Why college students need to be drunk before having sex

Emily Yoffe (born 1955) earned a reputation as an old scold with her article “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.” (Slate; see also this recent interview with Yoffe).

Anecdotally, it is older women that have been the least sympathetic regarding the suffering of the sexual assault survivors that have been featured in the news. For example, asking “What were they doing in his hotel room?” or “Why did they go to a married man’s hotel room?” in response to a story about Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein, and “Why was she falling-down drunk at a fraternity party?” in response to a story about on-campus mishaps.

Of course, the younger women (and men) that are worthwhile targets for advertising think very differently about this, thus sustaining the media interest in these stories.

The book iGen sheds some light on this inter-generational disagreement:

There’s another reason iGen’ers are uncertain about relationships: you might get hurt, and you might find yourself dependent on someone else—reasons that intertwine with iGen’s individualism and focus on safety. “I think it’s good for people to be on their own for a while, too. People who are so heavily reliant on relationships for their whole source of emotional security don’t know how to cope when that’s taken away from them,” says Haley, 18, whom we met earlier. “A relationship is impermanent, everything in life is impermanent, so if that’s taken away and then you can’t find another girlfriend or another boyfriend, then what are you going to do? You haven’t learned the skills to cope on your own, be happy on your own, so what are you going to do, are you just going to suffer through it until you can find someone else who will take you?” Haley’s view is the famous couplet “Better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all” turned on its head: to her, it’s better not to have loved, because what if you lose it?

This fear of intimacy, of really showing yourself, is one reason why hookups nearly always occur when both parties are drunk. Two recent books on college hookup culture both concluded that alcohol is considered nearly mandatory before having sex with someone for the first time. The college women Peggy Orenstein interviewed for Girls & Sex said that hooking up sober would be “awkward.” “Being sober makes it seem like you want to be in a relationship,” one college freshman told her. “It’s really uncomfortable.” One study found that the average college hookup involves the woman having had four drinks and the men six.

As Lisa Wade found when she interviewed iGen college students, “The worst thing you can get called on a college campus these days isn’t what it used to be, ‘slut,’ and it isn’t even the more hookup-culture-consistent ‘prude.’ It’s ‘desperate.’ Being clingy—acting as if you need someone—is considered pathetic.”

So it seems that the generations are talking past each other.

More: read iGen.

10 Comments »

  1. Dwight Looi

    December 4, 2017 @ 1:27 pm

    1

    Alcohol is a depressant and reduces erectile function and sexual organ sensitivity… maybe their cocks and pussies work too well such that they need to dampen things down a little so they can last more than 10 seconds?

  2. anonymous

    December 4, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

    2

    Yes, I knew Emily from her “Wellesley News”. I believe she was the editor. She was never afraid to tackle an issue or shy away from a fight. Perhaps she will take on unfairness in family court, as well.
    What we have lost since was the willingness for young adults to get to know each other by “dating” and romance. My children all appear to have gone through college without any enduring intimate attachments.

  3. Tom

    December 4, 2017 @ 1:33 pm

    3

    Time to reactivate the Stoics.

  4. Tom

    December 4, 2017 @ 1:37 pm

    4

    What we have lost since was the willingness for young adults to get to know each other by “dating” and romance.

    Unfortunate. It’s a good idea to start the marriage workflow in college, I would say. You won’t meet that sort of people in that sort of setting again. (I didn’t, which was a mistake.)

  5. E. Rekshun

    December 4, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

    5

    the average college hookup involves the woman having had four drinks and the men six.

    I’ve never had six drinks in one evening, but if I had, “hooking up” would not have been physically possible, even at 19 year old.

    It’s possible that, aside from the more serious STDs, perhaps close to 100% of the “hook up” participants have HPV and don’t know it.

  6. Nowhere Man

    December 4, 2017 @ 5:49 pm

    6

    @Tom: It’s a good idea to start the marriage workflow in college, I would say. You won’t meet that sort of people in that sort of setting again. (I didn’t, which was a mistake.)

    Agreed! On the night that I graduated from high school, I got serious with a high school classmate one year behind me in school. We remained together for the next four years while I completed my engineering degree; while she worked full-time and took a night class here and there. Even though I had a great job offer in hand, she dumped me, literally, the day I graduated from college. That was almost 40 years ago.

  7. Nowhere Man

    December 4, 2017 @ 5:52 pm

    7

    ^ My brother, on the other hand, met his future wife at Freshman orientation on the firt day of undergrad. They became friends and developed into a committed reltionship by the time they graduated from undergrad; maintained that through different medical schools and residencies, got married two years later, and now have two smart, well-adjusted teenage boys.

  8. GermanL

    December 4, 2017 @ 7:24 pm

    8

    My wife and I met in college 20 years ago. I would agree that it is hard to find like minded people and in such a setting. As you get older you realize how boring most people are. Most don’t read books regularly, don’t have exposure to philosophy, or even basic curiousity regarding politics, history, science or just life in general. Most of my colleagues and acquaintances are quite dull. Perhaps in their home life they have quite interesting lives and hobbies, but one wouldn’t know from talking to them.

  9. hell

    December 4, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

    9

    all these humans are going to burn in hell

  10. lion

    December 5, 2017 @ 1:45 pm

    10

    Sounds exactly the same as dating after 40. Having anything in common is boring. Got to show those confidence flares. You didn’t show enough confidence flares.

Leave a Comment

Log in