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Alcohol Consumption and Consent to Sex Examined

J Sex Res; ePub 2018 Sep 10; Drouin, Jozkowski, et al

Most people indicated that they could consent to sex (93%) and their friend could consent to sex (87%) in a recent study that examined the extent to which alcohol consumption affected perceptions of one’s own and one’s friend’s ability to consent to sexual activity. Researchers surveyed 160 adult bar-goers in pairs about their own and their friends’ alcohol consumption, intoxication symptoms, and ability to consent to sexual activity. They found:

  • On average, participants reported consuming 4.97 drinks, rated themselves at the legal limit for driving, reported 1 intoxication symptom, and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) just >.08.
  • However, few thought they or their friend had diminished cognitive function.
  • Accordingly, number of drinks people reported consuming, self-reported intoxication levels and symptoms, and BACs were significantly correlated; however, none of these measures was significantly related to individuals’ perceptions of their own or their friends’ ability to consent to sexual activity.
  • Finally, those in man-man pairs were significantly more likely than those in woman-woman pairs to indicate they would allow their friend to have sex if approached by an interested party.


Drouin M, Jozkowski KN, Davis J, Newsham G. How does alcohol consumption affect perceptions of one’s own and a drinking partner’s ability to consent to sexual activity? [Published online ahead of print September 10, 2018]. J Sex Res.