

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Citation of Original Publication

Nguyen, H. V., Koo, K. H., Davis, K. C., Otto, J. M., Hendershot, C. S., Schacht, R. L., George, W. H., Heiman, J. R., & Norris, J. (2012). Risky sex: interactions among ethnicity, sexual sensation seeking, sexual inhibition, and sexual excitation. Archives of sexual behavior, 41(5), 1231–1239. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-012-9904-z


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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Archives of sexual behavior. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-012-9904-z.



Rates of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, vary across ethnic minority groups, yet few studies have evaluated sexual risk behaviors and their psychological correlates to determine if risk and protective factors vary by ethnicity. The purpose of the current study was to assess sexual sensation seeking (SSS), sexual inhibition (SIS1 and SIS2), and sexual excitation (SES) as correlates of risky sexual behaviors in 106 (55 male and 51 female) Asian Americans, African Americans, and Caucasian Americans. Results revealed that higher SSS was associated with more vaginal and anal sex partners. Further, the association between SSS and the number of anal sex partners was positive among Asian Americans and Caucasians, but non-significant among African Americans. SIS1 was positively associated with unprotected sex on the first date among Asian Americans and African Americans. However, the association was not significant for Caucasians. SIS2 was negatively associated with general unprotected sex, and SES was positively associated with the number of vaginal sex partners. Findings suggest that ethnicity plays an important moderating role in the relationship between sexual traits and risky sexual behaviors.