Alcohol use, especially binge drinking, can lead to risky sexual behaviors. What makes these behaviors risky to the individuals is they may result in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It increases the risk for STDs in three ways through multiple partners, unprotected sex (sex without a condom), and combining additional substances with alcohol and sexual activities.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which means that both men and women are more likely to engage in casual sexual behaviors that they would not otherwise do if they were sober. Heavy drinkers are also more likely to have multiple partners, increasing the risk for HIV transmission and STDs. Finally, alcohol can also impair an individual’s immune system, making it harder to fight off an STD. This is why Destinations for Teens takes alcohol abuse disorder so seriously. Because young adults and adolescents could derail their lives.
Alcohol Use Increases the Risk of STDs
Alcohol abuse and risky sexual behaviors are common among young adult students. Many individuals report having consumed alcohol just prior to sex. When alcohol use plays a role in sexual encounters, negative results tend to follow. One such result is the failure to use a condom during sex. This kind of risky behavior opens individuals up to STDs as well as unwanted pregnancy.
Women who binge drink are disproportionately more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors and contract STDs when compared with men who binge drink. According to a 2009 study funded by the National Institute for Health (NIH), women binge drinkers are twice as likely to engage in anal sex when compared with women who consume alcohol but do not binge drink, and three times as likely as women who do not drink at all.
40% of women who binge drink report having multiple sex partners. Contrast this with only 16.8 percent of women who do not binge drink. Gonorrhea is five times higher among women who binge drink when compared with women who do not drink at all. Also, while men who drink engage in risky sexual behaviors, their level of consumption did not affect their risk in the same way.
Alcohol and Sexual Assault
Alcohol is also a factor in sexual assault. At least half of all college sexual assault involves alcohol. In 81% of sexual assaults, both the victim and perpetrator had consumed alcohol. Additionally, when alcohol is involved in sexual assault, victims are less likely to consider the experience ‘rape’, according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois. Monitoring alcohol use or avoiding alcohol altogether can reduce the risk of engaging in risky sexual behaviors.