UB students discuss sexual experiences while intoxicated
Amelia Jacobs* blacked out once while having sex and can’t remember if she was sexually assaulted.
Three months later, the guy told her they had sex, but she explicitly remembers telling herself she wasn’t going to because she was on her period. She says she only wanted to kiss him.
“I don’t like calling him a rapist if that is perchance what he is,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs is now in a relationship and is used to having “crazy” drunk sex with her boyfriend, but she will never forget this one hazy incident.
While there are many dangers to drunk sex, including sexually transmitted infections, unprotected sex and choosing unhealthy partners, many students continue to have sex while intoxicated. Seventy-one percent of UB students have had sex while drunk, 14 percent have never had drunk sex and 15 percent have never had sex at all, according to The Spectrum’s annual sex survey.
Forty-three percent of sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69 percent involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators, according to Campus Safety. When intoxicated, a person cannot legally consent to sex.
UB students have acknowledged the dangers of engaging in drunk sex.
Shayne Watson* goes to parties on a regular basis and has had drunk sex so many times he lost track.
“It’s kind of scary because you’re having [drunk] sex and having fun but at the same time you’re not thinking about the risk factor as much as you would if you were sober,” Watson said.
Watson called his drunk sex “clumsy” and “unorthodox.” He has had a couple of one-night stands where he remembers waking up confused and shocked.
Other students feel more comfortable having drunk sex when they are already in a relationship or know the person.
Forty-two percent of UB students surveyed are currently in a relationship, 50 percent are not and 8 percent said, “it’s complicated.”
Madison Edwards* didn’t feel comfortable having sex until it was with the “right” person.
She hooked up with a guy at a party whom she wouldn’t have had sex with while sober because he was “boring.” She made the decision to not have sex with him even though she was drunk and naked.
“When you’re entering a situation like that, it’s really, really important that you respect your own boundaries because in the morning if you do something that you regret it’s not going to be fun,” Edwards said.
Edwards lost her virginity when she was drunk with her boyfriend. She said being drunk helped her to be more comfortable, but she doesn’t use protection since she is on birth control.
Seventy-one percent of students surveyed use protection and 21 percent do not.
Drunk sex increases the number of sexually transmitted infections because people forget to use protection, said Jackie Singer, Alcohol and Other Drug Harm Reduction Specialist at Wellness Education Services. She also said injuries during sex increase because people “can be reckless.”
“A lot of the times and I can attest to this as a female, we’re taught so many ways as to how to prevent violence from happening to ourselves but we’re never taught how to not harm people,” Singer said.
Watson had a pregnancy scare after not using protection. He stopped having sex for months because he was terrified of another scare and waited until he was mentally ready again.
Forty percent of UB students surveyed said they have had a pregnancy scare.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to not have made too big of a mistake,” Watson said. “I was too scared to have sex in that time but you just have to wait it out and hope for the best.”
Watson has used protection ever since the scare.
“Having sex naturally feels good so having sex when you’re feeling like that feels 10 times better and you feel like you can go forever,” Watson said.
Feelings during drunk sex
Females may experience a decrease in lubrication while intoxicated.
Edwards feels drunk sex isn’t as fun as sober sex because “your whole body is numb, not to mention the parts that matter,” she said.
Drinking also made Edwards feel more comfortable kissing other girls.
“How much I hooked up with girls in high school helped me realized that I am bisexual,” Edwards said.
A man’s sex drive is affected when drinking.
Watson said it could take him up to a half hour to have drunk sex and he is not alone. Many males find it harder to “get it off,” meaning getting and maintaining an erection. Smoking interferes with blood flow and makes it harder to get an erection, according to clinical sexologist Robert Dunlap.
Watson finds drunk sex to be more dangerous. He says drunk sex makes him more care-free and easily turned on. He feels his attraction is “definitely heightened.”
“When you’re drunk, every idea you come up with seems right,” Watson said. “Now that I’m sitting here talking about it I realize how dangerous it can be, but in the moment you don’t really think about that.”
Sex with caution
Blacking out was one of the “most terrifying things in the world,” Jacobs said. “… you realize there is this whole part to your night that is just not there in your memories whether it is with sex or anything.”
Singer said alcohol has an array of effects by inhibiting the body and suppressing the nervous system. She said this can give a numbing effect physically and mentally in decision-making.
“It’s really scary to be vulnerable and put yourself out there because so many don’t want to be rejected,” Singer said. She said it comes down to respecting each other.
She said using marijuana has a similar effect on the body. Marijuana goes to the two fattiest portions, which is a person’s genitals and brain.
Singer said consent is where the problem with drunk sex lies. Legally, if people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot consent to sex.
“For a long time talking about consent there was this affirmative ‘no means no’ definition, what that doesn’t really account for is the fact that there are times there is no verbal communication or people can’t communicate,” Singer said. “Just because someone doesn’t say ‘no’ or they don’t try to push someone away, it doesn’t mean that they want it.”
Wellness Education Services holds programs year round specifically in their Violence Prevention Program to educate students on how prevent sexual assault. A bystander intervention is scheduled four times a semester and is available by request. A program called “How to help a sexual assault survivor” goes step by step on how to support a victim.
“It all comes down to communication, respect, trust and honesty,” Singer said. “I think there’s this perception in order to be intimate with people in college, this concept of one-night stands and hookups, it’s very glamorized while in reality that’s not the case. A lot of partners are being safe and communicating and those are the perceptions and realities students need to be aware of.”
*Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of students.
Hannah Stein is the co-senior news and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org