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Why ‘Beer Goggles’ Work Better for Women Than Men

New research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology confirms that alcohol removes sexual inhibitions, but also shows that it could have more of an effect on women.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Foto von k.ivoutin via Flickr

Sure, scientists may have debunked "beer goggles" as a myth, but we know from the questionable Tinder date whose cargo shorts seem to become less of an issue with each round of margaritas—as well as every drunken snog in every sticky floored uni club ever—that drinking alcohol makes people more attractive.

And it seems our inebriated suspicions may be right. According to new research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) and published in the Psychopharmacology journal, drinking alcohol does remove inhibitions surrounding sex.


Lead by researchers in Switzerland, the study saw 30 volunteers aged between 18 and 50 down half a litre of alcohol, while another 30 drank non-alcoholic beer. The participants then performed a range of tasks, including a face recognition test, an empathy test, and sexual arousal test.

READ MORE: Scientists Claim 'Beer Goggles' Aren't Actually a Thing

The participants who had consumed beer found it easier to view explicit sexual images and were more attracted to happy faces and social situations.

The study's lead researcher Professor Matthias Liechti explained: "Although many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience, there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information. We found that drinking a glass of beer helps people see happy faces faster, and enhances concern for positive emotional situations."

While alcohol improved social responses, the researchers found it had no effect on levels of sexual arousal.

Liechti continued: "Alcohol also facilitates the viewing of sexual images, consistent with disinhibition, but it does not actually enhance sexual arousal. These effects of alcohol on social cognition likely enhance sociability."

READ MORE: Having a Few Drinks Makes You More Attractive to Others

Interestingly, the study also showed that the beer goggle effect was more pronounced in women than men. This could be for a number of reasons.

Former chairman of the ECNP Scientific Programme Committee, Professor Wim van den Brink, said: "The sex differences in the findings can either be explained by differences in blood alcohol concentration between males and females with the same alcohol intake, differences in tolerance due to differences in previous levels of alcohol consumption, or by socio-cultural factors."

All the more reason to get that next round of margaritas in.