Ever Wonder Why Beer Goggles Happen?

I’d always assumed that the reason that the reason for beer goggles (thinking someone is super hot when you’re drunk) was simply because alcohol lowers inhibitions, so you’re more likely to have sex with someone who you might not want to be with when you’re sober. But it turns out to be more complex than that.

In general, people find symmetrical faces more attractive. So when scientists went to a bar and asked people to rate how attractive they found a series, of photographs:

The sober students had a greater preference for symmetrical faces than did the intoxicated students. And it turned out that the sober students were better at detecting whether a face was symmetrical.

What’s more, the data suggest that men were less prone to losing their symmetry-detecting ability when intoxicated than women, which was unexpected, Halsey said. The difference probably has something to do with the tendency for men to be more visually oriented and more stimulated by what they see, he said.

Of course, we’ll need more research to really figure out what’s going on. But this does shed some interesting light on what’s happening. And it sure sounds like a lot more fun to be a research participant than most experiments call for.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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