College Presidents Urge Debate Around Legal Drinking Age

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Last month, 100 college and university presidents urged debate around the legal drinking age. Read more to see how this impacts your sexual health.

Last month, 100 college and university presidents urged that the debate around the legal drinking age be re-opened and re-examined, suggesting that illegal, underground drinking by college students may result in more binge drinking and unsafe behaviors.

Of course, alcohol use can influence a variety of sexual behaviors too. In low doses, it may lower inhibitions and contribute to pleasurable sex. However, at higher levels (which can vary from person to person), alcohol use can impair sexual arousal and contribute to difficulties with erections and vaginal lubrication. Alcohol use is also involved in a large proportion of sexual assault and rape cases.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Weighs In

Joining the debate is Mothers Against Drunk Driving – representatives from whom, in this Boston Globe piece, cite the dangers of irresponsible drinking behavior. Student newspapers are joining in on the discussion too – as an example, Yale Herald writer Vivian Nereim discusses how her school handles student-related drinking with a “Safety First” policy that encourages students to bring inebriated friends to the health center without penalty.

Of note, a decade ago in 1998, Indiana University professor Dr. Ruth Engs published a thought piece on this very issue, which can be read on her IU web page. At this writing, according to the Indiana Daily Student newspaper, IU president Dr. Michael McRobbie has not joined those college and university presidents on the open letter.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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