Boom, boom, BOOM! You wake with a start, your poor head pounding, mad cottonmouth and the sickeningly sweet taste of Jaeger still on your lips. What the fuck happened? The wrinkled Trojan wrapper next to the bed sends the events of last night back into your head with a dizzying force – the cheery music, champagne, mistletoe, ice luge shots, kissing, fumbling with buttons, more kissing – shit. You had sex, and you didn’t mean to. Fucking holiday parties.

Liquor is an essential component of the holidays. Whether you’re kicking back some eggnog with Grandma or kneeling at the ice luge with your roomies, this season is all about hitting the bottle. At holiday parties past, I have been known to teeter under the mistletoe, downing hot cocoa laced with Peppermint Schnapps and demanding Christmas gifts of Jaeger and pineapple juice from my friends.

The relationship between the holiday season and liquor is akin to that of priests and little boys – both have seemingly innocent origins, but more often than not, sex is thrown in the mix and the combination becomes downright wrong. So this holiday season, I propose a toast… with sparkling cider. Put down the booze and experience sex stone cold sober.

Every weekend, people gorge themselves on alcohol before stumbling out their front door, finding their way to some party and hooking up with a fellow I.V. stud. Drunken sex usually includes a plethora of side effects from the booze. Men fall short and women dry up, while both will their stubborn bodies to cooperate. Your sexual desire rises with each sip. Each face becomes blurrier and more attractive, while your ability to perform grows sloppy and amateurish. Alcohol also dulls your senses, making sex less pleasurable, and also tends to lower inhibitions – and standards – so that you can be tricked into having sex with some obnoxious fug bug. All of this and not to mention you might be too sloshed to remember a condom and end up with a late period or a gnarly STI. According to statistics from our very own Sexual Health Interns, at least one out of five college students abandon safe sex practices when they’re drinking, even those of us who protect ourselves when we’re sober. So if lots of us are getting drunk and fucking and not protecting ourselves, it won’t be too long before Isla Vista is one big cesspool of herpes and Chlamydia. Sexy. So why does the trend of drunk sex continue to thrive in our community?

Our generation is a bunch of pussies. It’s scary to admit liking someone when you’re sober, but it’s a lot scarier waking up and realizing you don’t remember having sex at all. I have on multiple occasions witnessed a friend saying “we slept together” then hurriedly adding “but I was so wasted” and glancing around to make sure no one heard. Heaven forbid we actually like sex, and want to do it when we’re – gasp – sober enough to enjoy it! When two people have sex soberly, the immediate implication is that they are seriously dating, or are just big sluts. Alcohol has become a crutch, causing an altered state that “makes” us hump each other, because if you blame your sexual libido on alcohol, no one can accuse you of being easy. Try dating someone casually where everything is not centered on partying and booty calls, and you will be able to enjoy each other’s company and have great sex, without it being too serious, scary or overwhelming.

Also, the social scene is seeping with alcohol every weekend, so how do you meet someone without being completely hammered? Try the institution we are here for – school! The library is a great place to chat up potential hook-ups. That way you can get a sober look at their physical assets, their conversational skills and a peek at their work to gauge their intelligence. Isla Vista eateries during daylight hours are also breeding grounds for good-looking people.

So this New Year’s, celebrate by relying only on your bodies and minds for pleasure, and at midnight, the crowds won’t be the only people screaming.