What’s Sex Got to do With… Superbad?

If you asked me to describe college in three general words I would probably say Academics, Activities, and Alcohol.  I call these the three A’s of college, and although they constitute a huge aspect of many people’s college experience, I would like to focus on alcohol in particular.  More specifically I want to address the role that alcohol plays in hooking up.  I’m sure we are all aware of alcohol’s role as a social drink or “social lubricant”.  Certain students get drunk to fit in with the crowd while others use this distorted state of mind to give them the confidence pursue a hookup.  Some men also encourage girls to drink lots of alcohol so that they are more likely to want to engage in intimate activity due to their drunken state of mind.  This concept of alcohol as a sexual tool is the theme for the popular comedy, “Superbad”.

In the movie “Superbad”, Seth, Evan, and Fogell are three nerdy virgins who want to get laid before going to college.  When a gorgeous girl named Jules asks Seth to buy her alcohol for her party, he sees this as a ticket for sex.  The movie perfectly analyses the perceived role that alcohol plays in the sexual context: it is a ticket to getting laid.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite the way Seth wants it to.

Seth is rejected:

Kathleen A. Bogle studies the connection between alcohol and hook up by interviewing college students in “Hooking Up”.  She concludes that “Without alcohol as a social lubricant, it is unlikely that college students would be able to signal interest in a hookup” (Bogle 47).  On an even more negative note, alcohol is occasionally associated with sexual assault or rape.  ICASA reminds us that “A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol can’t consent to sexual activity.  If consent isn’t given, it is rape”.  This implies that any intoxicated person who engages in sex has been raped.  So based on strict definition, Seth’s plan to get Jules drunk and have sex with her is really a mode of sexual assault.  Clearly, the lines are very blurred when it comes to alcohol as a sexual tool.

I personally see alcohol used as a tool for hooking up every weekend.  Do you notice this same trend?  Is the “help” of alcohol as a sexual tool damaging to our society?  To what point would you consider drunk intimacy illegal? Is alcohol as a social tool a modern phenomenon?  Have you engaged in this trend?

6 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got to do With… Superbad?

  1. Alcohol is definitely used as the “social lubricant” that Bogle describes. It has such a huge influence on social life, especially in college environments. Parties revolve around getting drunk, and this drunkenness leads to hook ups. I agree with the fact that the lines are very blurred on the matter of consent. When alcohol is in the picture, judgment is clouded and people can even blackout and not remember any of what happened. It is scary to think that someone may premeditate a sexual assault by using alcohol, but unfortunately it does happen. Without alcohol, I think hook up culture as well as the numbers of sexual assaults on college campuses would dramatically decrease.


  2. This is an interesting post because I think the movie described the ideas that many people have when they are first entering college. There is a social pressure to have sex in or before college and if you don’t you’re considered “weird.” If you walk into any party on the weekend at Vandy, you can see how important alcohol is in the role of hookups or simply just meeting people. It has become the norm on our campus and campuses around the country.


  3. I don’t necessarily think that it’s fair to make the assertion that one of alcohol’s main uses is for hookups and that people consciously make the decision to drink based on that notion. Alcohol is consumed for a multitude of other reasons aside from that one. Alcohol and hooking up is a gray area where there are so many questions to be asked in situations and things can get messy. So, it is hard to say what would constitute as illegal in drunk intimate situations.


  4. I definitely think alcohol has become a huge social trend over the years. A lot of teenagers and adolescents see alcohol as a helpful method to “loosen up” and become more comfortable (while being drunk). This encourages the hook up culture and keeps it alive. This has a lot of negative affects and clearly is not the healthiest and most natural way for young people to go about their lives. This post was awesome—as “Super Bad” completely illustrates the type of world teenagers live in today.


  5. I have definitely seen the impact that alcohol has on people’s sexual interactions. In terms of alcohol’s role in sexual assault, it gets really messy and as a result, I’m not sure I know the answer to your question about drunk intimacy. How drunk is too drunk to give official consent? There’s no doubt that people’s decision-making skills are impaired after drinking alcohol. Perhaps there is a certain BAC a person has to reach before they are deemed unable to give true consent? But its hard to measure a person’s BAC from a night they were assaulted after the fact. Especially since, sometimes, victims take years to find the courage to come out. The role of alcohol in hook up culture is a complex one but I’m not sure its a modern phenomenon. I believe the idea of getting a person drunk and taking advantage of them has been around at least since the second half of the 20th century from what I’ve heard from my parents and their friends’ stories. Alcohol is such a deeply ingrained as a social concept, and unfortunately, I don’t see it’s presence in sexual assault cases declining any time soon.


  6. I notice Alcohol as a social tool every weekend on campus. Although the use of alcohol is very bad, I do not see it damaging to society unless it is abused or drank to incoherent levels. I understand that some people may need the extra “confidence” to go talk to someone but there should definitely be a limit as to how much someone is drinking. It should be illegal if one person is way to drunk to give a real consent. I think the consent should be documented in some sort of way also, just in case it is forgotten when the morning comes.
    I do not engage in this trend, but I do see this happening on the weekends, so I do think it is possible to get coherent consent before the action may be considered an assault. I think we as students are smart enough to know what we are doing when we are pre-gaming a night out and can control our intakes in a way that everyone can have fun without harm being done.


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