Sex, drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol can help you feel more relaxed or confident when it comes to having sex. But they can also make you take risks or do things you wouldn’t usually do. You could find yourself in a situation you can’t control or where you feel you can’t make clear decisions about sex.

Think about consent

If you or your partner is drunk or high, you may be more vulnerable or unable to communicate your boundaries properly. You might find that your partner acts differently during sex, or puts pressure on you to make different decisions.

It’s important to be clear about consent before and during sexual activity, especially when drinking or drugs are involved. Talk to your partner, when you’re both sober, about consent and boundaries

Remember, if someone’s too drunk or high to understand what’s happening, then they are not able to consent to sex. Even if they say yes verbally.

Unprotected sex

If drinking or drugs mean you have sex without a condom, or you realise the condom breaks, reduce the risks by getting emergency contraception and an STI test. Or visit a nearby sexual health clinic.

Getting support

If you’re worried about alcohol or drug use, there’s lots of information and support out there. You don’t need to talk to anyone if you don’t want to - you can read information, make a confidential phone call, text for advice or use a live chat on these sites:

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 12 August 2022