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Alcohol, drugs and sex

Alcohol and drugs can change your experience with sex. Everyone is different so it is important to check in with yourself and how you feel, you may make different choices when under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol and many drugs reduce inhibitions which can lead to increased sexual behaviors.  If you use alcohol and drugs, consider the following:

Know your limits: It helps to know how alcohol and drugs affect you, so you can plan ahead of time how much you will consume. If you do drugs, plan which drugs you will do, how much and how often.

Plan for sex: Even if you don’t think you will have sex, you can be prepared. Carry protection such as condoms. Even if you don’t need the condoms, a friend may need them. Consider what kinds of sex you are okay with, and what your limits are.

Take a break: If you feel you have had too much, drink some water or get some fresh air. Even if you are in the middle of sex, you can take a break or stop.

Buddy Up: Have a friend to check in with. If you leave with someone, make sure your friend knows where you are going and who you are leaving with. Keep an eye on your friends too. You can learn how to respond to an overdose to help keep your friends safe.

Know where you are: Sometimes the party moves or you are travelling in an unfamiliar place. Have a plan for how you will get home. Send a message to a friend to let them know where you are, and when you get home safely.

Trust your gut: If you feel unsafe, trust your instincts. When you use alcohol and drugs, it can be harder to detect danger. If you are not sure about a person, or suddenly feel like you are in an unsafe place, find a friend, call someone or find a safe ride home.

Don’t share supplies: Avoid sharing any equipment. If you snort, use your own straw and if you inject, use your own cooker, needle and syringe. Hepatitis C and other infections can be transmitted through blood. Clean supplies can be found at a local harm reduction site.

Consent: Meaningful, enthusiastic and ongoing consent is important for every sexual encounter. Establishing consent can be more complicated when using drugs and/or alcohol. Check-in with your partner(s) verbally and pay attention to body language and other cues. To be able to provide consent, someone must be conscious, aware, and able to remember the experience.

If you have a bad experience, find out what you can do:

AVERT.org – Drink, drugs and sex
Towards the Heart – Overdose prevention and harm reduction




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