A recent University of Otago study has confirmed that students aren’t the only ones waking up with Sunday morning woes. The study, conducted by Otago’s Jennie Connor, shows that adverse affects from drinking alcohol still occur as New Zealanders approach middle age.
The study researched the sex and alcohol habits of 38 year olds as part of a project tracking the progress of more than 1000 people born in Dunedin in 1972–3.
Of those surveyed, eight percent of males and 15 percent of females said that they usually, or always, drank alcohol before having sex. Twenty percent of men and 16 percent of women said they had never done so.
14 percent of men and 12 percent of women also reported adverse impacts of drinking before sex in the last 12 months; these included either regretting the sex or failing to use contraception.
“This is a cohort of adults who have been exposed to high levels of alcohol consumption among their age group when they were growing up,” said Connor, “and some patterns of behaviour have persisted.”
Connor said “many report not using condoms or contraception when it was appropriate to do so, due to their own or their partner’s drinking at the time”.
The study also showed that heavily drinking at least once a week was more common in New Zealanders at 38 years of age than it had been at 26.
Men and women with this drinking pattern were shown to be more likely to have sex that they regretted, with the most common regret being who they had slept with.
Connor said the study shows “that it is quite common for people to still mix drinking and sex in their thirties”.
Connor added that “this is a phenomenon that needs to be taken into account by service providers” for people in this age group too.