Followup: Alcohol-induced Horniness and Consent

In an earlier post, following up on a good post by LSM, I said

-If they didn’t consent before they were drunk, and now they’re pouring themselves all over you and practically begging for sex?  You still don’t have consent.

Seriously!  If someone is drunk enough that you’d take their keys before letting them drive?  Then, unfortunately, they’re too drunk to consent as well.

I need to tell you that part of why that point about consent is so important to me.  Chances are it was long before you were born, but I was that guy.  The one who didn’t get that “consent” when you’re really drunk or high ≠ consent when you’re sober.

And it doesn’t matter that I was unsure and culturally indoctrinated, or that “everybody did it.”  It doesn’t matter that I was usually at least as drunk and high my partners were.

And it doesn’t matter that songs popular in the bars I worked in and hung out in and drank in and hooked up in had lyrics like “I really had a ball last night / I was holding all the pretty boys tight / I was drinking single / seeing double” or “The girls all get prettier at closing time.”

And it doesn’t matter that my sex life dramatically ‘declined’ once I stopped drinking, because the “deep connections” that led to hookups when I was as roaring drunk as they were felt sad and lame and (had I continued) cynical and exploitive when they were drunk and I was sober.

I don’t “blame” myself for the ways I behaved then, because it was so ingrained in the culture of the 1970s. By the standards of the time there always was consent. And by the standards of the time my partners, my peers, and I would have been shocked by anyone having sex with someone who was actually passed out because even though the term “date rape” hadn’t been coined yet we understood that was immoral, unethical, and criminal.

But if I don’t blame myself, I still hold myself responsible now.  And one of my responses is to clarify that evidently-still-murky area of sobriety and consent.  If I was 20 again today I wouldn’t be That Guy, because now I’d have understood the difference.  But it doesn’t change that I WAS That Guy.  

40+ years later it’s still bothering me.  Enormously.  Today?  You don’t have much excuse at all today, do you?

Oh, and for the record it doesn’t matter that, to be honest, if you’re too drunk to drive you’re definitely too drunk to accurately assess someone else’s ability to consent.  Don’t be that  guy  person (because it’s never been just guys.)