Friday, August 27, 2010


(I'm still computerless and painfully pecking these out on the iPod, but it's getting reduntant announcing it each time.)

Alcohol and I have a funny relationship. I don't drink all that often, or all that much. But when I do drink, two drinks are my absolute limit of rationality. I can hold one drink with dignity, and after two I'll be buzzed but coherent. After three (or sometimes two strong ones, honestly), "coherent" is not a word anyone would use. Particularly not me, because I won't be able to pronounce it.

I'm a cheery drunk, prone to a lot of giggling and not too much trouble-causing, but I am also a ragingly horny drunk. The slender thread of inhibition between me and rampant sexual advances on all my friends and a good number of strangers is dissolved. It's not a matter of me being unable to resist people "taking advantage of me"; I'm out there grabbing asses and taking names. Or occasionally forgetting to take names.

(I also tend to appear somewhat drunker than I am, both because my physical coordination is not much to begin with, and because I invariably start thinking it would be funny to "act drunk.")

Is it ethical to fuck me when I'm horny drunk? I think it is, and not just because I want it. Wait, no. I think it is, because I want it. I may be making different decisions than I would sober (although usually just the ones I wish I would), but I'm making decisions. To me that's consent. In some cases it may be wise to turn me down on a "no, that would be a really bad idea" level, but not on a "no, that would be rape" level. Rape is when a girl says "no" or says nothing or says "yes" under coercion, but I'm pretty sure it's not when a girl says "i'sh wanna fuck you, you shtud."

Because if you insist on waiting until I'm not under the influence, you'll be waiting a long time. I'm under the influence of society, of wanting attention and affection, of some seriously powerful hormones, of how long it's been since the last time, of feeling ugly or pretty or unsure, of a huge potent brew of totally unfair outside factors warping my thinking. If you want me to make a truly unimpeded decision, alcohol is the least of your concerns.

(I also--and this is just me--have a fairly laid-back approach to sexual regrets. If I have consensual, well-remembered sex with someone I really shouldn't have, my emotions don't go much beyond "well, I won't have sex with them again." I've never thought of it as some huge irreversible mistake.)

Drunk sex can be really good, too. I'm all giggly and tee-hee-I'm-so-vulnerable, I'm a bit less oversensitive than usual, and then there's the muscle relaxant effect...


  1. You are drawing a line between your experience when drunk and the experience of, say, a girl who turns a guy down multiple times when sober and then accepts his pass when she's shitfaced, though, right?

  2. To clarify, would you be all right with having only people who know you have sex with you when you're drunk, because you've negotiated with them and they know what's OK? Are you saying the default shouldn't be "don't have sex with the drunk girl", making exceptions as they come up?

  3. This, basically.

    It's not something that comes up a lot with me, for two reasons: one, I'm in a more or less monogamous relationship and the only person I'm likely to end up screwing when I'm shitfaced is my husband, so it's not likely to end up as a huge regret. Two (and this is the one that I'm beginning to understand doesn't actually apply to everyone), it takes some time and a fair amount of effort to get me from 'sober' to 'too drunk to make my own decisions', and there are a lot of stages in between.


    I would say that it depends on what you mean by 'drunk'. To me, if I'm capable to moving under my own power and verbally consenting to sex, I could fuck a complete stranger in a nightclub bathroom without considering that rape or even problematic unless I was pressured into it. And I'm definitely not the kind of person who does that sober.

    Making a bad decision is still making a decision. The problem is guys who interpret lack of a 'no' (because she's semi-conscious on the floor) as consent.

  4. Anon - I'm saying that a drunk (but not blacked-out or passed-out) girl's decisions should be treated the same as a sober girl's--"no" and "um I'm not so sure" and "..." all mean no, but "yes" means yes.

  5. I totally agree with this post. Some people seem to feel like it's potential rape to have sex with a drunk person because their inhibitions are lowered, but it's like, some people have naturally lower inhibitions to begin with. Are impulsive free spirits being taken advantage of every time they have sex, because they have so few inhibitions?

    I've never made that bad a decision about whom to have sex with while drunk. If I definitely don't want to fuck someone, I feel the same way drunk or sober, & don't have a hard time acting on it.

  6. I very much disagree with the sentiment in this post. I think the "don't have sex with drunk girls" provides some important safe guards, especially for college-aged kids (some of whom may have no idea how drunk they are at the time or how quickly they can get drunk). I'd rather have the hard and fast limit and cock-block a few people than have it be gray and then end up having girls get dragged over the rails in court for having a few drinks.

  7. Anonymous 11:49

    I think the sentiment Holly and some of the rest of us posters are trying to get at is 'don't have sex with a girl who's given no indication she wants to have sex with you.'

    I feel strongly about this because I see that 'don't have sex with a drunk girl, at all, no matter what she says' as a way of implying that women don't know our own limits, that our behavior needs to be policed for our own good.

    It's not hard to tell if a girl is so drunk that she genuinely couldn't consent to sex. Giggly and stumbling and enthusiastically agreeing to sex is not the same thing at all. This is only really an issue for guys who think that a lack of sufficient resistance implies consent.

  8. I love that you titled this EtOH - it made chemistry major me happy :)

  9. Anon 11:49 - I'm viewing this from the inside, though, so I don't read "don't have sex with drunk girls," but "hey drunk girls, don't have sex." I'm not talking about situations where I was out flat and a guy crawled on top, I'm talking about me going up to guys and propisitioning them. At exactly what BAC (and don't say zero, even I can hold one beer, sheesh) would you tell me I'm not allowed to do that?

    Also, from that perspective the "court" bit makes this sound too much like the endless exhortations not to wear short skirts or talk to strangers, because the terror of rapists ought to dictate our lives.

    Ellie - It's actually an EMT joke! Although I went the extra mile and capitalized it correctly. Most EMTs write "ETOH" and it bugs me.

  10. I wouldn't tell *you* when to not proposition guys. I'd tell guys to be careful, especially if they don't know the girl all that well. I know I don't make the same decisions drunk as I would sober (and it's not even an inhibitions thing, it's *totally different decisions I'd regret*), and I'd rather guys exercise due caution. One drink, obviously not (except for a few people I know...), but I also don't think it's a good idea to have a clear zone to someone who's stumbling around and slurring their words, but still conscious.

    Also, like it or not, that's still how it works in court. I'm not coming at this from a 'ladies, don't drink' perspective (seeing as I am a lady)--I'm coming at this from a 'guys, be careful' perspective.

  11. I don't think specifically guys should decline sexual propositions from girls who have been drinking - I think that people (yes, that's all genders) should exercise caution when approached by somebody who has been drinking.

    Having sex with somebody who is drunk isn't definitely rape. When somebody makes the decision to drink that is a decision that they are making as adults. That said, this doesn't extend indefinitely. You can't have consensual sex with an unconscious person and you can't have sex with a person who is falling down drunk either. What's hard to nail down is the fuzzy area between tipsy and blind-drunk.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with erring on the side of caution if you aren't really sure somebody has the capacity to consent.

    As a horny drunk myself I would never say "Don't ever have sex with a drunk person" but at the same time alcohol-use does, at some point, limit or even prohibit the ability of people to give consent and everyone should be aware of that.