"Let's all get drunk and go naked! / Let's all get drunk and go naked! / Let's all get drunk and go na-a-a-a-a-ked ... / And lie in a great big pile! And lie in a great big pile! And lie in a great big pile! / Let's all get drunk and go naked! / Let's all get drunk and go naked! / Let's all get drunk and go naked ... / And lie in a great big pile!" -- traditional drinking songThe great cliché of the 1990s S&M fad, the official slogan of the "leather" lifestyle, is "Safe, Sane, and Consensual." It has become the touchstone, the moral law, the razor that divides all sexuality between good and evil in a subculture that no longer accepts any other constraints. Because of the fashion for things B&D, D/S, and S&M a few years back, the slogan leaked out into popular culture. Now, in the greater culture, if you find someone who doesn't judged their sexuality (and other people's) against some religious text, "Safe, Sane, and Consenusal" has almost certainly become their religious text, their highest moral law.
Which makes sex with someone who is intoxicated a by-definition no-no, because under law, someone who is intoxicated can not give binding consent. Popular rape-prevention expert Gordon Braxton, with his inevitable followers, has made a career out of trying to persuade juries to convict men (always men) of rape, even in the absence of any other evidence of rape, if the woman was in any way perceptibly intoxicated. At least some juries are apparently accepting this logic, since it does follow logically from basic legal principles. And even if it doesn't result in legal arrest and conviction, it certainly does leave you open to smear and scandal, later, if upon sobering up your partner decides to tell everyone that you know that you got her wasted and took advantage of her against her better judgement.
If your interpretation of "safe" is at all strict, then sex where one or more of the partners is intoxicated hardly qualifies as "safe," either. Any safer-sex educator will tell you that the two most common failures of condoms are first, deciding at the last minute not to bother with it, and second, putting it on in some way incorrectly so that it won't maintain a seal during vigorous exercise. And the leading cause of both of those failures is intoxication.
Besides, imagine being given a choice between two people of equal attractiveness. One really finds you very attractive and wants to have sex with you. The other person only finds you attractive and desirable because they're drunk or stoned. Which one is more flattering? And when you put it that way, isn't the other one by definition an insult? If you have to have "beer goggles" to find someone attractive, if you're wearing a t-shirt that says, "I drink to make other people more interesting," aren't you saying to your partner(s) that they may actually be quite ugly, but you're willing to overlook that as long as you get to be thoroughly anaesthetized? That's pretty rude.
So that pretty well settles it, right? No sex with drunks. It's dangerous, unhealthy, capable of ruining your life, and unless you're one of the lucky ones that everybody finds attractive, it leaves you at least partly unfulfilled, wanting someone sober to find you attractive so that you can believe it yourself. That's certainly what I concluded, several years ago.
Now I'm not so sure, for four reasons, each one of which will get its own journal entry so you can reply to them separately:
- "Safe, sane, and consensual" is an excellent rule of thumb, but it's impossible as an absolute matter of principle.
- There are legitimate reasons why intoxicants are so important to human societies, and a flat prohibition on sex while either party is drunk deprives you of those societal benefits.
- Don't feel insulted automatically. More often, it's not about you, it's about them.
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