For many gay and bisexual men, drinking, and the venues that serve alcohol, are mainstays of our culture.
Heading out for a drink offers the possibility to socialise, meet up with friends and potentially hook up with new guys for sex. It lowers our inhibitions, making us feel more relaxed and can contribute to a fun night out.
Of course it can go too far – it can affect our judgement and lead us to making bad choices.
We’re not going to tell you not to have a drink - just try to be responsible. There’s plenty of information out there about the importance of controlling how much you drink to maintain your health. If you find alcohol is becoming a problem then speak to your GP or check out www.drinkaware.co.uk.
Here are some things for you to think about if you are heading out and it might lead to sex
Eat first: Having something in your stomach slows down the effects of alcohol and makes it more likely you will last the pace.
Be prepared: If you’re looking for sex, remember to take condoms and lube with you, or pick some up when you are out. If you have to travel into the city, think about how you’ll get home and keep some cash back for a cab.
Know your limits: It’s not a race, don’t try to keep up with your pals or feel pressurised into drinking things you don’t want to, like shots. Go at your own speed and take a break if you need one. If you end up hammered you’re chances of pulling go down the drain.
Drink lots of water: Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. Taking on water can keep you refreshed and will reduce the hangover.
Keep an eye on your drink: Don’t leave drinks unattended and keep an eye out for people trying to spike it with drugs.
If your taking drugs (prescription or street): Know its effects when mixed with alcohol. If on HIV medication, be aware of the effects of mixing alcohol and your meds. Try taking any medication at least an hour before going out so that you don’t mix the two.
Let’s talk about sex: Lots of guys have sex after drinking. You might find it easier talking to guys after a couple of drinks. That’s because alcohol lowers our inhibitions but it can also lead to bad choices. This can affect your sexual health - if you’re drunk, in the heat of the moment, you’re less likely to reach for a condom. These are the decisions we regret in the morning when we’ve sobered up.
The morning after: If you’re hungover, make sure you drink plenty of water. Coffee might sound like a good idea but it will leave you dehydrated. Take some paracetamol for the head and try to eat something as soon as you can.
The hangover horn: Yes, this is a thing, though we’re not sure why. Guys who are hungover often feel really horny and end up having sex with someone they’ve taken home. Sometimes they might turn to apps to find sex. The only bit of advice here is, if you’re horny and want sex make sure it’s the sex you want and that you’ve got condoms and lube to hand. Or just have a wank.
The downside: Aside from contributing to bad choices, alcohol has other well documented impacts on your health. In the short-term, excessive drinking can lead to serious problems like alcohol poisoning.
Over the long-term, drinking can lead to liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, stomach cancer and lots of other serious health issues. Excessive alcohol can also affect your emotional and mental health, and may have a negative impact on your relationships. Remember, if you find alcohol is becoming a problem then speak to your GP or check out www.drinkaware.co.uk.