Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hey, Baby! Want to Party?

Friends of my children have been known to brag, "Oh, My God, we got so wasted this weekend." And these are girls.  I am concerned about my grandson who will be attending one of the nation's "party schools."  Alcoholism is in his family, and I don't know if he takes that seriously enough.  In other words, drinking - often to excess - is a problem for both girls and boys of a certain age.  One of those problems is alcohol's ability to lessen inhibitions leads to sex.  We all know that because, if you are honest, we have all been there.  When does having sex become rape?  This article from today's NY times says it well.

Nothing Liberating About Being Wasted 
By Koren Zailckas 
Koren Zailckas is the author of "Smashed, Story of a Drunken Girlhood,'' and, most recently, the novel "Mother, Mother.'' She also visits colleges as an alcohol education lecturer 
Alcohol is the No. 1 date-rape drug. That’s not victim-blaming, or anti-women (let the record show a large portion of male victims have been drinking at the time of their sexual assaults too). It’s simply a fact. The vast majority of campus rapes happen when the rapist, the victim or both are drunk. 

And so alcohol education is essential for students of every gender. 
Even when willing partners are sober, communication about sex can be fuzzy. We don’t sit down and make a Venn diagram of what we want and don’t want. Once heavy drinking enters the picture, all nuance disappears. Smashed people converse without any give and take and precious little listening, shouting toward each other as if on separate mountaintops in a heavy fog. 

In my time as a 19-year-old binge drinker, it was impossible to even be aware of anyone else around me, let alone gauge what they wanted from me in an intimate context. Blacked out, browned out, burned out, I couldn’t make even my most primal needs known. It was hard enough to slur “must sleep” or “I’m going to get sick,” let alone “I’m a virgin” or “I’m just not that into you” or even just, “No!” 
Date rape is wrong no matter if the victim is sober or passed out. But it’s important to remember that it can occur when someone schemes to have sex with a near-corpse or when two drunken people drift into a situation that one of them does not want.  
Binge drinking, whether we’re male, female, straight, gay or one of many shades of gray, dulls our senses and slows reaction times, making it harder to identify our comfort zones until we’re frightfully outside of them. 
But date rape, devastating as it was, was only one horrible consequence of my college habits. I felt degraded by not knowing how to feel comfortable in a crowd without a drink in my hand, not knowing how to meet new people without a proffered shot, not knowing how to express romantic interest without slurring sweet nothings in some poor boy’s ear. 

Some may talk about the freedom to drink as heavily as the guys. But in my experience, getting blind drunk was the opposite of liberating. By the time I quit drinking at 24, I felt emotionally like I was 14, the same age at which I’d had my first drink.  

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