Combining caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol can lead to risky sex for college students, new research suggests.
The study of 648 students, published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, found 29 percent of sexually active participants said they had alcohol mixed with energy drinks in the past month. During their most recent sexual encounter, about 45 percent had a casual partner, 44 percent said they did not use a condom, and 25 said they were drunk, according to HealthDay.
Those who said they drank alcohol mixed with energy drinks were more likely to have casual sex and/or to be intoxicated during their most recent sexual encounter, the study found. Consuming alcohol and energy drinks did not affect the rate at which students used a condom during their most recent sexual encounter.
Lead researcher Kathleen E. Miller of the University of Buffalo said the findings suggest alcohol and energy drink mixes may play a role in the “hook-up culture” on many campuses.
“Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication,” Miller said in a university news release. She added that energy drinks mixed with alcohol “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.”