Homecoming weekend conjures to the mind three things – football, fundraisers and fornication under the influence. Amidst the hoopla that comprises this year’s gambling-themed festivities, one thing is a constant in the backs of our minds: just how many keg stands will we do when our football team secures that seventh consecutive victory against Lindenwood University?
As much as we might like to tell ourselves that we are all good little boys and girls with an unshakeable grasp on our own self-control, the fact of the matter is that a large portion of us who stay in town for the annual celebration of our school’s rich history will, inevitably, overindulge at the after-party. We will become bumbling fools with faces painted black and gold, chanting, “Fight on, Emporia, for the right, Emporia!” And with so much excitement and school spirit in the air, coupled with a bellyful of Jell-O shots and Natty Light, some of us will also feel a certain degree of excitement happening in our pants.
The effects alcohol can have on our bodies are unpredictable. We may become slobbering, incoherent messes, develop violent tendencies, visit our “dark place” and thus sob uncontrollably, and often, we get a little horny. The phenomenon known as “beer goggles” makes people more attractive, and as result, we might find ourselves making out in the corner with someone whom we might not even give a second glance while sober.
“Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which explains a lot of the effects,” said Mary McDaniel, assistant director of Health Services and my personal go-to guru for all things sexual health. “Specifically, the question of lowering inhibitions can be explained by this, as the part of the brain that filters ideas is depressed and not functioning up to par. So if your filter typically would say, ‘Better not do that; you’ll look like a fool,’ and it is not working, you will go ahead and act on the impulse and not care.”
McDaniel said this can also explain the feeling of being “turned on” while intoxicated, but this effect may be as much psychological as it is physiological. And it makes sense. How many of us feel a certain sense entitlement to completely let go and just roll with the punches, so to speak, when we drink? We tend to use alcohol as an excuse for unbecoming behavior.
But being drunk as a skunk is no excuse for engaging in any sexual activity that you would otherwise be ashamed of while sober. I’ll be completely honest because I believe honesty is the best policy – I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I’ve used intoxication as validation for acting, frankly, like a trollop. But thankfully, I have caring friends who have, on several occasions, stopped me from making some fairly terrible mistakes.
That being said, I do believe that liquor can sometimes serve as a “magical” sort of liquid courage, if used correctly. It should be a performance enhancer, not an excuse to let your private parts run wild. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two before approaching someone you’re interested in because, let’s be honest, this can be a little daunting. Alcohol, sweet, sinful nectar that it is, can give you that extra boost of confidence you need.
On the flipside, male readers need to be wary. Consume too much, and you run the risk of developing, pardon my vernacular, whiskey dick.
“Sexual performance is hampered by alcohol’s effect of decreasing testosterone,” McDaniel said. “Anything that lowers testosterone impairs sexual function; therefore, alcohol misuse can have a profound effect on libido, the ability to achieve and maintain an erection, and (the ability to achieve and/or the quality of) orgasm.”
Is there really anything more disappointing than being ready to get down to business, and lo and behold, your hardware has crashed?
Another thing to consider before engaging in drunken sex is Kansas’ rape law. One definition of rape is knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse “when the victim is incapable of giving consent…because of the effect of any alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was known by the offender or was reasonably apparent to the offender,” according to Kansas Statutes Annotated 21-3502. So even if your partner gives consent, if, when sober, he or she claims it was not consensual, you could be faced with criminal charges, a grim realization indeed.
Taken everything I’ve just said into account, it’s essentially “O.K.” to fornicate under the influence as long as all parties are aware of and comfortable with what’s going on. To quote Go Ask Alice, a peer-reviewed online health resource produced by Columbia University, “Sex, expectations, values, and desires can get mixed up, especially when alcohol is involved –sometimes in fulfilling and exciting ways, sometimes in unsettling, unclear, or even scary ways.”
The takeaway? Get your freak on this weekend. Flaunt your Hornet Pride, raise your stingers high, and when it comes to having sex, do it like a mature, intelligent student of higher education.