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09th Apr 2016

Sex could be the best way to sober up, so you may as well give it a go

Sex fixes everything

Matt Tate

We all know the feeling.

You’ve been at the pub for more hours than you care to count, and 10 rounds in, it hits you like a train. You fall in your front door and lunge towards the fridge for anything that might soak up some of the booze. The best medicine, as you have always understood it, is stodge, grease, and fat.

But it turns out that there might be a more effective, and arguably more enjoyable way of sobering up than shoving half a bag of undercooked chips down your gullet: sex.

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You heard right. According to a study by the University of Sydney, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned shag to get you back on track after one too many.

The experiment involved giving rats various doses of oxytocin, also known as the ‘cuddle-chemical’, which is particularly active in the body when engaging in social interaction and sexual behaviour.

As reported by The New Statesman, some of the rats had injections of oxytocin into their brains that were 150,000 times stronger than what would typically be found there. They were then given alcohol to test the effects on coordination.


Miraculously, the hormone injection prevented the alcohol from infiltrating parts of the brain that cause its intoxicating effects.

The rats that were given the alcohol, but not the oxytocin, didn’t fare so well. They appeared heavily sedated, presumably after starting fights with one another and passionately declaring their love for an ex-ratfriend.

“Alcohol impairs your coordination by inhibiting the activity of brain regions that provide fine motor control,” said Dr Michael Bowen, lead author on the study.

“Oxytocin prevents this effect to the point where we can’t tell from their behaviour that the rats are actually drunk. It’s a truly remarkable effect.”


Sex isn’t a flawless sobering tool, however. If you’ve had way too much to drink, the oxytocin is unable to work its magic, and although the hormone might you feel less drunk, it doesn’t get rid of the alcohol in your system.

Dr Bowen added: “While oxytocin might reduce your level of intoxication, it won’t actually change your blood alcohol level.

“This is because the oxytocin is preventing the alcohol from accessing the sites in the brain that make you intoxicated, it is not causing the alcohol to leave your system any faster.”

There is a very important reason for this research. Even more important than encouraging more people to get it on. The Sydney scientists hope their findings could prompt the development of new oxytocin-based treatments for alcohol-use disorders.