Sex Survey 2019

Alcohol and sex – the sobering truth

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 21st  century seems to revolve around having a drink. This can vary from having a cheeky pint on your date to being pretty messy, and often ends with taking someone back home who is in the same state. One-night stands aren’t just about you and your chosen partner, it’s a three-way with alcohol.

One way that alcohol plays a part in our sex lives is the courage it gives us 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 hookups. The Sex Survey undertaken in the last month showed that more people text to arrange dates and hookups 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. Alcohol makes us flirty. It’s a fact.

The majority of one-night stands that happen at uni are after nights out. The invitation to go back for drinks after a night out sounds great, nothing wrong with a few more? It’s a done deal.

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.

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

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Jess Barrett

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December 2021
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