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I've only had sex drunk: how do you have good sex sober?

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Mia asks:

I'm not a virgin but I have only had sex being drunk and have never had sex sober. How do you have good sex sober? How do you be on top and be comfortable with what your doing. And know what you're doing, right?

Heather Corinna replies:

Know what? While alcohol can reduce a person's inhibitions, another thing it often does reduce how aroused -- how turned on -- a person can get. It also tends to inhibit orgasm, as well as female lubrication. And that's just the minor stuff. Date rape is far more common when alcohol is involved, and STI rates are higher when it's in the picture, too.

If you've had the idea that booze is the secret ingredient for great sex, you've probably been pretty seriously mistaken. If you've only had sex drunk, chances are good you haven't even HAD great sex yet, since alcohol can stand in the way of so much of what makes sex great, physically, intellectually and emotionally. So, if you're changing things up for the better and coming to sex sober, it's pretty likely you've got some good surprises in store for you!

Sex sober is not only likely to be better for you in terms of the whole experience, lord knows the less often you get wasted, the better off your physical and mental health will be.

No one has to "know what they're doing" to have great sex. In fact, some of what can make it so exciting is NOT knowing that: is the exploration and adventure sex is. Sex with another person is supposed to be about you two exploring one another, making the discoveries of what feels great. It's not a job, nor should it feel like you have to put on any kind of performance. Sex with someone isn't about putting on a good show or impressing them. It's about pleasure and joy and personal expression.

As well, sex is NOT just intercourse, which is really important for women to remember since (we say this a lot, but we also seem to have to remind people of this a lot) the majority of women will not orgasm from intercourse alone, and many don't even find it all that interesting or exciting. Generally, we only know what we're doing with a partner when we're communicating clearly with each other -- tough to do when you're slurring -- and when, over time, we get to know each other and what works together. No one can know what they're doing right off the bat with any new partner unless they're a psychic.

If you DO enjoy vaginal intercourse, what position you have it in is up to you and your partners. If you don't feel comfortable being on top or don't like it, it's certainly not a requirement. If you do want to do that position, but feel like there's pressure, or feel self-conscious (which may be some of what you were trying to hide or excuse by being drunk), maybe you need to be sure you're only having sex with a partner at a pace that works for you, and with partners who you are okay being yourself in front of. I know that so often the media shows sex as super-duper-sexy, but a lot of the time, you know, parts of it are about any of us making asses of ourselves in front of our partner. When our partner likes and cares for us, and vice-versa, and is willing to be just as vulnerable, that shouldn't be some huge deal. If anything, those awkward moments will tend to bring us closer and make for great private jokes. :)

Maybe you're rushing into sex with partners too fast? If you've only had sex drunk, that'd be unsurprising, since another effect of alcohol is that it tends to increase risk-taking, and cloud people's judgment. Ideally, you want to be having sex with someone only when you do feel comfortable with it, them and yourself. If that's not something you feel immediately -- and it's pretty rare to feel all that right off the bat -- then you want to wait, take your time, and spend time with that person without sex, only adding sex to the equation when you DO feel more comfortable, feel okay being you with them, and know that with the right partner, it's okay to have times when we feel silly, awkward or like we don't know what we're doing. I'd also think about if you really are ready for sex right now, and if it's right for you. What feels right when we're drunk often only does BECAUSE we're drunk. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of sex sober, it may just be because sex isn't right for you just yet, or you don't have a partner yet who is the right person for you to be sleeping with.

And when it comes to choosing partners where that feels better? I don't know what your social circle is like, but if it's generally a drunken bunch, it might behoove you to expand that circle and get some friends and potential partners in it who are sober, okay?

Here are a few links to help you figure more of this out:

Lastly, if you've been having sex drunk a lot, chances are you haven't been making the best choices ever, and you may also have been at some extra risks you probably weren't even aware of. Do be sure you're up-to-date with your yearly screenings for sexually transmitted infections. While we're on the subject of your health -- physical and mental -- I also want to encourage you to look at the why of you're drinking, particularly before it becomes a real problem for you. A lot of people drinks trying to self-medicate for things like social anxiety or depression, and it's really not a good treatment for...well, anything. Using booze as medicine or social lubricant doesn't solve problems, it just makes one more of them for you, particularly as time goes by. Suffice it to say, if you're underage, you're also looking at possible legal problems.

If you need some help when it comes to dealing with alcohol, you can talk to your doctor about it, or a school nurse or counselor. You might also just want to file away some information on teen alcoholism and help with that just in case, and the best place for that is Ala-Teen. If you suspect drinking is a problem for you you don't think you can easily kick, I'd encourage you to be proactive and take an aggressive approach now, both for your sex life and your whole life.

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