Want a Drink? Try Sex Instead

Researchers found that addictive behaviors can be quelled with sex (at least in fruit flies).

So say you’re a guy, and you’re in a bar, surrounded by hot-looking babes, and you keep trying out your best lines on them, and the ladies keep shooting you down. Would you drink more than your buddy who managed to score?

Why yes, you would, assuming you were both fruit flies.

That’s the conclusion of fruit-fly scientists at the University of California San Francisco, who set up an entomological Ladder 15 in their lab. They exposed male fruit flies to females who didn’t respond to their advances. After a few days of this, the males were more likely to choose food that contained alcohol than were males who’d had sex. The researchers went a step further, identifying a chemical in the teeny-tiny fruit-fly brains that regulated this behavior, known as neuropeptide F. The less sex the flies had, the less neuropeptide F was present in their brains, and the more likely they were to imbibe.

Bully for fruit flies, you say? Aha, as it turns out, human brains produce a similar chemical, neuropeptide Y, that helps regulate stress and anxiety but may also be a factor in addictive behaviors. And conceivably, this substance could, when out of whack, have similar effects on the human drive to drink.

So if you’re drinking too much, figure out a way to get laid more. It can’t hurt, and it may even help.