What happens when you mix a caffeinated energy drink with alcohol? A recent study on college students shows that this may make you more inclined to have casual sex or have sex while intoxicated.

The findings of the study, which was conducted by the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) and is set to be published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, indicated that “college students who consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) were more likely to report having a casual partner and/or being intoxicated during their most recent sexual encounter,” reports MedicalNewsToday.com.

Kathleen E. Miller, one of the authors of the study and a senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo’s RIA, says that the consequence of casual or intoxicated sex is a higher risk of unwanted outcomes, which include unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, sexual assault, and depression. MedicalNewsToday.com also mentions other studies that link the combination with drunk driving, binge drinking, and fighting.

Of the 648 participants in the study, 29.3 percent reported using AmEDs in the month before the study; when asked about their last sexual encounter, 45.1 percent reported having a casual partner, 24.8 percent admitted they had been intoxicated, and 43.6 percent reported not having used a condom. It should be noted, however, that the consumption of AmEDs did not affect the participants’ likelihood to use a condom.

So why does the combination raise the risk of your doing something you might otherwise not do? “Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication,” Miller is quoted as saying. “AmEDs 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.”

So the next time you go drinking or partying with friends, you may want to stay away from the cocktails that include energy drinks in the mix. Either that, or make sure you’ve got a very good, very sober friend to help steer you in the right direction should you happen to overindulge.

(Photo by Tatyana Postovyk via sxc.hu; used for illustrative purposes only)

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