How Alcohol Impacts Sexual Choices Among College Students

Young models

It’s often been called the “social lubricant” as a veiled disguise to get 18 to 22 year olds to “loosen up” or, as Miller says, “Live the high life.”

But what this mirage fails to inform you is that the patterns, habits and dependencies you are creating during this important era of your life (your college years) becomes the basic rubric for how you will handle pressure, social anxiety and stress as an adult.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), binge drinking is a major problem for college students and almost 100,000 students experience sexual assault as a result of this kind of activity [1].

You could choose to say that drinking isn’t affecting anyone’s sexual choices on college campuses, but at that point you would be denying reality. One could also argue that the sky isn’t blue or that grass isn’t green, but good luck proving such points.

Alcohol and Sexual Choices

I want to show you three ways that alcohol is changing our sexual ethic and identity, and suggest a new way forward for our college students fighting for their lives.

1. Alcohol lowers your moral compass.

This is proven chemically, but I’d much rather point to experience. I’ve seen healthy, loving, kind, grown adults act violent, childish and silly with the use of alcohol. Alcohol lowers your moral compass so that you will do things a few beers in that you would never do sober.

The effects on your sexual life and identity are obvious. You will lower your sexual standard and potentially end up in situations you would have never dreamed of because you mixed alcohol with intimacy, and like water and oil, the two don’t play well together.

2. Alcohol doesn’t think long-term, it only knows how to think short-term.

Alcohol doesn’t want you to think about your marriage, your children, or your children’s children. Alcohol wants you to drown out the best long-term option and think only about what feels best this very second.

Alcohol cares nothing about your best life or how pure you want to be on your wedding night or how much guilt and shame you want to have in your life. Alcohol only wants you live for tonight.

3. Alcohol cultivates shallow community.

Think about it… “Let’s get together and get hammered!” is the slogan of alcohol and college students. This leads to “commitment-less sex” and a generation of young people who often struggle with knowing how to have successful long-term relationships.

Young couple in the trees

We’re surprised about how many marriages are ending, but if we look and the infertile ground where these relationships sometimes blossom, we shouldn’t be shocked. Alcohol and “recreational sex” aren’t toys to be played with, they are weapons to be guarded, protected, understood and used responsibly at the proper time.

Young people sometimes think you can touch a burning stove and not suffer consequences. To mess with sex, drugs and rock n’ roll and think that you’re not drastically affecting your life is intellectually dishonest, incredibly naïve, and a gamble that I don’t think you want to make.

If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or other forms of addiction, consider the Christian track for addiction treatment.

Pastor Ryan Moffet family photoAbout the Author:

Ryan Moffat is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.



The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on August 2, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 2, 2017
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.