8 Things You Should Know About Alcohol, Sex, and Women

Get educated, get a drink, and get laid.

Many people like to drink, and even more like to have sex. So it's no surprise those two often go together like, well, rum and Coke. 

The majority of US women (60 percent) drink, many of whom have sex afterwards.  Generally speaking, intoxicated intimacy is a common, enjoyable, safe, and consensual practice. 

And on the unfortunate occasions when it isn't, alcohol is never the cause of sexual assault. Perhaps more importantly, it is never the victim's fault — no matter her or his BAC level. 

To debunk the myths around alcohol and intercourse and create a sex-positive conversation, Glow, an app that helps women take better control of their reproductive health, compiled years of research and conducted their own

Glow's analysis proved there's a reason why Thirsty Thursday is a double entendre, and tons of reasons why that's awesome. 

So, let's talk about sex (and alcohol and women), baby: 

1. Women love their wine.

And their liquor. And their cocktails. In Glow's survey, wine was the most popular drink for women, with over a quarter of women reporting it as their drink of choice. Liquor and "fancy cocktails" — often referred to as "lady drinks" — followed closely behind with 23 percent and 22 percent of women, respectively.

2. Alcohol can make people more open to sex — but not for the reasons you'd expect.

Everyone knows alcohol lowers your inhibitions, but not many know that's just as related to its psychological effects as its physical ones. 

Called the "think-drink" effect by anthropologists, current drinking culture has ingrained in us certain expectations for a night out, like staying up later, making bold decisions, and yes, having sex. If you believe you'll hook up with someone when you're drunk, you're actually more likely to make it happen. Also called the "think-drink" 

3. Women don't technically need to drink to be judged by its double standards.

Sexy, right? 
Sexy, right?  Giphy

According to Glow's research, many view drinking as an indication of sexual intent ,  especially in women. I mean, you wouldn't be out at a bar if you weren't trying to meet someone, would you? Yes, of course, you would. 

Because the majority of American women drink, it's not only possible, but probable, that many women — yes, even single ones — just go to a bar with the sole purpose of spending time with friends. 

Nonetheless, one study found that both men and women viewed a woman simply sitting next to a beer at the bar as more flirtatious, more promiscuous, and more likely to consent to sex. So women are damned if they drink, damned if they don't. Grrreat. 

4. You can't spell alcohol without the big "O."

A 2009 study in the Journal of Sex Research found that women who had sex under the influence reported feeling more sexually aroused and had better orgasms. 

When the researchers compared those responses to the technical tests of female orgasmic response (measured using a vaginal photoplethysmograph), however, the results proved the opposite. The higher the woman's BAC, the lesser the orgasm's intensity and the longer it took her to get there.

That's not surprising since alcohol depresses the nervous system, of which the clitoris is an (read: the most) important part. What is surprising is that the subjects didn't seem to notice. 

5. Getting a drink might help you get laid more frequently.

Another study in 2011 assessed alcohol's effect on female arousal by measuring blood flow to the genitals and vaginal lubrication and found that alcohol had no biological arousal impact. 

Despite that, women who were regular, moderate drinkers had more sexual intercourse than non-drinkers. The researchers attributed this difference to alcohol's psychological effects rather than any biological benefits. 

Women who drank one or two glasses of wine a day also reported feeling more sexually satisfied than those who didn't drink at all, according to a self-survey. 

6. Cocktails and condoms don’t always mix — but they should.

Glow's research found that both men and women tend to be more willing to have unprotected sex when they imbibe a moderate amount than when they're sober. Unfortunately, that can lead to some risky business and result in an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

But that doesn't mean you can't drink and have sex. It just means you should be conscientious of you and your partner's sexual safety before combining the two. When in doubt, wear a condom. 

7. For many women, three is the magic number.

While everyone's tolerance is different and depends on both a person's genetics and drinking habits, a survey of Glow users can provide all women with a good rule of thumb. 

Women who reported consuming less than three drinks were more likely to use a condom or a long-term birth control method like the pill. Those who had more than three drinks tended to use less reliable birth control methods like withdrawal, the morning after pill, or no birth control at all.

8. Like any activity done under the influence, having sex can be a source of regret.

Many who drink have, at one point or another, done something they later regretted. That can be anything from dancing on a table, to starting a fight with a friend, to deciding to have sex. 

In a Glow community poll of over 3,000 women, over half of respondents who drink had sex-related regrets. Unfortunately, these regrets ranged from added promiscuity to unintended teen pregnancy to rape. Again, while alcohol may be a factor in a woman's decision to have sex, neither alcohol, nor the victim, is to blame when sexual assault occurs.

Thankfully, some respondents said their once regretful sexscapades have become their "best stories." Furthermore, members of both genders have regretted drunk texting at one time or another, but no one has stopped using their phone because of it. 

Bottom line: Whether you're a woman or a man, you can drink, you can have sex, and you can combine the two in a responsible and safe way. Cheers to that.