Study links alcohol-energy drinks to casual sex

Published On: Jul 31 2012 12:12:07 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2012 10:45:14 AM EDT
Drinking, drinks, nightclub

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You may just have an excuse for some of those "poor decisions" made back in college. A new study finds that there may be a link between alcohol-infused caffeinated energy drinks and casual -- often risky -- sex among college-age adults.

According to the study, which was conducted by the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions, college students who consumed the mixed beverage were more likely to report having a casual partner and/or being intoxicated during their most recent sexual encounter.

Study author and senior research scientist Kathleen E. Miller, said the findings seem to indicate that alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) might play a role in the "hook-up culture" that exists on many college campuses.

“Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication,” Miller said. “AmEDs have stronger priming effects than alcohol alone. In other words, they increase the craving for another drink, so that you end up drinking more overall.”

According to Miller, drinking Red Bull-vodkas or Jagerbombs doesn’t necessarily lead people to get drunk and become intimate with strangers, but it does increase the odds of doing so. But she pointed out that the drinks are becoming increasingly popular with college-age adults and should be considered a possible risk factor for potentially health-compromising sexual behaviors.

Despite the dangers, the study did find that the consumption of AmEDs was not a significant predictor of unprotected sex. Miller said drinkers in the study were no less likely than nondrinkers to have used a condom during their most recent sexual encounter.

To read the study, click here.

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