How Drunk is Too Drunk For Sexual Consent?

Drunk woman with her man

How Drunk is Too Drunk For Sexual Consent?…….It happens all the time: a woman goes to a party, has too much to drink, wakes up the next morning in the bed of someone she didn’t intend to sleep with, and has no idea how any of it could have happened. In the past, this has been characterized as a harmless rite of passage amongst the hard-partying set, and in the more recent past as “date rape” or “gray rape.” Now, however, this qualifies as straight up rape, and the woman in question is fully within her rights to press charges against the guy from the night before. How could she consent to sex when she didn’t even know where she was or what was going on as a result of drinking too much? As a man, you can avoid being party to this messy situation by refusing to have sex with drunk women. But how can you tell the difference, in a casual setting, between a woman who has had a drink or two and a woman who is blackout drunk?

She’s Drinking a Lot in Front of You

This one is the easiest and most obvious. How many beers or shots have you seen her put away in the time you’ve had your eye on her as a potential sex partner? If it’s more than one or two, you might be better off getting her number and calling her in the morning than you would be bringing her back to your place. Assume that she has had or will have another few drinks on top of what you’ve seen her drink. Different people have different tolerances for alcohol: just because you can drink five beers and feel nothing more than a happy buzz doesn’t mean it’s the same for her. She could very well be plastered from five beers, and therefore unavailable to give consent.

Her Personality Seems Very Different

If you know her as that shy girl from your humanities seminar class and she’s dancing on a table with or without a lampshade on her head, steer clear. A lot of people use alcohol to make themselves less self-conscious at a social event, and it works. Unfortunately, sometimes it works a little bit too well and the person becomes so unself-conscious that they literally have no idea what they’re doing. If what you’re seeing at this party and what you have seen during your other interactions with this woman do not match up, have a nice conversation and offer to walk her home – don’t have sex with her.

Other People Refer to Her as “that Drunk Girl”

Enough said. If rape charges are brought up against you, these are potential witnesses for the prosecution. If the woman you have your eye on is inebriated to the point where others are calling her drunk, she is too drunk to consent to sex.

She Does Drunk Stuff

This includes but is not limited to slurring her speech, walking in a zombie-like shuffle, speaking in an extremely loud voice, laughing at things that aren’t strictly funny, being more touchy-feely than she might be normally, taking her clothes off in public, losing things, crying, vomiting, and/or sleeping. All of these are indicative that she has had too much to drink and could be in a vulnerable position. If you really like this woman, do her a favor by getting her home safely but remember: it stops when you reach her front door. You can bring her a breakfast sandwich in the morning – she’ll probably need it. What she does not need in this state is sex.

Rape is Not Fun for Anyone

All of this seems to go against what is seen as normal party behavior, and you might think that you’re missing out on a great time by refusing to have sex with drunk women. But here’s the thing: if you are accused with rape, even if you’re not formally charged and even if you are charged and later acquitted, everyone who knows about it will associate your name with “rapist.” This is the sort of stigma that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Your best defense against becoming “that rapist” is to abstain from having sex with anyone who is not in a position to consent to sex with you. This means don’t have sex with drunk women, and don’t become so drunk yourself that you don’t know the difference between a drunk woman and a sober one. If this puts a damper on your partying habits, it’s only fair. Women should not be the only gender whose fear of rape causes them to adopt responsible or defensive drinking habits in social settings.