How Does Sex Change When You’re Sober?

Tipsy sex is the norm for many of us, especially on a first or second date. Do you feel like you have to be drunk to get intimate with a new person? If you do, you’re not alone.

Whether it’s with casual hook-ups or long-term partners, having sober sex after a period of drunk sex can be nerve-wracking. But sober sex can also be a powerfully transformative and pleasurable emotional and sensual experience.

Back on woman lying in bed in darkened room

‘Why do I have to be drunk to be intimate?’

Alcohol, while acting as a depressant to our nervous systems, essentially numbing sensation, simultaneously loosens inhibitions and makes us detached from emotions, including anxiety.

Why do so many of us feel like we need to be drinking alcohol to feel good, have a fun first date or go home with someone at the end of the night?

Sex makes us all vulnerable. Real sex isn’t like the sex we see in movies. It can be awkward, embarrassing, messy, and full of pressure to look perfect, be ‘great in bed,’ and make your partner orgasm, or have one yourself - bringing insecurities to the surface.

Having tipsy sex might seem like a useful way to relax or keep anxious thoughts at bay, but it takes you out of the connective moment, mutes the experience, and prevents you from facing and overcoming issues that let you enjoy a more fulfilling sex life.

After a period of alcohol-inspired encounters, what does sober sex feel like? Here are some things you may experience during your first intimate sober encounter and why it’s worth it. 

Intimate couple embracing in bed

5 Powerful Ways Sex Can Change When You’re Sober

You might feel nervous at the start, and that’s okay.

Going from tipsy to sober sex might not be easy at the start. It may feel awkward. You may feel self-conscious or have to pause and talk things through with your partner. These are normal.

We often hide behind alcohol and let it do the work for us. Without it, you are the only one facing your insecurities. This can make many aspects of dating and sex, like flirting, eye contact, undressing, and initiating, scary but completely worthwhile in the long run.

You might be blown away by sensation, and definitely have more fun.

Being inebriated numbs sensation and your recollection of the night may be a blur of clothes, hands and condoms.

In contrast, having sex sober lets you feel every thrilling, romantic, and sexy sensation - magnified. It will make sex more spiritual, emotional, and sensual.

You can expect more intense and varied orgasms and a heightened awareness of every stroke, gasp, and contraction. Sound good?

You will rediscover your sexuality and try new things.

Being more intentional during sober sex puts you in touch with your own mind, body, and pleasure, and how they relate.

You will learn which touches, positions, dynamics, kinks, and toys you really enjoy.

You may even discover a new sexual orientation as you gain the confidence to try things outside your comfort zone and get in touch with deeper parts of yourself.

Woman meditating at home on bed

You will experience greater emotional connection and communication.

Having intentional sober sex is all about honesty. It makes you confront needs, desires, and discomforts and communicate them with your partner.

With more self-awareness and open communication comes emotional closeness and a deep, shared understanding.

In working on authenticity, you will develop skills like conflict resolution and empathy, leading to healthier and happier relationships in the long run.

If you need to, you can start to heal. 

As well as opening your body to a new world of sensation, having sex sober will also open your mind.

Having sex while drunk lets us avoid problems, whether that’s self-confidence, intimacy, past trauma, or another personal struggle.

Sober sex forces you to face those fears, communicate and work through them, developing sex and body positivity, among other things. You’ll learn courage and grow from authentic communication and fulfilment.

If you’re on a healing journey, it might take some time and will surprise you. But what you discover about your body and yourself will be satisfying on so many levels.

Your relationship with alcohol is unique to you, and you should always consult a doctor for professional medical advice.

When enjoyed responsibly, inebriation isn't all bad. Unfortunately, it’s commonly used to escape from, not focus on, the present moment.

Happy woman moving in bed

Allowing yourself to feel whatever you feel, inside and outside the bedroom, is daunting but oh-so fulfilling.

Sober sex can awaken you and show you a world of increased pleasure, understanding, and intimacy. One step at a time.