Ozy Frantz started a nice conversation about whether "drunk sex" is rape. Since the possible cases under discussion range from one or both parties having only half a glass of wine all the way over to both parties are incompetently black-out drunk I thought I'd reiterate my position.
As for the “tipsy” vs. “drunk” vs. “wasted” distinctions, my hard and fast rule is “if someone is drink enough for you to ask for their keys because they’re too drunk to realize they shouldn’t drive then they’re also too drunk for meaningful consent.
Similarly if you’re drunk enough to realize you shouldn’t drive then you’re also drunk enough to realize you shouldn’t try to accurately determine whether someone else is consenting.
Either way, that’s where I draw line between “tipsy” and “drunk.” It’s also the point where red flags ought to start going up for a) one’s self, b) one’s prospective paramours, and c) friends, onlookers, family members, and especially hosts and bartenders.
I say “especially bartenders” in part I used to be a bartender. In a college town. Where “spinning” drunk women into “consent” was all too often considered par for the course rather than what it actually was.
Which, incidentally, is exactly why “but I do that so it can’t be rape” is such a dire total fucking bullshit metric. As is, incidentally, “but everybody does that so it can’t be rape.” Because you know what… it sure as shooting can be. Not always. Not necessarily. But, yeah, you hear someone say anything like that and it should send up a big red flag.