Study author Kathleen E. Miller, senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions in New York state, said the study findings seem to indicate that alcohol mixed with energy drinks might play a role in the "hook-up culture" that exists on many college campuses.
"Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional over-drinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication," Miller said in a statement. "Alcohol mixed with energy drinks have stronger priming effects than alcohol alone. In other words, they increase the craving for another drink, so that you end up drinking more overall."
Casual or intoxicated sex can increase the risk of unwanted outcomes, such as unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault and depression, Miller said.
Participants in the study were more likely to use a condom during sex with a casual partner than during sex with a steady partner, consistent with previous research, but a steady or committed partner is a less risky prospect than a casual partner whose sexual history is unknown, Miller said, so a condom might not feel as necessary.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the print edition of Journal of Caffeine Research and are available online.