Getting Loaded, Getting Laid:
young men’s narratives of intoxicated sex
Sex under the influence of drugs and alcohol has been cited as a risk factor for sexual health and some research suggests gender plays a determining role. While men are often conceptualized as risk factors in women’s sexual health, little is known about how men themselves understand and negotiate the risks involved with intoxicated sex.
The purpose of this qualitative study is to gain a better understanding of the experience and meaning of intoxicated sex from the perspective of men and to describe how a culture of recreational drug use, the pursuit of pleasure, and masculinities interact to structure choices young men make about risk taking practices. In-depth interviews conducted with 16 men ages 19 to 31 years living in Whistler, BC collected descriptive data about the local social context and a total of 35 narratives of intoxicated sex.
Analyses of these two types of data (descriptive and narrative) revealed a coherent set of public narratives (designed as performances) that reinforced dominant ideals of masculinity and a second set of private narratives that illustrate how masculine identities can be complicit, contradictory and/or contest prevailing public ideals of the ‘Whistler guy’. Results also suggest that, for some young men, the social meanings of different substances allows expressions of masculinities while intoxicated that might not be acceptable to peers in a sober context. These findings aim to inform more gender sensitive health promotion strategies to men.