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Common Use in the General Population of Sexual Enrichment Aids and Drugs to Enhance Sexual Experience

Foxman, Betsy PhD*; Aral, Sevgi O. PhD; Holmes, King K. MD, PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2006 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 156-162
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000187210.53010.10
Article

Background: We describe the prevalence of ever and current use of sexual enrichment aids and of using drugs to enhance the sexual experience, and correlates of that usage.

Study Population: Participants in a random-digit dial survey conducted in the Seattle area between 2003 and 2004 among residents age 18 to 39 years of age with fluency in the English language.

Results: Use of sexual enrichment aids and drugs to enhance sexual experience during a typical 4-week period were reported by 27% and 13%, respectively, of participants. Among those reporting using a drug to enhance their sexual experience, the most commonly used drugs were alcohol (83.7%), marijuana (34.7%), ecstasy or “sextasy” (ecstasy combined with sildenafil) (8.2%), and sildenafil (7.5%). Persons reporting use of sexual enrichment aids and drugs to enhance sexual experience were more likely to engage in sexual behaviors associated with a higher risk of acquiring and transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI),such as having nonmonogamous partnerships and multiple partners in the previous 12 months and sexual repertoire.

Conclusion: Whether use of sexual enrichment aids and drugs to enhance sexual experience is causally associated with STI risk or merely an additional marker of high-risk behavior or sensation seeking cannot be discerned from a single cross-sectional survey. However, these behaviors occurred frequently, and usage was common across all age, gender, ethnic, sexual, and income groups. Further studies in STI and other populations are required.

Sexual enrichment aids and drugs to enhance sexual experience were used during a typical 4-week period by 27% and 13%, respectively, of participants in a random-digit dialing survey.

From the *Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan; †Division of STD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; and the ‡Center for AIDS and STD and Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

This work was funded by the Department of Public Health-Seattle King County, the Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (MAC-EPID) at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD. The funding organization had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, the Washington State University, Pullman, WA, and the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Correspondence: Dr. Foxman, Department of Epidemiology, 109 Observatory St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029. E-mail: bfoxman@umich.edu.

Received for publication April 6, 2005, and accepted July 28, 2005.

© Copyright 2006 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association