Let’s play a game: “Never have I ever hooked up drunk.” Look around, there are a lot of fingers — and drinks — going down. As college students, drinking and sex are probably two of our favorite pastimes. That’s okay, except when we rely on the former to feel comfortable with the latter. I’m not here to preach against drinking or sex, but against the dangerous cycle of only being able to be sexual while intoxicated, and using alcohol as the catalyst or the excuse. So, here’s my top ten list of reasons not to have drunken sex:
p. Reason 10: You might regret it in the morning. Everyone knows this one — you’re obviously not at your peak decision-making capability after more than a few drinks. You might regret your choice of partner, the fact that you forgot about your boyfriend or the fact that you did it in the living room. In any case, choices made under the influence are not always the same choices that you might make while sober. Nothing goes worse with a hangover than an extra dose of regret.
p. Reason nine: You don’t know who’s watching. Seriously, this could be a problem. Drunken liaisons do not always occur in the privacy of one’s own room. Many encounters take place at the same parties where they began. This is fine if you have a little bit of an exhibitionist streak, and you don’t care who knows that you hooked up with so-and-so and who saw you doing it. However, if you like to keep your personal life personal, this may cause problems.
p. Reason eight: You may not be able to communicate clearly. Communication is a key to good sex, and a lack thereof is a recipe for problems. If someone is having trouble communicating “no” to their partner, serious issues arise. In a survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 100,000 college students reported occasions of being too drunk to know whether they gave consent. Other results could just be bad: uncomfortable sex, or perhaps moaning the wrong name. In any cause, awkwardness may ensue.
p. Reason seven: Overdosing on alcohol may make you nauseated. A potentially upset stomach probably won’t appreciate the rhythmic bouncing that usually constitutes sex. Plus, depending on what you’ve been drinking, you might feel fine at first and then find yourself feeling really bad at a really awkward moment. Chances are, that will not get you a second chance.
p. Reason six: There might have been a reason you had inhibitions sober. I’m not saying inhibitions are good, but there is no denying that there is a purpose for having them. If you feel uncomfortable about having sex sober, you probably shouldn’t do it drunk.
p. Reason five: It might be illegal. The legal definition of rape includes sex when one or both partners are intoxicated, because it is assumed that a drunken person is incapable of truly giving consent. While the law is protecting victim’s rights in many situations, it also creates a dangerous gray area for people who believe that they are having consensual sex.
p. Reason four: You probably won’t be very good at it. Studies have shown that sexual performance, along with other motor coordination skills, declines at a blood alcohol content of .06 to .10. You’ll be less sensitive to stimuli and less coordinated at providing stimuli. If you’re male, you may be less able to maintain an erection and achieve an orgasm.
p. Reason three: You might forget to use protection. According to a Washington Post survey, 38 percent of Virginia college students have had alcohol use lead to unsafe sex. That’s just not cool. Sex has its responsibilities (I know I sound like your parents, but it’s true) and a main one is using protection. Unplanned pregnancies and STIs can be life-altering, and they can occur even if you only did it “just that one night.”
p. Reason two: Drinking is directly linked to sexual violence. I know that everyone thinks that it could never happen to them, but an NIAAA survey reported that 50 percent of all sexual assaults occur when alcohol is involved. Of those assaults, almost all (97 percent) involved an inebriated assailant and an inebriated victim. Staying sober can help you make the important choices necessary to protect yourself.
p. Reason one: Sex is more fun when you are fully aware that you’re having it. If you’re going to have sex, you’ll enjoy it more if you are sober enough to appreciate it all. Sex should not be something you’re glad to have forgotten about the next morning.
So, there you have it, 10 reasons not to engage in drunken sex. If you still don’t believe me, I’ve got one extra: If you’re drunk, you might not be able to figure out how to use the handcuffs, and that would just be unfortunate.
p. __Kate Prengaman is the Flat Hat sex columnist. She is a list-making task master … in bed.__