- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The naughty cachet of “Girls Gone Wild” - inebriated coeds on spring break - lost its luster on Monday. That naughty cachet is a myth, essentially.

“When it comes to drinking, college men are not looking for the girl gone wild,” said a new study from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

That’s not what the girls think, however. Most are under the impression that their male friends are more attracted to girls who have had a few, and then some.

“Our research suggests women believe men find excessive drinking sexually attractive and appealing, but it appears this is a giant misperception,” said lead author Joseph LaBrie, an associate professor of psychology at the campus.

His study, based on a survey of 3,616 students at his own school and the University of Washington, found that 71 percent of the girls overestimated the amount of alcohol that the typical college man hoped his girlfriend or date would consume. More than a fourth - 26 percent - thought the menfolk wanted their female companions to consume five drinks or more.

That was not the case.

“Both estimates were nearly double what the men actually preferred,” said the study, which was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, an academic journal of the American Psychological Association.

The young women drank “in pursuit of intimate relationships and positive attention from their male peers,” the research found. It recommended that college campuses and public health organizations develop distinctly “female-targeted interventions” to reverse the trend.

“There is a great, and risky, disconnect here between the sexes,” said Mr. LaBrie. “While not all women may be drinking simply to get a guy´s attention, this study may help explain why more women are drinking at dangerous levels.”

They’re also drinking more.

“Although traditionally, men drink more than women, research has shown that women have steadily been drinking more and more over the last several decades,” Mr. LaBrie said.

Indeed, the feminine alcohol factor is on the increase, according to a number of sources.

Binge drinking is up 22 percent in college women - double the increase in men, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Women typically consume 10 drinks a day during their spring-break festivities, said another study by the Journal of American College Health.

Harvard University’s School of Public Health issued a caution to women in October, noting that women were far more vulnerable to alcohol than men because of their metabolism and physical makeup - advising that men should have no more than two drinks a day, women just one.

Are they listening? Well, maybe not.

When police broke up a recent party for 1,100 in a Florida bar organized by the “Girls Gone Wild” video production company, half of the eight arrests made that night were women.

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