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The Relationship between Anger and Heterosexual Behavior. An Investigation in a Nonclinical Sample of Urban Italian Undergraduates


Giuseppe Scimeca, PsyD, Department of Neuroscience, University of Messina, Policlinico Universitario, Via Consolare Valeria, Messina 9812, Italy. Tel: +39 090-22213752; Fax: +39 090-695136; E-mail:


Introduction.  The relationship between anger and sexual behavior has never been thoroughly addressed, although it may deserve special attention because of its theoretical and practical consequences.

Aim.  We were interested in determining the extent in which trait anger was associated with dysfunctional sexual behavior, taking into account possible gender differences.

Method.  In this correlational study, 410 volunteers (199 men and 211 women) recruited from the students of the University of Messina, Italy, participated in the study. Median age of participants was 24 years. Men and women did not differ significantly in age (U = 18996, P = 0.606).

Main Outcome Measures.  The individuals' sexual behavior was assessed using the Sex and the Average Woman (or Man) questionnaire.

Results.  We found no association between trait anger and either measure of sexual motivation: sexual excitement, r (396) = 0.11, P = 0.016, and sexual fulfillment, r (396) = −0.06, P = 0.134. Also, gender had no effect on either of these two variables. Trait anger had a positive significant correlation with neurotic sex, r (396) = 0.29, P < 0.002, impersonal sex, r (396) = 0.20, P < 0.002, and aggressive sex, r (396) = 0.28, P < 0.002. As we predicted, the associations between trait anger and these last three variables were stronger for men than for women (although only aggressive sex had a significant result). In multivariate analyses, impersonal sex ceased to be a significant correlate of trait anger.

Conclusions.  Trait anger has a negative effect on sexual behavior. It seems to exert its worst effects on the nature of sexual interpersonal behavior rather than on sexual motivation. We found no effect of gender on sexual motivation. However, the positive correlation between anger and relational sexual behavior was stronger for men than for women. Muscatello MRA, Bruno A, Scimeca G, Pandolfo G, Paduano R, Mico' U, Micali Bellinghieri P, Di Nardo F, Iannuzzo G, Cofini V, di Orio F, and Zoccali R. The relationship between anger and heterosexual behavior. An investigation in a nonclinical sample of urban Italian undergraduates. J Sex Med 2010;7:3899–3908.