“Beer Goggles” Can Increase Straight People’s Attraction to the Same Sex

May 8, 2017 by Justin Lehmiller


Alcohol has the power to change not only the way we see ourselves, but also the way we see other people. Indeed, research has found that when we drink, we have a tendency to rate ourselves and the people around us as more attractive than we otherwise would if we were sober. Both of these are manifestations of the so-called “beer goggles” phenomenon. A new study published in The Journal of Social Psychology suggests that beer goggles might have at least one other interesting effect: alcohol also seems to increase straight people’s interest in having a same-sex experience.

This study is the subject of my latest column over at TONIC and, basically, what it reveals is that the more alcohol heterosexually-identified men and women consume, the more willing they say they are to engage in sexual activities with an attractive person of the same sex. We’re talking quite a few drinks before they start to express substantial interest, though. In other words, one or two drinks barely moves the needle–they need to be pretty loaded for this effect to occur. So why is that? It has a lot to do with the fact that alcohol lowers our inhibitions. In doing so, alcohol creates an opportunity for attractions and desires that people might otherwise hide to emerge.

Check out the full article over at TONIC for all the details of the study. While you’re over there, check out some of my other recent articles on sex and health here.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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