Whistler Guys Study

Sex, Drugs & Booze

Participants explained their theories about how alcohol and drugs were connected to sex. These theories reflect commonly held beliefs, and provide insight into the social context of the local drug culture. In addition to pharmacological effects of drugs on behaviour, these commonly held beliefs and shared social practices of substance use also impact on behaviour. This concept, called ‘social pharmacology’ is influential in shaping young men’s choices around substance use and sex. The following are participants’ descriptions of the social pharmacology of different drugs in relation to sex:


Alcohol was seen as "messy" in comparison to drugs. Provides "liquid courage," when trying to pick up but also could provide excuse if a guy didn’t pick up.  Participants said alcohol can help a guy last longer during sex but if too intoxicated, he will be too uncoordinated or unable to get erection.


Guys described pot in mixed terms in relation to sex. It intensifies sensual touch, can heighten and intimate and spiritual connection. But it also hampers sex drive, leaving guys uninterested in pursuing girls.


Ecstasy (press tab pills, usually mixed with other drugs) and MDMA (capsules, pure) were understood to intensify emotional and intimate connection with sexual partner. E/MDMA can heighten sensuality but also inhibit sex as it may cause temporary impotence. Variation in sexual response was explained by variety in pills: some made guys horny and others “killed the sexual "buzz."


Cocaine was characterized as a drug of power. Guys told stories about other guys using cocaine to attract girls and in some cases, trade drugs for sex. It was seen as a potentially dangerous drug that could lead to problems such as addiction, bad relationships, and debt. Cocaine was also described as performance enhancing, helping guys last a long time without orgasming, but too much, causing temporary impotence. 


Mushrooms and other hallucinogens it was agreed were not good for sex. Most guys felt that the hallucinations would be too distracting for sex.


Whistler Guys Study
Jennifer Matthews, MSc
Health Promotion Studies
University of Alberta


Demographics Risk Practices
Sex Drugs & Booze Masculinities
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