When it comes to that post-hookup regret we all experience at least once in our lives, the feeling is more common after consuming too much alcohol versus marijuana or ecstasy.
Published in the journal Psychology & Sexuality, the experiment examined 679 nightclub and dance festival attendees in New York City (ages 18–25) to examine and compare self-reported sexual effects associated with use of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy:
Results suggest that compared to marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy were more strongly associated with heightened perceived sexual effects (i.e. perceived sexual attractiveness of self and others, sexual desire, length of intercourse, and sexual outgoingness).
Increased body and sex organ sensitivity and increased sexual intensity were most commonly associated with ecstasy use. Sexual dysfunction was most common while using alcohol or ecstasy, especially among males, and females were more likely to report sexual dysfunction after using marijuana. Post-sex regret was most common with alcohol use.
Study author Joseph J. Palamar of New York University, told PsyPost that few studies have examined the actual sexual effects of drugs and alcohol, saying, “Whether or not someone uses a condom while high is important. However, limiting research to this behavior really ignores the actual sexual responses associated with drug use that may in fact influence one’s decision to have sex with or without a condom.”
“Each drug is associated with its own level of sexual risk,” said Palamar. “Alcohol is likely the riskiest as use is not only so common, but also promoted throughout much of society.”
“Even if sex itself isn’t risky while on alcohol, post-sex regret is extremely common as users may hook up with someone they normally wouldn’t have sex with.”
Admitting the study was based on self-report, which is limited, Palamar told PsyPost, “Use of multiple drugs at the same time is also common in this population so it may have been difficult for some users to distinguish between effects of different drugs. Many drugs can also affect memory so recall of sexual experiences could have been impaired.”