Why Using Alcohol To Lower Sexual Inhibitions Isn't Always A Bad Thing

Feminist Law Professors points us to this collection of alcohol ads where they say the "not-so-subtle message of the ad was: 'get'er drunk and she'll do ya!'" However, to me, the Heineken ad at left isn't necessarily about men getting women drunk in order to take advantage of them; it speaks more to a fundamental conflict that many women feel in dealing with their sexuality.

Many women — myself included — are profoundly uneasy about their desires. They want to be able to follow their sexual pleasure, but often can't be wholly casually sexual without the lubrication of alcohol. This isn't a value judgment, merely an observation: that booze helps women silence that inner voice telling them that having non-committed sex is somehow wrong.

It reminds me of a passage from the very moving memoir by Caroline Knapp about her struggle with alcoholism, Drinking: A Love Story:

The deeper connections between alcohol and self-worth and sexuality, the way women (at least women like me) use alcohol to deaden a wide range of conflicted feelings — longing for intimacy and terror of it; a wish to merge with others and a fear of being consumed; profound uncertainty about how and when to maintain boundaries and how and when to let them down…[alcohol] is a way of giving license to the part of you that wants to say yes. Yes to life and yes to deep connection and yes to touch and comfort and love.

The problem now, as it has been for many years, is that everyone gets histrionic when alcohol and sex are combined. Women are blamed if they're sexually assaulted while under the influence and there's a rash of pearl clutching and condescension that inevitably goes along with the issue. Knapp was an alcoholic, but scads of young women who don't have a real problem with alcohol certainly use it to stifle their more prudent (and prudish) voices, something otherwise known as having fun. Perhaps if there were more room for discussion of young female sexuality without descent into histrionics, women would have an easier time coming to terms with their own physical desires — with or without the aid of alcohol.

Alcohol As Dating Accoutrement [Feminist Law Professors]

Related: Alcohol As A Tool In The Dating Game [Contexts Blogs]
Drinking: A Love Story