Alcohol an sex: the sobering truth – 12/02/19

Dutch courage, going out for a drink and meeting up in a club are terms used when discussing dating and sex at uni. But they all have one thing in common, alcohol. Sex and dating in the twenty first century seems to revolve around having a drink. These levels vary from having a cheeky pint on your date to being fully blackout and taking someone back home after a night out. One-night stands aren’t just about you and your chosen partner, it’s a three way with alcohol.

One way of looking at alcohol’s relationship to our sex lives is that it gives us the courage to get ourselves out there. When we’re a bit tipsy most decide to download dating apps, swipe right and text first. Alcohol is an enabler for dates and hook-ups. The Sex Survey undertaken in the last month showed that more people text to arrange dates and hook ups when they have had a drink than when they’re sober. What is it about alcohol that enables us to message people? The Dutch courage it provides leads us to make decisions we probably wouldn’t have made sober. This could be anything from buying a round of shots to taking someone home. Many students rely on alcohol to give them the confidence to approach people.

The majority of one-night stands that happen at uni are after nights out. If alcohol was removed from the equation, would the same decisions be made? Alcohol gives us the opportunity to hook up and the confidence to do so. The invitation to go back for posts after a night out sounds great, nothing wrong with a few more drinks? It’s a done deal.

A confidence boost is all well and good, and sometimes is much needed. Alcohol makes us flirty. It’s a fact. But the large consumption of alcohol raises more problems than it solves. Especially in regard to consent. Many students often wake up and have no recollection of what happened the night before. What if you roll over and find another person lying beside you? You would have no idea if you slept together or even if you had consented. Sure, in the drunken heat you might have thought it was a good idea, but if you were sober would you have made the same choice? How can we be sure that both parties would take part when sober? The likely answer is that it wouldn’t have happened. No flirty messages would have been sent, and you definitely wouldn’t end the night stumbling home. It is important to have fun and relax when drinking, but it is also important to know your limits and when to slow down. So, if you do decide to take someone home with you after a night out in the club, make sure that everything you do is consensual, and you would do the same if you were sober.

Alcohol is an enabler for sex at uni. It gives us the opportunity, the motive and the means.

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