"Beer goggles" are real, and there's a study to prove it

Sep 20 2016, 4:54 am

Humans have known anecdotally for centuries that “beer goggles” – that is, the lowering of sexual inhibitions and perception by drinking alcohol – existed, but now there’s a study to prove it.

Swiss researchers from the University Hospital, Basel took 60 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 50 and, well, got half of them tipsy with beer. The other half were given non-alcoholic beer as a control, and then both groups were asked to perform a variety of tests, including face recognition, empathy, and sexual arousal.

As it turns out, beer makes it easier for people, especially women, to view sexually explicit images and it lowers their inhibitions.

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“Although many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information,” says Professor Matthias Liechti with the University Hospital Basel in a release.

“We found that drinking a glass of beer helps people see happy faces faster, and enhances concern for positive emotional situations. Alcohol also facilitates the viewing of sexual images, consistent with disinhibition, but it does not actually enhance sexual arousal.”

So basically, beer makes you randy, but it doesn’t do anything for your, er, performance.

The difference between the sexes, says Professor Wim van den Brink, past chair of the ECNP Scientific Programme Committee, might be explained by alcohol tolerance and blood alcohol differences between men and women.

“It should also be recognized that different effects of alcohol can be seen according to whether your blood alcohol is increasing or decreasing, and of course how much alcohol you have taken,” he says.

The results of the study were presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Conference in Vienna and was also published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Lauren SundstromLauren Sundstrom

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