Sometimes drunk sex can be good, but it can also be rubbish, unsafe, unwanted and can lead to mistakes. Learn how to handle it better here.
Booze and sex *can* be good
One of the most important factors in having good sex is to feel relaxed and comfortable. Some people feel more relaxed when they’ve drunk some alcohol. There can be a lot to worry about when we have sex with someone and alcohol can reduce anxiety for some people.
This means that they are less tense about talking about sex. Less anxious about starting to kiss someone. More relaxed about taking their clothes off. Less worried about whether they are going to be any good at it. Less concerned over what it means for them emotionally. Relaxed about the effect it is going to have on their relationship (or their friendship). Sometimes people feel that drink can give them more confidence or courage. Some people also feel really horny when they are a bit drunk.
Make first time sex good by talking about it
It’s a fact that for many people having a bit of alcohol can lead to really great sex. However it is also possible to lose your inhibitions without drinking too. Try working on how you feel about yourself and your body. Also practice communicating about sex. Lots of people prefer to keep drinking and sex separate, just because they enjoy them both more that way.
Drunk sex can be rubbish
Many people find that alcohol leads to bad sex, even if it made them really up for it. This is a great example of irony: it can make your brain feel really up for sex, but it has the opposite effect on your body.
It can affect the ability for a penis to stay hard (known as brewer’s droop), it can affect the lubrication of the vagina (not known as brewer’s dryness). It can make it very difficult to reach orgasm for some men and women. It can make some people very tired. It can also make you feel dizzy and a bit sick. All that thrusting and bouncing and rolling around could make someone lose their lunch, or that last packet of crisps.
Drinking can also affect people’s co-ordination. Sex is quite technical. If you can’t co-ordinate your hands, genitals, tongue and lips properly then you aren’t going to be given very many 5* reviews. Also it might mean that your condom skills aren’t exactly 10 out of 10.
Booze can make sex less safe
People can be more relaxed about not about using condoms. Or forget where they are. Or get carried away and have sex without them. Or try and put them on but, because they are a bit pissed, do it wrong. Or because they are losing their erections they think that the condom is to blame and take it off and continue without. Or because the vagina is getting dry the condom tears or they blame the condom and take it off.
This obviously makes sex much less safe.
Booze can make sex unwanted
Alcohol can affect people’s consciousness: how awake they are. Many many people are sexually assaulted or raped when they are less awake.
This could be because someone has taken advantage of someone not being able to say no or to fight them off. Some people use alcohol to get people drunk so that they can attack them, either through encouraging them to drink, spiking their drink with a stronger drink or with a ‘date rape’ drug such as GHB or Rohypnol which can make people very sleepy indeed. For more visit Rape Crisis here
Someone can also be so pissed that they didn’t properly realise that the other was not saying yes. This does happen. Alcohol can make people seriously confused and can affect people’s judgement about whether people are saying yes or not. The law now says that if someone was really really pissed then the court can rule that it was not possible for them to consent.
Read more about the law and consent
Alcohol can also make some people seem really up for it one minute and then really go off the idea the next. Consent, or agreeing to sex has to be a continuous thing. If someone goes off the idea or if they fall asleep, they are no longer consenting and the other person has to stop or it’s rape or sexual assault.
Booze can lead to mistakes
Sometimes with alcohol ‘one thing leads to another’ (though sometimes I think that’s a bit of a weak excuse) and mistakes can happen. For instance breaking the rules of your relationship. Having sex with a friend or with someone else they shouldn’t have – which now makes things complicated. And then, with a hangover, people’s hurt feelings and facebook walls have to be dealt with. Ugh …
But the fact is, booze and sex are very popular and for most of the time it doesn’t cause a problem? Here are some tips on how to avoid these problems:
Know your limits and buddy up
NHS advice is to not binge drink. Roughly this is over 3 pints of strong beer or 2 large glasses of wine. To make drinking safer, take regular breaks, alternate soft drinks with alcoholic drinks, drink at your own speed, know what you are drinking, look after your drinks, have a buddy system (where you have someone looking out for you) and make sure everyone gets home safely. If you’re having a big night try to remember what your personal limits are and make sure everyone else knows.
Think in advance about what you’d regret if you were pissed. Also think about what you should do if you or someone else has had too much.
Your limits and safety
When you’re sober you will have some limits and expectations for yourself about what you will and won’t do sexually. So why should it make a difference when you’re drunk. Be really clear with yourself when sober about what your sex limits are: what you do about your sexual health and the kind of sex that you want to have.
How to work out what kind of sex you like
About you and who you want to shag
People use alcohol to feel more comfortable and confident about themselves – but you can do this without booze. You can! Think about your positives, your best bits and think about what you want from a potential sex partner. How would you feel about shagging someone who did or didn’t have those qualities.
Also think about how you can be more confident about having sex with someone without alcohol (or with less alcohol). How can you communicate what you want, how you like to be touched. If you are uncomfortable about your body, you are allowed to leave some clothes on. You can also keep the lights low.
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© Justin Hancock, 2023
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.