College men don’t find excessive drinking by women to be appealing. That’s contrary to what most college women falsely think. In short, intoxicated women aren’t attractive or appealing to college men. That’s the finding of research among 3,616 college students.
Seven of ten women (71%) overestimated the amount of alcohol that the typical college man hoped his date drank. Over one-fourth (26%) though men wanted their dates to consume five or more drinks.
Women commonly drank “in pursuit of intimate relationships and positive attention from their male peers.” “There is a great, and risky, disconnect here between the sexes,” said researcher Dr. Joseph LaBrie. Of course, not all women are drinking simply to get a guy´s attention. However, he said “this study may help explain why more women are drinking at dangerous levels.”
Alcohol is Sexist
It’s important to know that alcohol has more effect on women than men. This is true even of men and women of the same height and weight. Have them drink the same amount of alcohol in the same period of time. The women will have a much higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than the men.
There are two reasons for this. First, women have a higher proportion of body fat than men. Fat cannot absorb alcohol. So alcohol is concentrated at higher levels in their blood. Second, women have less of a gastric enzyme that breaks down alcohol before it can enter the bloodstream. Thus, women absorb up to nearly 30% more alcohol into their bloodstream.
Of course, women are usually smaller and lighter than men. This also increases their BAC even more
The message is clear. Women should never try to “keep up” with men in the amoun they drink.
Other Misperceptions are Common
These findings are consistent with extensive research on other topics. For example, over 25 studies show that students greatly overestimate the proportion of students who drink. Also the quantity and frequency of that drinking, and the degree to which they approve of heavy consumption.
Thus, students tend to drink or to drink more than they prefer. That’s because of their false perceptions of the behavior and beliefs of their peers. They want to “fit in.”
The social norms marketing approach reduces alcohol misperceptions. First, officials make credible surveys of actual alcohol consumption on campus. Then the results are widely promoted or “marketed.” As a result, the extent of drinking drops.
Implications of this Study
The current study suggests that the value of correcting womens’ misperceptions about mens’ views of womens’ drinking. Doing that would tend to lower drinking levels.
See social norms marketing to learn more about the effects of correcting misperceptions.
The report appears in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
Resources: Intoxicated Women aren’t Attractive
Engs, R. Women, Alcohol and Drugs. Eugene, OR: Res Pub, 2006.
Johnston, A. Drink: Women and Alcohol. London: Fourth, 2015.
LaBrie, J. et al. What men want. Psych Add Behav, 2009, 23(1), 157-162.
Staddon, P. Women and Alcohol: Social Perspectives. Bristol: Policy, 2016.