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War Council Talk Mixes Alcohol and Sex

Sex and the College was the title of Wabash College’s W.A.R. (Wabash Acts Responsibly) Council discussion Tuesday night. The council’s "Six-Pack Talk" focused on the effects of alcohol on virtually every aspect of sex.

Dr. Scott Douglas (’84) jumped straight into the topic, even as students were walking in. "I don’t really know if I want to be known as an expert on ‘sex and alcohol’," he started with a bit of a grin, "but I am informed."

"What is it that inhibits you from being a caveman and just mating with some attractive girl you find walking down the street?"

As answers were shouted to Douglas’ provocative question, the doctor took a few seconds to expand. 

"The biggest thing that stops you is inhibition," he explained as he displayed a Powerpoint picture of a scale, "It’s your inhibition that makes you control your attraction; and it’s alcohol that tips the scale in favor of attraction. Alcohol makes you myopic, short sighted, you only concentrate on what’s happening now opposed to thinking about long-term consequences."

It is true that laws tend to discourage such caveman behavior. But Douglas also explained the consequences of unplanned pregnancies — the issues of child-support money and unnecessary guilt. Social, cultural, and religious norms tend to come into play; as well as morals, sexually transmitted diseases, and respect for the sexual partner.

He presented a parody of the Master Card commercials. Students laughed as they were read events leading up to an alcohol-fueled "hook up." However, the lighthearted chuckles turned into cries of shock and horror when an image of a man infected with herpes was presented as the final slide.

"This can definitely happen," warned Douglas, "do you think the $60 worth of drinks is worth a lifetime of this?" The crowd was quiet.

Douglas offered a rapid fire list of facts and statistics: Each year, there are 400,000 reports of unprotected sex and 70,000 cases of sexual assault. Relating directly to alcohol’s effect on sex, 75 percent of men and 53 percent of women are under the influence of alcohol during a date rape. Douglas hammered those points home when he said, "Men can be dangerous when they are under the influence. Women at other schools are warned that intoxicated men are more likely to push for sex and bring about negative sexual relations."

Students digested more cautions thrown their way. A list of long-term negative sexual effects including depression, decreased libido, and decreased testosterone hammered the point home. 

But, not all is gloom and doom with alcohol. "We don’t go around telling people that alcohol is good for them," Douglas laughed, "but studies prove that a moderate consumption of alcohol actually helps heart rate and blood circulation. Responsibility and proper use are key."

Douglas concluded his presentation with some helpful tips to avoid problems with alcohol. Specifically, he told students to set limits and stick to them. After a round of questions, Coach Robert Johnson (H ’77), addressed the audience. "How many of you have daughters? Better, how many of you have sisters?"

Hands rose in the classroom.

"Now think of them being around a very intoxicated man. Not very pleasant, right?"  The room concurred.

Tim Closson ’09 said it was a good presentation; old material in a new light might help some people get the message.

Members of the W.A.R. Council were happy to see a more diverse turnout for the evening. "People from houses that haven’t been coming out are finally showing up and so are some new independents, it’s great," said W.A.R. Council President Jake Surface ’11.

Wabash’s W.A.R. Council has one more scheduled speaker for its "6-Pack Series." Next Wednesday will be "The ABCs of BAC." Based on the success of the series, the council plans to present a similar series next fall. "Savor the Flavor" will be a series of presentations in which faculty discuss how to exercise responsibility with alcohol and other substances.

Photos by Alex Moseman '11