Drinking and sex go together like fine wine, a roaring fire, and two naked bodies; like a pitcher of beer, you, and that guy you barely noticed earlier at the other end of the bar who suddenly seems so desirable; like the morning after and that urgent early appointment you suddenly must rush off to attend.

Ah, the romance of it all. Clinking glasses, a gentle toast followed by that thing you do when you twist your arms around each other to take a drink, slurring slutty little suggestions into each other’s ears. Then going home and boffing before you pass out.

Or puke.

A friend of mine recalls the time she ended up picking up a guy after initially fending him off by telling him she was a lesbian. It must have been her suave approach. “I was basically humping his leg. What do you want after a dozen tequila shots?”

She took him back to her friend’s place where they did it. She got up, threw up, brushed her teeth (very conscientious, I thought) then jumped back in bed and went at ‘er again. They went several rounds that night -- heaved, humped, heaved, humped... Even though she didn’t remember much of the evening, she’ll never forget it. “The thing that struck me most about it afterwards” she told me, “was why someone would have wanted to have sex with me in that state. I mean, sure, I brushed my teeth but it couldn’t have been too pretty.”

But it seems things really do look prettier after a few. Apparently, according to one of the very few studies on the topic (done in Scotland, of course) study on the topic, alcohol stimulates the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that decides if we find someone attractive. Why else would you feel compelled to pick up a 23-year-old (“I’m old enough to be his mother...that’s embarrassing enough,” wrote the reader who sent in this story) and beat his balls with a flogger only to run into him (“or at least I think it was him”) the next day on the bus…with his girlfriend?

Or flee a one-night-stand’s place without bothering to put your tights and underwear back on under your skirt only to have your male roommate bring them in the next morning because you dropped them on the front porch on your stumble in, as another inebriated friend of a friend once did?

Ah, booze, that wonderful “social lubricant,” K-Y for the mind, if you like. A little social lube and insecurities, judgment, motor skills, and that nasty grip on reality just slip away. It’s beautiful, really. There are advantages to this. It increases your odds of getting laid, for example. Because, as the Scots have now proven, once you’ve got yer beer goggles on, people you’d never think of sleeping with when you’re sober suddenly seem way hot.

Sometimes alcohol is useful to kick-start something that can’t seem to get going on its own. Call it modern dating. Why waste money on a movie or a meal? It’s so much easier to just show up at the same social function and confess your feelings in a drunken stupor at some point in the evening. Tres seductive.

Drunk sex can actually be a lot of fun sometimes, since drinking lowers inhibitions and encourages you to flaunt all your tacky porn-star aspirations (plus double vision lets you fulfill your fantasy of having a threesome when there’s only two of you.) If you’re lucky, in the morning maybe one of you will even remember how great it was.

Of course, we all know that drinking and sex don’t always mix. Sometimes the combination can be dangerous. There’s a big difference between doing something goofy and doing something against your will. And there is absolutely nothing funny about those stupid, “NO MEANS, have aNOther drink” t-shirts I’ve seen on the internet.

Also, remembering to slip on that little piece of rubber is another thing that often slips our minds when we’re drunk. “I’ll save my life next time” can seem like such rational thinking at the time.

So people, if you’re going to drink and have sex, please do it responsibly.

You’ll respect yourself a whole lot more in the morning.