What’s Sex Got To Do With… Alcohol?

We’re college students. We make good decisions. We make bad decisions. We conform. We rebel. We try things both inside and outside of our comfort zones. We do all of this with the help of alcohol.

College students drink to get drunk. I’ve never heard a college student say, “I love taking shots because they taste so good.” It just doesn’t happen. Alcohol tends to make us feel more comfortable and loosen our inhibitions — two things that help us enjoy ourselves on the weekends. When we drink, we want to have fun. We go to frat parties, bars, or just hang around campus. Some of us, however, want more: we want to “hook up.”

The term “hooking up” has a different meaning depending on whom you ask. To some, it could mean kissing; to others, it could be indicative of oral or penetrative sex. In college, most hook-ups are facilitated by alcohol. In Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, Kathleen A. Bogle argues that, “At parties, students generally [consume] alcohol while trying to meet new people with whom they could potentially become sexually intimate or initiate encounters with classmates they already knew” (Bogle 20-21). Alcohol can serve as a social lubricant.

The combination of large parties and alcohol can be lethal. Having an impaired judgment and slow reaction time – due to the alcohol – can lead students to do things they may not have wanted to do when sober. Alcohol increases the possibility of sexual assault and rape to occur. According to Kyle, one of the college students Bogle interviewed, sports stars and fraternity brothers are more likely to have sexual encounters with girls, primarily due to their “stature on campus” (Bogle 32-33). These men are also more likely to rape girls and take advantage of them when they’re drunk. It is also possible for girls can rape and sexually assault men, but it is uncommon.

Alcohol is becoming more and more prevalent on campuses and this is not changing any time soon. Students feel as though they need alcohol in order to be comfortable and enjoy their time at parties, especially if the night ends with a “hook up.” Do you agree with this statement? If so, how have you seen it play out in your life specifically? Despite your age, do you frequently drink on weekends in order to have a good time?

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2 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got To Do With… Alcohol?

  1. I personally do not drink, save for a few rare occasions with family, and I would say that it is an over-generalization to say that “college students drink” implying that ALL college students drink in order to have fun and hook up. However, for arguments sake, it seems to me that students who feel compelled to drink in order to socialize do so because they lack fundamental communication skills necessary to facilitate such interactions. I believe the technological developments of the 21st century have largely contributed to this lack of communication skills because young people no longer have to communicate face to face. Instead, they are locked behind screens at every possible moment. While communication happens via the digital world, it is very different from the communication required in face to face interactions. Growing up in a very rural community, technology was minimal for most of my peers until very late in high school. Therefore, we were forced to rely on more direct means of communication. I actually wrote letters to some of my friends in high school, and when we got together to party, there was rarely alcohol involved. I guess college is a very different world, but I doubt alcohol needs to remain such a significant moderator for college students’ relationships.

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  2. Reducing the issue to a dichotomy of needing / not needing it might be off. No one NEEDS IT, but it helps different people different amounts. A lot of people are affected by Bogle’s “everyone else is doing it more than me” dynamic. Like I said, nobody “needs” alcohol to have fun, but is it ever wrong to have a level of fun with alcohol that you couldn’t have sober?

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