It's a big stereotype – intoxicated people at a party, shuffling off to do something they'll regret later. It makes for many a made-for-TV drama. And it also, according to studies, makes for many a real-life walk of shame.
The finding: An increase in blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.1 mg/ml leads to a 5 percent increase in the likelihood of having sex without using a condom. And as BAC rises, so does that likelihood [source: Rehm]. But here's the thing: This didn't come from just one study of risky behavior. This was a meta-analysis of 12 other studies of risky behavior that had already been done. Figuring out that intoxication makes you more likely to do something foolish seems to be a hot topic.
The good news is, after adjusting for publication bias, the increase in risky behavior turns out to be a little smaller than originally thought – 2.9 percent with a 0.1 mg/ml increase. But it's still there. And it still goes up along with rising BAC.
On the one hand, it's important for researchers to have a good sense of how people are behaving, especially when it comes to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But on the other hand, this is one we knew all along.