Because the researchers were more focused on getting as many details as possible, the study only included 24 participants — 12 men, 12 women, all heterosexual. Some of the surface findings seem cool and fun — people are more talkative! Sex lasts longer! Yay! But among the findings are the negatives you might expect: total memory loss from blacking out, feelings of regret, and people left wondering whether or not they'd used a condom. Some participants also discuss sexual encounters between two people who were clearly very drunk — which, legally, is a criminal act (You have to be able to give consent, and you can't give consent if you're drunk.) So maybe don't use this study as an excuse to try sex under the influence of every drug under the sun. Definitely don't. That being said: Here are 21 ways sex changes when you're high or when you're drunk.
1. Drinking makes you more outgoing and more likely to connect with potential partners. No surprise here.
2. But drinking led to more people choosing partners they may not normally pick. Palamar's team found a lot of negatives associated with being drunk or high before sex, but one of the biggest ones is that people who'd been drinking reported being more likely to choose an "atypical partner" or experience "post-sex regret." People commonly complained of things like seeing a partner "in the daylight" for the first time or feeling like they woke up to a "different person" after hooking up drunk.
3. People report feeling sexier after smoking or drinking. But especially after drinking. From the study: "One female stated she felt so attractive on alcohol that she feels she is the 'diva of the party,' yet another states she felt like the 'sexiest woman on the planet' while high on marijuana." Here's what one participant, a 32-year-old woman, had to say about how the two experiences compare: "When I'm drunk, I'm drunk, so I'm like, 'I'm hot.' Then with weed, I usually feel more sexy ... and happy. You usually feel a little sexier, a little bit more turned on and ready to have sex, instead of being self-conscious."
4. Sometimes, smoking makes people feel more insecure. One man from the study said that drinking helps "numb" his insecurities, but, in his experience, smoking can sometimes increase his body image issues.
5. Smoking tends to make people clam up. As in, they are quieter than normal and a bit less social.
6. Alcohol turns people into social butterflies. A phrase some people used was that they were "down for anything" when they're drunk. One 18-year-old male participant said, "I don't feel as outgoing [on marijuana]. I don't want to hold a conversation and stuff like that. Whereas if I'm drunk, I talk to anybody." Another participant, a 19-year-old woman, echoed this sentiment, but added that marijuana makes her "laugh more, and I guess when you laugh, it makes people want to socialize with you."
7. Smoking makes you pickier about who you'll hang out with. In the cases where marijuana did make people want to talk more, they said they tended to be more selective of who they wanted to be around at the time. "When I'm high, I'm a people person, but I'm selective," said a 35-year-old male participant. "When I drink, I don't mind being in a crowd of people. There are times I'll be high, and I'll go to a party, and I'll pick this guy or this girl. But when I'm drunk, I'm just going to mingle with everybody."
8. Alcohol leads to more "aggressive" behavior than marijuana does. Women, especially, said that men seemed to be more domineering when they're drunk, and that doesn't necessarily happen when they're high. "When there's drinking involved, guys seem to get more belligerent and crazy, and get this weird aggressive energy," said one 31-year-old female participant.
9. People are hornier when they're drunk versus when they're high. Generally, people said they're just sort of happy to do whatever when they're high. But when they're drunk, sex is the thing they want to do the most. "Maybe I'm looking for [sex] more if I were drunk, whereas when I'm high, I'm happy doing other things," one 31-year-old woman said. "Sex is great. Watching a movie is great. Resting's great. But when I'm drunk, fucking would be great."
10. The feeling of being willing to "do anything" people feel when they're drunk is different between men and women. This is a crucial difference, and one of only a few gendered differences in the study's findings. While women tend to discuss this attitude in terms of being more "adventurous," men compared the feeling alcohol gives them to "boldness" or "confidence." One man said, "It feels like you get a lot more primal [on alcohol]," and said it's like a feeling of needing something and doing whatever to get it.
11. Marijuana's "forbiddenness" facilitates intimacy between two people. Because it's still illegal in most places, participants in the study said the taboo of smoking weed with someone else in private is an intimate act. "When I go on a date, if it went well, I'd be like, 'Want to come back to my place and smoke weed?'" said one 31-year-old woman. "That's a great transition into the intimacy of being at my house. 'Let's do something a little bit taboo together.' And then it's like you're sharing a sensation that's a little bit forbidden."
12. People don't lower their standards when they're high, but they do find people more attractive in general. While alcohol led a lot of people to sleep with people they didn't necessarily find attractive, some said they found their partners "more attractive" when they were high. "When I'm high ... the people I'm attracted to, I'm not at all attracted to sober," a 22-year-old female participant said. "They should be called 'weed goggles,' because it's much worse on marijuana than on alcohol."
13. Alcohol makes you forget things you did. Obviously. A lot of participants said they couldn't remember sexual interactions they had when alcohol was involved. As the study notes, "This often led to reclusiveness, and some participants even reported being 'cold' to their partner in the morning." Clearly, this is dangerous, and one of many reasons to be super careful about having sex when you've been drinking.
14. Having sex when you're high once will make you want to have more sex when you're high. A man and woman from the study both separately reported a desire "for more sex after the first sexual episode on marijuana." But people who have had drunken sex don't necessarily crave more drunken sex.
15. Having sex after you drink leads to a lot of regret. There's a whole section in the study dedicated to feelings of regret following sex. "The most commonly reported feeling after sex on alcohol was regret," the study reads. This comes from a combination of the fact that alcohol led participants to sleep with people they didn't find attractive, concerns about pregnancy, and completely forgetting about people they'd had sex with. "When you're drunk, it's more regrets or I-wish-I-didn't-do-that type of thing," said one 32-year-old woman. "Definitely had times where I didn't use a condom. Pulling-out method, one-night stands ... Just didn't feel good about that at all."
16. For women, having sex drunk leads to increased feelings of shame. Chalk this up to a terrible societal double standard, but women in the study commonly expressed feelings of shame for allowing themselves to have sex with someone they felt they wouldn't have sex with sober. "When you're drunk, you might see somebody and be like, damn, he looks mad good," one 25-year-old woman said. "Then you wake up, you're like, oh, what the hell did I just do?"
17. But men said they just regret the women they pursued while they were drunk. Fun! So, while women are feeling bad about themselves for having sex, men tend to feel bad about who they had sex with. "Oh, so much regret for alcohol," said one 20-year-old man. "Sometimes I hook up with girls I wouldn't normally have while sober."
18. People have sex longer when they've been drinking. Because of a feeling of desensitization after drinking, participants reported "prolonged intercourse" when alcohol is involved. Some people said they really enjoyed this, but one woman pointed out that this can become painful after a while.
19. Sex while you're high feels much more intense and compassionate. While being high warps the participants' sense of time (making 15 minutes feel like an hour in some cases), many said the orgasm they experience during high sex is more intense than a drunken or sober orgasm. They also said the orgasm tends to come much quicker. One woman also said she feels "very sensual" when she's high.
20. Both alcohol and weed lead to sexual dysfunction. Men said alcohol made it more difficult to get hard, and some women said weed makes it harder to get "naturally lubricated."
21. Some people can't focus enough to orgasm at all when they're high. Some women said they just couldn't quite get there when they were high, simply because it was too hard to focus.
Source: Cosmo US