Article: Alcohol and Sex (A Messy Subject)

I refuse, on principle, any sex game that revolves around shots or alcohol. No Ifs, buts, or wiggle room.

Granted, I don’t drink (been there, done that, got the acute intolerance to prove it), but in theory I could review these products – replacing alcohol with a drink of my choice – but I still won’t and for one strong reason: Whether I go alcohol-free on such games or not, their main aim is still to promote people to mix alcohol and sex, and I am just not down with that at all.

Sex and the Chimay

I’d love to say that this strong moral fibre of mine was forged straight after I found myself sobbing at 16, begging my partner not to hurt me after taking my nurse’s recommendations to get drunk in order to tackle Vaginismus (seriously), but that wouldn’t be honest. I’m not above having mixed drink and sex myself.

To drink or not to drink? That is the question.

Usually it was just a few glasses – perhaps even a shandy made with lemonade and chimay (a great beer, by the way) – but there was the odd occasion where I was perhaps ‘giddier’ than I would personally recommend when it comes to mixing sex and alcohol.

I remember the one time I did have sex while drunk (at the time happily, in both regards) my then partner followed through with my requests but later admitted that he felt dubious about it. Upon reflection he’s always maintained that he felt like he was taking advantage of me and that never sat right with him.

Taking Advantage?

To this day I can confidently say that I wanted sex in that one instance. The sex was good and the orgasm finer than the alcohol-high itself, but I do feel pretty shitty about how my partner ultimately felt.

Upon reflection it’s also always made me think: At what point is the safe limit for sex and consent?

This is, without a doubt, the biggest issue when it comes to mixing alcohol and sex. If you’re in the UK the legal limit for driving with sound mind and full control after drinking is is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. In most other European countries that blood limit goes down to 50.

This can vary from person to person, so it’s hard to quantify exactly what the ‘hard stop’ point is for driving but Drink Aware recommends that you have no more than 14 units of alcohol in a week (the equivalent of 6 pints of 4% beer / 6 175ml glasses of 13% wine / 14 25ml shots of 40% spirits spread over the entire week).

I’m no expert, but I’m guessing that most adult drinking-based games aren’t expecting you to spread your allocated 14 shots per week (equivalent to 2 a day) over that 7 day period.

The Line of Consent

But if even driving limits aren’t easily quantified without a Breathalyzer test, then how do we figure out when we’ve reached that ‘one drink too many’ to reasonably engage in sex or try to initiate sex with someone else?

And what do you do if someone is obviously, incontestably drunk but still really, really wants sex?

What if you’re both drunk and both want sex?

These are questions that, on principle, could be very easy to answer: If you’re/they’re drunk then sex is a no-go, but life is very rarely that simple and nuances develop when you get in to the nitty gritties.

I have met many people who actually really enjoy mixing sex and alcohol and would actually begrudge not being able to at least have a few glasses of wine before enjoying the company of their partner. This is typically the case with couples that are long-term, but I’ve heard it from others too.

I’ve also met people who thoroughly enjoyed getting as drunk as possible and then fucking. It was their absolute preferred method, they consented to it fully, and they felt like their autonomy and choices as an adult would actually be disregarded, taken away from them, or otherwise violated if someone tried to stop them or refuse them their favourite type of fuck.

I struggle with this mind set, but it’s one that does exist.

I’ve also known people who have used the side effects of alcohol as a specific part of their sexual activities, and would consider their experience diminished or otherwise altered if they couldn’t use alcohol as a tool. It’s tricky.

But in all of these cases there is at least one recurring theme: Everyone who mixes sex and alcohol in this manner does so deliberately and with clear, enthusiastic consent established when they are completely sober and able to make a sound and reasonable decision.

Granted, when drunk the ability to withdraw consent might get a lot trickier, but most people who mix sex and alcohol effectively do so with prior planning. Those who don’t plan it are in a much more vulnerable position and consent, in my opinion, cannot be clearly conveyed in such instances.

That being said if anyone is black-out drunk, to the point where they’re not clearly responding or may even be unconscious, then I don’t care what they said prior to passing out: There body and boundaries should not be disrespected or violated in any way and, at that point, sex would be a violation.

Don’t be a jack ass.

A Good Cocktail?

Despite my personal morals, it’s fair to say people are going to mix sex and alcohol, so are the two actually complimentary in any way?

Only a few to be honest with you.

Alcohol is very good at lowering people’s inhibitions, reducing stress, and sometimes enabling people to be more social, but lowered inhibitions also means poor judgement in some instances. This can easily include forgetting safer sex practices or not properly administering them, thus increasing people’s risk of pregnancy or contracting STIs.

I’ve personally encountered an individual who knew that she should use condoms ‘in theory’ but ‘when you’re drunk and in the moment, you just kind of….you know…’. (To this person all I could do was smile and nod in a way that would probably .Gif worthy for how unconvincing it was).

Plus, the released inhibitions of sex aren’t an actual aphrodisiac (despite being considered by such as some): It’s much more accurate to say that they suppress the voice in your brain that says ‘No, I don’t feel comfortable with this’ rather than enhancing any pre-existing desires. This means that it is easy to wake up the next day feeling that regret emerge rather that feeling like you’ve been sexually liberated.

Alcohol also makes it much harder for the brain and body to sync up their signals, making arousal, erections, orgasms, and pretty much anything involved in sex hard to effectively achieve. Some even find that sex completely kills their capability to reach a point of sexual pleasure, leaving them in a woeful and frustrated limbo.

For those with a vagina, alcohol can also make it harder to naturally lubricate, which is a (potentially literal) pain if you don’t have a good lubricant to hand as an alternative. This, combined with alcohol lessening pain receptors, can easily lead to vaginal tearing and a slew of other sex-based injuries for any gender.

But, even if sex and alcohol work well for you, you could find yourself cultivating a very dangerous and potentially addictive behaviour, where you can’t actually achieve a sense of sexual satisfaction without the inclusion of alcohol. This is problematic for many reasons, not least because it’s dreadful for your health and self-esteem.

Then, of course, mixing sex and alcohol comes with all the other downsides that are linked to alcohol in general: hangovers, long-term health problems, an increased risk of certain conditions. Overall it’s more of a mess than it is a gain.

The Takeaway

The blurring of consent, potential next-day regret, and multiple side-effects of mixing alcohol and sex means that, for me, the answer as to whether you should or not is an obvious one: Eff to the No in every instance.

However, should you find that you gain enjoyment from combining the two then make sure that you discuss your boundaries with your sexual partner ahead of time (involving booze, but also in other ways) so that you can at least make an informed decision.

And, please, whatever you do, don’t get to the point where alcohol feels like a necessity to have satisfying sexual experiences. That is a situation that just can’t end well. Stay safe my lovelies and drink responsibly.