Students must practice caution when hooking up at parties

Opinions Columnist | English senior

There is nothing wrong with partying, but both men and women need to use good judgment and make safe choices when alcohol and sex are involved.

Oftentimes hormones run high and alcohol flows freely at parties. Inhibitions are lowered and “liquid courage” makes an appearance. Both men and women can become brave and aggressive and start looking around for somebody to have some fun with—that is just how it goes.

The reality of college life is students will likely find themselves drinking alcohol and hooking up with other people. Hooking up can be safely done under the influence of alcohol, but students must exercise caution, even more so since it can easily become tricky to make sensible choices. This process can become even trickier when both parties are drunk.

Rape and sexual assault are no laughing matters. Far too many students experience assault during their college years, and many feel pressured to have sex and drink alcohol. This is a serious problem on college campuses across the country.

According to the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, consent is not possible when one party is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The website states approximately one of every four to five women are assaulted on college campuses every year, and 7 percent of rape victims are male.

The issue of consent can be tricky for college students participating in campus hook-up culture. The law says an intoxicated individual cannot give sexual consent. However, degrees of intoxication vary from person to person. Issues especially arise when both individuals are under the influence. Does this mean neither is giving consent and both are equally in the wrong? It is a serious matter, but unfortunately, the idea of consent always being invalid under the influence seems too simple for realistic situations where gray areas abound.

Students at a party are not likely to stop making out and start talking about blood alcohol levels and consent forms. Maybe things would be better if that was the norm, but it is not and is unlikely to change any time soon. Drunken hook-ups are rarely carried out with clear, mature logic as the driving force behind them.

But even so, that does not give students the green light to throw caution to the wind. Both men and women need to be clear on what they want and do not want while drinking. It can be tough and may ruin the mood, but by speaking up, both sides can avoid problems.

The reality is sex and alcohol go together too often. Men and women will drink and hook up, and this will be sometimes good and sometimes bad. Being vocal about the situation will not stop assaults completely, but it can help cut down on misunderstandings and assumptions. Getting drunk can be fun and seem really important at the time, but showing responsibility for others and oneself can and should be equally important when sex and alcohol are mixed.