Catherine Townsend: Sleeping around

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I met Nick, a very cute lawyer, at a dinner party that descended into drunken debauchery when someone suggested we play strip poker. Once the tequila started flowing, we all climbed into the host's hot tub and started singing show tunes. I remember "losing" my hand of cards - followed quickly by my bra - and flirting outrageously by baring my breast while someone snapped a photo on their phone. Nick and I kissed, but I ended up passing out on the sofa, alone and, apparently, drooling into a pillow.

"It may already be too late," I told Victoria after detailing my night with Nick. "How can I retain my dignity when I'm worried about whether he's got my nipple on his mobile?" Alcohol plays a vital role in my courtship rituals, which is why my signature dirty martini so often lives up to its name. Vodka makes me feel tactile, horny, and warm all over - not to mention that my inhibitions about my figure largely disappear. Nights out tend to be a staple of new relationships, and since they are the only kind I've been having lately, most of my sexual encounters have been under the influence. But it's a delicate balance, because too much booze desensitises my body, and my good sense. I could be in bed with Brad Pitt, but coming from oral sex after I've consumed more than four cocktails would still be about as likely as finding a unicorn in his closet.

Drunken sex can also put pressure on men, who may find it difficult to rise to the occasion after a night of clubbing and hitting the bottle. "I was on a date with a girl I liked a lot, but the combination of nerves and booze meant that I just wilted," said a friend of mine. "It was mortifying."

So when Nick called, I apologised for my drunken ramblings. "Don't worry, we were all a bit hammered," he said, before laughing off the incident and asking me to dinner. Instead, I gently suggested that we rent a movie to watch at his flat.

Most of my friends abstain from alcohol in January, but since my relatives visit then, I schedule my pre-Christmas detox for before the party season starts. Often, my detox turns into a he-tox too, since for me alcohol is a sexual as well as social lubricant. Initiating sober sex with a first-time partner can be a bit intimidating. I was a bit nervous, but I wanted him to know the real me. Hopefully, he wouldn't bale out once he realised that my wild nymphomaniac side is a permanent presence, not just someone who emerges after several cocktails.

We watched Swimming Pool, until the part where the hot French chick is swimming topless, and then he kissed me. Every nerve ending was on fire as we started necking, and when he undressed me and I straddled him on his couch I revelled in being able to feel absolutely everything. I had multiple orgasms that night, partly because there was nothing to numb my nether regions. So from now on I'm going to be more mindful of looking after my liver as well as I do my lovers. Now, if I could just wean myself off the urge for a post-coital cigarette...

c.townsend@independent.co.uk

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