Written by Nichi Hodgson, Dating Consultant at www.theinnercircle.co

You don't have to reach for the bottle every time you want sex

You don't have to reach for the bottle every time you want sex

It’s tempting, isn’t it? To take the edge off with a prosecco or two. Plus a shot each, just for fun. That way it’s easier to strip without bodily anxiety. To ask for what you want without embarrassment. To tease, laugh and tumble over one another with the ease of lust-drunk adult film stars (at least that’s how you imagine yourself to be in your inebriated state.)

Fact is - when drunk sex is even immortalised in song by Beyonce, you know you’re onto a cultural phenomenon that resonates, something that the majority of us have done at some point, or are doing on a regular basis. The trouble is, of course, drunk sex is sex without sensitivity. It’s sex that can’t check in afterwards with the other person to make sure they had a good time. It might even be sex they - or you - didn’t agree to all the way.

A recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour confirms this: it found that, while drinking made people more outgoing and more likely to connect with potential partners, it also made them more likely to choose unsuitable partners, and people they wouldn’t usually be attracted to. And the chance they’d forget to use a condom - or forget what they’d even done with the other person - was far greater, making sex riskier than usual.

Nobody likes a condom lecture at the best of times but the fact you’re more likely to expose yourself to STIs and unwanted pregnancy if drunk is a sobering thought. Sure, the morning after pill is somewhat of a solution - but it’s useless in the face of anything from syphilis to HIV.

And even if you do remember to get down to it safely, there’s a deeper, emotional problem: every time you have sex drunk you deny your sober self the capacity to grow true sexual confidence - a confidence which comes from daring to expose the real you while being prepared to negotiate with another person, their desires, needs and turn-offs. It’s something that you can only do safely when sober because trying to regulate your emotions when intoxicated is not a skill most people possess. And for obvious reasons - alcohol is a heightener of sensation, increaser of risk-taking and a depressant - not factors you want to be contending with when you’ve already put yourself on the line emotionally.

True intimacy occurs when you’re able to be emotionally vulnerable with one another. When you’re drunk, you’re effectively an uber self, and vulnerable in the wrong kind of way. Alcohol can make you highly suggestible, meaning there’s far more chance of you going along with behaviour or speech that you’d never enact when sober. It also in general inhibits both men’s and women’s ability to have an orgasm, while the worst long-term outcome is that you start to rely on alcohol to have sexual fun.

Think about - if you can only get the words out to ask for what you truly want in bed after a night on the lash, you’ve got a communication issue. And it’s a communication issue that isn’t going to be resolved by using alcohol as a requisite tongue (and belt) loosener.

So if you generally rely on Dutch courage to carry you through to bedtime, give the nightcap a miss tonight. It’ll be sex with the emotional lights on. But that’s the kind of sex that, in the end, enlightens.

by for relationships.femalefirst.co.uk
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