Calling time on excuses for sexually aggressive behaviour

Alcohol Expectancies and Sexual Activity



Press Release

For Release: May 31st 2012

Calling time on excuses for sexually aggressive behaviour

RCNI release fact sheet 3 on alcohol expectancies and sexual activity in advance of Bank Holiday weekend

A fact sheet which highlights research on the common cultural expectations that alcohol will increase sexual arousal and desire; decrease sexual inhibition; increase sexual aggressiveness in men and receptiveness to sexual advances in women and make women more easily coerced into sex was released by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland today.

Speaking about the findings, RCNI Director Fiona Neary said, ‘Culture plays a role in how we behave when we consume alcohol – different cultures have different expectations of how people might behave when they consume alcohol. Irish expectations of alcohol-influenced behaviour provide both opportunity for sexual violence and cover for sexual predators. It is time we recognised this aspect of our culture and called a halt to it. Messages on alcohol expectancies must convey the fact that intoxication is never a justification for sexually aggressive behaviour.’

Evidence shows that the strength of sex-related alcohol expectancies and the likelihood of acting on these depend on an individual’s personality traits and characteristics. In relation to men and sexual violence, traits that indicate increased risk include aggression, hostility towards women, impulsivity, rape-myth acceptance and attitudes of sexual dominance.

Fiona Neary, RCNI Director, said, ‘Alcohol expectancies in combination with the drug’s effects on the body play a particularly significant role in acquaintance rape scenarios where both perpetrator and victim are drinking. In these incidents, the RAJI study found that the male defendant is most likely to offer the defence that she consented to the activity.        

Further research that feeds into broad educational programmes that target and dispel inaccurate alcohol expectancies can be expected to lead to a reduction in aggressive sexual behaviour.’


  • To receive the regular blog updates and for the full briefing document, referencing and fact sheet titled Calling Time on Sexual Violence and Alcohol: The Facts log on to  
  • This is the third of a 12 part series of fact sheets prepared by RCNI to address the link between alcohol and sexual violence


For more information contact

Fiona Neary on

087 – 2222009 or


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