Caffeine Plus Alcohol Leads to Casual Sex, Study Finds
Researchers study the link between sex and energy drinks.
It's no secret that alcohol and casual sex have long been friends. The two seem to have a solid relationship, but researchers have found an added element that may contribute even more to casual hook-ups: caffeinated energy drinks.
A new study from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) found a link between casual sex and alcohol mixed with energy drinks—what they call AmEDs. They studied 648 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 40, though according to the University, the participants were "mostly clustered at the lower end of the age spectrum."
Lead researcher Kathleen E. Miller found that, of the sexually active participants, 45.1 percent reported having a casual sexual partner, 24.8 were drunk during their last sexual encounter, and 43.6 said they didn't use a condom. The study also found that nearly one in three sexually active participants reported drinking an AmED during the month before the survey. Of that group, Miller reported:
"AmED users were more likely than nonusers to report intoxication and/or a casual partner at most recent sexual intercourse."
The study further explains that there's just something about the caffeine in those energy drinks that makes people a bit more sex-crazed than usual:
"AmED use was associated with an escalation of sexual risk that was not reducible to the effects of alcohol or personality selection effects alone."
So what is it about mixing Red Bull with vodka that seems to make drinkers engage in what Miller calls sexually "risky" behavior? She explains:
"Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication. AmEDs have stronger priming effects than alcohol alone." She adds, "In other words, they increase the craving for another drink, so that you end up drinking more overall."
Miller's explanation supports another recent study, which warned of the dangers of AmEDs. The gist of it is: when you drink, at some point your body indicates that it's time to stop, go home and go to bed. Caffeine seems to prolong that indicator, encouraging users to keep boozing it up.
But the University reports that, when it comes to the sex issue, there's good news.
"Miller's study found that consumption of AmEDs was not a significant predictor of unprotected sex. Drinkers were no less likely than nondrinkers to have used a condom during their most recent sexual encounter."
So I suppose there's a silver lining to this dangerously kinky cloud.
Photo: joSon/Getty Images
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