Drunk Sex = rape?

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Drunk Sex = rape?

Unread post by DesSam »

Hi, Iʻm someone who goes to parties often (my city isnʻt affected by covid so its safe) and gets pretty blackout drunk itʻs not uncommon for me to get intimate with equally drunk people. I have fun and generally, I forget about it when Iʻm sober. Some of my partners are fwb and others are strangers. As Iʻm trying to incorporate consent culture into my life, is hooking up when drunk always problematic or even rape??
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Re: Drunk Sex = rape?

Unread post by Alexa »

Hey DesSam,

First, it's important to address this: no city is safe during COVID. Whether it is pervasive in your area in this exact moment does not change the fact that it is global in its reach, rapidly spreading, and that the world is not thoroughly vaccinated against it yet -- so parties are not a great idea right now.

Whether drunk sex is always rape is one of those forever-relevant questions. As a sex educator, it is my ethical duty to point out that people who are intoxicated can never give true, completely self-aware consent to any sexual act, so therefore, by definition, sex while intoxicated is rape/assault. Further, if you are describing yourself as blackout drunk and you are having no memory of the sex act the following day, this tells me that you are in no place to give OR obtain consent.

As a human being, I recognize that things aren't always black and white, and people can desire sex even while intoxicated. If you find that you are often having sex while all involved parties are intoxicated, I would ask yourself a couple of questions. Why is alcohol involved? Do you feel you need alcohol in any way to feel relaxed for, willing, or able to have sex? Are you having sex while sober (ever)? If not, why? If yes, do you notice that sober sex feels different? Alcohol can do things like prevent you from naturally lubricating, becoming erect, having a full range of sensation -- all things that contribute to great sex. If you have thoughts on why you may be drunk sex so often, we can definitely talk that out here.

Another really important question is whether all parties are in a similar state of intoxication. If one person is sober and another is drunk, that can lead to a severe power imbalance in making decisions around sex in a way that is inherently abusive. If you are getting someone drunk in order to have sex with them, or are pursuing sex with someone who is more intoxicated than you, then that is most certainly rape and alcohol in that instance is a date rape drug.

Also, I would recommend taking a look at a couple of our articles/advice columns that are relevant:

Do you want to talk about how having sex while intoxicated, not remembering all of these sex acts, etc. has made you feel? Or maybe we can talk about making a plan around consent and sex if you intend to drink on a given night (e.g. tell your FWB you want to hook up before a party, or that you want to sleep things off before having sex)?
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Re: Drunk Sex = rape?

Unread post by lilikoi »

Wow, Alexa that response is beautiful! Spitting the truth! So many salient ideas and comments.

This topic and question is something that's always interested me @DesSam so thank you for posing the question. My first sexual experience happened while I was very intoxicated. I did remember what happened and having that memory is what made me realize that I would not have felt comfortable with those things if I had been sober. I think of that moment as a self-violation where "intoxicated-me" did not listen to the discomfort of "sober-me". I wish that I and the person I was with had just noted the attraction while inhibitions were down and then got coffee later to pursue that attraction when we were both sober.

Following that experience, I am pretty considerate of my sober self and those anxieties I feel about intimacy instead of ignoring them. I've found a lot of empowerment in thinking more about the role I want sex to play in my life.

In my own self-reflection, I do generally come to the conclusion that intoxication and sex is not black or white. For instance, my partner and I have been together for 4 years and we fully trust each other so, now, we occasionally get high and have sex. We only started doing this recently as a quarantine activity and beforehand we will discuss what we would be comfortable with and set boundaries for our comfort. Those interactions, for me, have been really fun and not felt intrusive at all. And the reason I do it is to experience the pleasure in a special way which is such a different reason than that first experience I had.
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