Common culture holds that drinking and flirting go hand in hand. For many people, alcohol is courage in a bottle. It’s a social lubricant that relaxes inhibitions.
A few drinks can dissolve all the self-consciousness, stress and anxiety of approaching someone new and establishing a fulfilling connection. If that happens, you can build on it, and you won’t need the alcohol anymore. But first, you have to make an approach.
Alcohol can also prevent you from taking the encounter too seriously if you are rebuffed. Alcohol can give you the ability to laugh it off with friends. Many failed first encounters will later make you wonder why you were attracted in the first place. But for now, at least you know where you stand with that person you’ve been too shy to approach.
Flirting and drinking is what goes on at most clubs, bars and pubs. For the most part, it’s all in good fun. Sometimes you get lucky, and someone you’re attracted to reciprocates.
But what if that person has had a few cocktails too many? You may be wondering whether they really like you or if it’s just the alcohol talking. Drinking lowers inhibitions, so you might conclude that a person’s behavior while drunk is an honest expression of their true feelings. However, as we shall see, there is more to it than that.
What Does the Literature Have to Say?
A 2000 study titled “Alcohol’s Effects on Sexual Perception” revealed that men were more likely than women to interpret basic friendliness as sexual interest.
Based on this misperception, men were more likely to ask a woman out when she was not sexually interested but merely being nice. In such cases, a woman may be left wondering why he thought that she was interested in dating him when she obviously, at least in her view, was not.
This state of affairs is usually easy to resolve when the woman refuses the offer, but not always. In some cases, a man might continue his drunken pursuit regardless of a woman’s explicit rejection. Sexual harassment can also occur in addition to sexual assault.
Another study found that when alcohol is served at a social gathering, both women and men showed reduced inhibitions and were perceived by trained observers as behaving in a more sexual manner.
Both male and female participants exaggerated the interest level of the other person. They also paid less attention to the other person’s ambiguous cues. That affected sexual judgment and resulted in a compromised ability to accurately assess a potential partner.
This study is consistent with previous studies about the different ways men and women perceive sexual interest. In short, men are more likely to confuse friendliness in a woman with sexual interest in a woman.
Men are also more likely perceive sexual interest in women than women are to perceive sexual interest in men. Alcohol exaggerates this perception for men and heightens it for women.
The proclivity of men to judge a woman’s sexual interest as more than it actually is increased when alcohol was factored into the mix. This misperception is consistent with cognitive impairment caused by alcohol.
Although men considered their own behavior to be more sexual than women did, women perceived men’s behavior as less sexual than men did. Male actors and observers in the study also misperceived the women’s degree of interest and rated their behavior as more sexual than female observers did.
The Alcohol/Sexuality Connection
Research teams to date have confirmed a strong connection between alcohol and sexuality. Studies have shown that men and women who drink are considered more available sexually than sober people. When a man and a woman drink together, there’s an unexpressed expectation that consensual sex is in the offing.
This expectation can cause problems if it’s not shared by both people. Alcohol and sexual assault are strongly linked. Scientists have not yet come up with a theory to fully explain why this link exists.
They do know that when an intoxicated man is attracted to a woman, he will selectively focus on any indication that she is also attracted to him while ignoring any behavioral cues that do not support his theory.
This pattern of perceiving is associated with cognitive deficits brought on by alcohol. An intoxicated man will focus on any indication the a woman is as taken with him as he is with her.
Because that conclusion may well be inaccurate, it’s a good idea to proceed with the utmost caution and to tone down any overtures that might be misconstrued. Better still, wait until your head clears and the alcohol wears off to rethink the idea.
Does the person still appeal to you when you’re sober? It’s not unusual to wake up feeling glad that you didn’t hook up with that person because you’re not really interested any more.
But what if you drink a little too much simply because you’re shy, and you need more liquid courage than other folks? Well, you might have a blackout, and things in your life could go seriously wrong.
A Drunken Man’s Words Are a Sober Man’s Thoughts
The truth of this statement is vouched for anecdotally by numerous men. Maybe it’s true sometimes, but it may not be true all the time.
Do People Really Speak The Truth When Drunk?
Alcohol stifles reasoning skills and makes the drinker less concerned about the repercussions of their actions. Brutal honesty may be peppered with strong opinions and reckless behavior. Without the fear of consequences, alcohol can give people the courage to do or say things they ordinarily wouldn’t even consider.
You’ve heard that “drunk words are sober thoughts.” Does science agree? The effects alcohol has on honesty are complex. While alcohol can lower a person’s inhibitions, it doesn’t necessarily make them more truthful.
Does Alcohol Compel Honesty?
Researchers have found that drunks do tell the truth, not because they are honest or truthful by nature, but because they don’t care about the consequences of their actions while inebriated.
Alcohol impairs cognitive functioning. Besides removing the fear of flirting, drinking can make you act out in response to people you dislike.
Telling off the boss and quitting your job on the spot can make you feel courageous and victorious until you sober up and realize the extent of the damage.
Can You Trust a Drunk in a Blackout?
Blackouts typically occur after someone ingests a lot of alcohol in a very short time. Nevertheless, blackouts can also occur at other times and for no discernible reason.
You’ve heard stories about people who wake up in the morning next to someone they’re never seen before? Well, those stories are true, and usually the person you’re sleeping next to is a far cry from the person you thought you were with. A person in a blackout will experience a complete loss of memory for events that occurred during the experience.
Do Spirits Inhabit the Body During Blackouts?
According to folklore, there is a strong connection between drinking and demonic possession. Legend has it that alcohol lowers a person’s vibrational frequency level. In this compromised state, the drunk person is easy to possess and offers no resistance as the spirit slips into the body where it can further impair cognition and use the body for nefarious purposes.
Countless anecdotal reports suggest that such a phenomena exists, although there are zero scientific studies to back it up. Binge drinking and blackouts are popular with college students seeking cheap thrills and an affordable recreational activity.
Why Is Liquor Called Spirits?
Back in 327 B.C., Aristotle wrote about a connection between alcohol and spirit possession in inebriated people. Aristotle called the product of distillation “spirits.” He believed that distilled beer and wine “put spirits into the body of the drinker.”
Below is one response to a thread about drunken spirit possession on Lipstick Alley, an online forum. It can make you think twice about dating drunks, even if those drunks are truthful about their intentions:
“It’s like another entity has taken over…seriously. One of my friends whole personality would change. She would engage in dangerous behavior, trying to go off with random dudes when drunk even though she was a lesbian. I legit think there is something that takes over and I think its like the alcohol is breaking the barrier or veil between our world and the spirit world.”
Do you rely on alcohol to fuel your love life? Give Recreate Behavioral Health Network a call day or night to launch a new life of recovery.