Binge drinking and sex: a graph

Have a look the following 2010 graph produced by the University of Delaware on their college students:

The key aspects to realise from this graph are that the girls who don’t drink basically don’t have (unprotected) sex, and that, more surprisingly, the boys who don’t drink don’t have (unprotected) sex.

This graph concurs with a general thought on Anglo-Saxon culture, which is that the repressive attitudes towards sex within a culture of quite high female empowerment finds a ‘safety valve’ in binge drinking. Basically, young Anglo-Saxons need to get hammered in order to get laid. And, apparently, the need for an alcohol excuse is mutual. This might also explain why you see so much less of this binge drinking amongst men after the age of 30 or so: the alcohol then takes away the performance, so the real point of the drinking disappears.

This dynamic also has real and serious knock-on effects, if you will pardon the pun. It might go some way to explaining why teenage pregnancy rates are so unusually high in Anglo-Saxon countries compared to rich European or Asian countries: once sober, the shame kicks in again and prevents the girls from getting a morning-after pill.

Author: paulfrijters

Professor of Wellbeing and Economics at the London School of Economics, Centre for Economic Performance

3 thoughts on “Binge drinking and sex: a graph”

  1. “…and that, more surprisingly, the boys who don’t drink don’t have (unprotected) sex”

    I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me. Why is that any more surprising than with girls?


    1. Surprising to me. I was influenced by the story lines you now and then get that it’s all about plastered girls being taken advantage of by sober boys. Turns out both are plastered.


      1. On a related note, there are massive holes in the laws surrounding this. It is my understanding that you cannot legally give consent when you are drunk. When both parties are blind drunk, what are the legal implications?

        With regards to the graph, I’m not sure what this tells us about rates of sexual intercourse amongst the various groups. It could just be that drunk people are too drunk to bother with contraception. Also, what exactly is it that is significant at the 5% level? It’s not at all clear from the graph.


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