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Alcohol and Sexual Decisions

How will the use of alcohol interfere with your ability to make a positive decision about your sexual integrity?

A 2005 British University study found that across the board, alcohol interfered with the subjects’ ability to make positive decisions when faced with risky situations¹.

Alcohol, The Brain & Decision Making

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls decision making. Neuroscientists have found that this part of the brain experiences the majority of its growth and shaping during the time from puberty to young adulthood.

It's also a particularly cruel irony of nature, I think, that right at this time when the brain is most vulnerable is also the time when teens are most likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes when I'm working with teens, I actually show them these brain development curves, how they peak at puberty and then prune down and try to reason with them that if they're doing drugs or alcohol that evening, it may not just be affecting their brains for that night or even for that weekend, but for the next 80 years of their life. ... (Jay Giedd, Neuroscientist at the National Institute for Mental Health)

Alcohol and Sexual Decisions

The decision to have or abstain from sex is a very serious thing, involving not just your physical nature, but your mental, moral, spritual and emotional health as well. It is important to realize that any decision regarding sex should be made with a mind that is free from the confusing effects of alcohol. There are two very important things to consider when it comes to sexual activity:

  • Does this choice fit in with my morals and my spiritual integrity?
  • Will my choice keep me physically and emotionally healthy?

Knowing how damaging alcohol can be to the part of the brain that controls judgment, it is clear that alcohol and sex just don’t mix. The risks and the potential negative outcomes of making sexual decisions while drunk can be overwhelming.

Physical Risks

  • Contracting a sexually transmitted infection
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Rape or sexual assault

Emotional Risks

  • Regret
  • Shame
  • Harm to your own sense of “self”
  • Harm to a pre-existing relationship (either with a friend or with a romantic partner)

Not Convinced?

And if this isn’t enough to convince you to leave alcohol out of your sex life, consider these statistics

  • As many as 70% of college students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a result of being under the influence of alcohol, or to having sex they wouldn't have had if they had been sober.

  • 90% of all campus rapes occur when alcohol has been used by either the assailant or the victim.

  • One in twelve college males admits to having committed acts that meet the legal definition of rape or acquaintance rape.

  • 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred.

  • 60% of college women who are infected with STDs, including genital herpes and AIDS, report that they were under the influence of alcohol at the time they had intercourse with the infected person.

¹ George, S., Rogers, R.D., Duka, T. (2005).  The acute effect of alcohol on decision making in social drinkers. Psychopharmacology,v82 no.1, 160-169.