As you move through your teenage years you are likely to be exposed to drugs and alcohol at some point. Although it seems fun at the time, mixing drugs and alcohol with sex can influence the way you think and the decisions you make. Your ability to make safe decisions about sex is reduced and you can put yourself at risk of unwanted sex, sexual assault, STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
A person is not legally able to consent to sex when they are so drunk or high that they don't really know what is going on. Alcohol and drugs can cloud your judgement and you might say 'yes' to something that you don't really want to do or might not have done if you were sober.
If a person is drunk or high they may fail to use a condom properly, decide it's OK or safe not to use one or just completely forget to use a condom at all. This increases the risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
Part of the challenge of being a young person is learning to know and understand your limits with alcohol or drugs and to try to behave in a way that allows you to stay true to your own boundaries, values and beliefs.
If you choose to drink alcohol or consume drugs keep these tips in mind to help keep you safe:
Decide on what you want from your night, and what you're willing to do, and make sure you don't get so wasted that you lose control of your plan.
- To avoid drink spiking don't leave your drinks unattended or take drinks from strangers.
- If you think sex is a possibility, then take some condoms with you just in case.
- Use condoms if you are sexually active.
- Make sure that any sexual activity you engage in is consensual.
- Drink water before, during and after consuming alcohol and other drugs to avoid dehydration.
- When you're out, make sure you're with trusted friends, and look out for each other.
- Don't be alone with someone who is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Say "no" if you want to.
- If you are out, make sure that you have a lift home with someone you know and trust. Never get in a car with someone you don't know or with a driver who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
If you think or know that you had unprotected sex (sex without a condom or dental dam) you can call the Sexual Health Helpline (Perth metropolitan callers 9227 6178, country callers 1800 198 205). If you think or know that you may have been sexually assaulted, you can contact the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (9340 1828 or free call on 1800199 888) for help and advice.
Most people enjoy going out for a good time and it can be sometimes be hard to avoid the pressure or the temptation of alcohol and other drugs, if everyone around you is using them. It's common to experiment with alcohol and other drugs in certain environments and at events, like the school ball, music festivals and Leavers. These environments can often be unpredictable so it's important to take appropriate measures to ensure your safety like using condoms if you decide to have sex and sticking with your friends.
If you are thinking about having sex
The most important thing to remember is to carry condoms. This goes for guys and girls. Use them for vaginal, anal and oral sex. You also need to be able to talk with your partner about using them –- this may seem embarrassing at the time but it's worth it. Check out the tips to safer sex communication.
Condoms are the ONLY form of contraception that protect against STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
Also, ask yourself if you are really ready for sex. Although certain events like the school ball and Leavers might feel like the perfect time, it's just one night. Non-penetrative sex, like kissing, stroking and mutual masturbation, can be just as much fun and is a whole lot safer.
Have a look at the Drug Aware website (external site) for more information.