Science Says "Beer Goggles" Are a Myth

By Bryan Le 03/04/13

A brain expert says booze increases our desire, but doesn't alter who we find attractive.

Time to stop blaming the beer. Photo via

It's time to stop blaming your sexual decisions on "beer goggles," because scientists now say they don't exist. The beer goggles theory tells us that after knocking back a few drinks, average-looking people morph into dazzling demigods begging for our undivided attention. But this is not the case, says Dr. Amanda Ellison, senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Durham University. “We still see others basically as they are,” she explains. “There is no imagined physical transformation—just more desire.” No matter how much you drink, she says, you'll have passed out long before alcohol even comes close to impairing the parts of the brain that determine who we want to take to bed. Our sexual desire is locked down deep in our “reptilian” brain, the oldest part of our genetic code, which means we have only our own desires to blame for our decisions. “Alcohol switches off the rational and decision making areas of the brain while leaving the areas to do with sexual desire relatively intact,” says Ellison. So our urges don't actually change, we are just more likely to act on them.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter