Alcohol can be a wonderful indulgence. Yet, like any intoxicant, there can be a darker side to imbibing. We all know that overconsumption can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness and other negative physical reactions, but perhaps the even more sinister side of alcohol lies with the effects it has on consensual sex.
Everyone has heard the horror stories of people having drunk sex and regretting it later — or even during — the act. It’s a situation far too many people find themselves in, and it makes the nature of consent under the influence very tricky.
One of the main reasons for alcohol’s popularity is because of its effects on inhibition. Drinking makes everything seem a bit less frightening, and a bit more attainable. This often leads to silly and seemingly irrational behaviour in those under the influence, because alcohol chemically reduces the ability for one to apply proper judgment with regards to their behavior (RE: NekNominations). However, this can also lead to dangerous sexual behaviour.
The very nature of consensual sex means that consent must be explicit, and it must be unclouded. Inebriation makes this incredibly difficult because it reduces not only one’s ability to give unadulterated consent, but also one’s ability to properly perceive a clear and explicit consent, and act on it accordingly.
But who hasn’t had sex after a couple of beverages? It’s quite normal to have a glass or two of wine before a romantic evening with your partner. In relationships where trust has been established and re-established, and where personal boundaries have been explored and agreed upon, consent can more easily be interpreted even after a couple of drinks. Carefulness still must be used, so make sure you and your partner both know your limits and your behaviours under the influence, and ensure explicit consent is still achieved.
However, if you’re planning on getting drunk and having sex with someone you’re less familiar with, it might be best to proceed with extreme caution. As stated previously, it’s harder to make proper judgment calls when buzzed, so be aware that not only might your judgment be clouded when pursuing sex, but also your potential partners. Sometimes, coordinating desire while drunk is simply impossible.
Lastly, taking advantage of someone’s inebriation to press your sexual advantage is entirely inappropriate and incredibly slimy. Use your brain, and don’t use booze as some sort of sexual leverage.
Everyone can enjoy a good drink, and everyone can enjoy some good sex. Just remember that sometimes they don’t mix perfectly, so proceed carefully when combining alcohol and sex. Sip your drinks slow, and keep your sex consensual.