With the rise of our current hook-up culture, a very trendy, hyped up topic for the media these days, alcohol and sex have become inextricably linked. A fun night out for party animals, mainly twenty-somethings and college students, commonly consists of going somewhere and getting drunk with the hopes of possibly hooking up, the definition of which varies for everyone, with a hot person who happens to be in the same place—or drunk dialing a recurrent booty call if the excursion doesn’t yield any hot strangers. A report from the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois reveals that “65% reported alcohol or drugs being involved in their more recent casual sex encounter.” The association between alcohol and sex has become accepted and normalized to the point that President Salovey of Yale University mentioned alcohol consumption as something that has an effect on sexual assault convictions in his official statement regarding the university’s failure to expel six students convicted of nonconsensual sex.
There are many logical reasons why people prefer to pursue sex when they are inebriated. The most obvious one probably being that having liquid courage pumping through your veins makes it easier to solicit sex from others, and lowering your ability to make solid judgments makes you more willing to do things you normally wouldn’t admit to wanting to do, like get laid. This may particularly be true of womyn who don’t want to be considered slutty and get drunk before sex in order to claim that it only happened because they weren’t thinking clearly and not because they wanted it to.
Many people are at a loss or feel awkward when trying to instigate sex while they are completely sober and aware. I have multiple friends who talk to me about wanting to hook up with someone then say “I’ll just wait until I’m drunk and then it’ll happen.” Why do you have to wait until you’re drunk to do something you already know you want to do? Why can’t you engage in sexual activity when you’re sober and actually know what you’re doing?
Personally, I attribute this widespread trend of relying on alcohol to facilitate sex to a general lack of know-how in gaining consent and many individuals’ lack of confidence when it comes to expressing their true interests. No one teaches you how to ask people to have sex in a way that is safe and respectful. People may ask themselves if there even is a “correct,” non-offensive way to ask someone to have sex. And because most people have no idea how to express sexual interest appropriately and just end up feeling awkward, they resort to intoxication to blur over and completely skip the part where the parties involved purposefully agree to have sex.
Drunken sex isn’t always bad or nonconsensual. But obviously, blurring over consent is problematic and unsafe, as around 50% of sexual assaults involve alcohol use and it’s difficult for victims to file a report if they can’t remember exactly what happened. Drunk hooking-up is kind of like drunk driving. It’s possible to be clearheaded and functional with very few drinks, but you should be careful with activities that concern the safety of others whenever you’re not sober. Here are some tips to having sex responsibly.
Kick the habit of hooking up with people who are obviously intoxicated. It doesn’t look good on your part, especially because a person is legally incapable of giving consent if they are intoxicated in certain states and college campuses. In my experience, nice people pass on fooling around with individuals in mind-altered states because they don’t like taking advantage of others. Smart people don’t risk committing sexual assault, especially with current efforts to put perpetrators in jail or expel them from schools. Drunken sex is usually not engaging nor of very high caliber so it’s not worth it. You shouldn’t take seriously anyone who is slurring their words of consent, and hopefully someone would do the same for you and make sure you don’t do anything you may regret and not remember.
Friends don’t let friends fuck when they are drunk out of their minds. Being a good wing means keeping your friend from going home with someone if your friend is in a significantly inebriated state. This would be considered cockblocking in bro-codes and the context of hook-up culture, but on the other hand, allowing your friend to walk into an intimate situation while intoxicated could also be considered aiding and abetting in rape. It’s better to cockblock your friend than allow them to potentially commit sexual assault or be assaulted. Talk to your friend to make sure they are conscious and aware, and not shitfaced-wasted, before parting ways and stay updated on where they are going.
Also, start having more sober sex. Why? Because sober sex is awesome and it’s the kind people—particularly college students—need to get more comfortable engaging in. You’ll actually remember having sex and will be able to improve your sexual performance with a clear, conscious mind, without any of the stumbling or whiskey dick. Sex is definitely not something you need to be drunk to enjoy—unlike frat parties—so leave sexual decision-making for when you are clearheaded and look out for others so that they don’t get taken advantage of to do your part in reversing the trend of alcohol and sexual assault.