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Info For Teens

Sex, Alcohol, and Other Drugs

Aside from the fact that drugs and teenage drinking are illegal, being drunk or high can interfere with a healthy sex life and a healthy relationship. Here's why.

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    What does sex have to do with alcohol and drugs?

    There are many reasons why drugs (including alcohol) and sex are a bad mix. Let's start with the physical. Drinking or doing drugs can sometimes make people want to have sex maybe that's why so many movies, TV shows, and ads make it seem like being drunk or high makes sex better. But the truth is that alcohol and many drugs can actually interfere with orgasm, and can make it difficult for guys to get erections.

    Drinking can also cause feminine breast development in men and shrinking testicles. It also increases the chances of infertility.

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    How can drugs and alcohol affect my decisions about sex?

    Having sex is a big decision that requires careful thought. Adding drugs or alcohol to the mix can cloud your judgment. In fact, nearly one-third of young adults have reported that they've "done more" sexually under the influence of alcohol and drugs than they planned while sober. If you're thinking about having sex, it's important to think about it and discuss it with your partner while sober.

    Mixing sex with alcohol or other drugs also increases the chances of unintended pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have sex when you're drunk or high, you're much less likely to be thinking clearly enough to use condoms, or use them correctly.

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    How can drugs and alcohol lead to sexual assault?

    Someone who doesn't want to have sex may be too out of it to say "no" while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It's actually against the law to have any sexual contact with a person who is incapacitated because of alcohol or drugs.

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    How can drugs and alcohol affect my relationship?

    Being drunk or high can get in the way of emotionally connecting with a sex partner.

    Maybe you or your partner is unhappy in your relationship or isn't comfortable having sex. Maybe one of you is struggling with low self-esteem, body image issues, feelings of guilt, problems at school, or family troubles. Getting drunk or high may be one way of trying to mask or cover up pain, insecurity, or mixed feelings about sex. If you feel stress or anxiety about these things, try talking with your partner about it sober.

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    How can I get help with drug and alcohol issues?

    Using drugs or alcohol can keep people from confronting their feelings and working through their problems. If you think you need help, talk to a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher, school counselor, or a religious advisor.

    If your partner's use of alcohol or other drugs has you worried, then you probably need to have a conversation about it. But before you do, it might be helpful to talk with a trusted adult first, who can help you figure out the best way to talk with your partner. An adult may also be able to help you find additional resources that help teens with alcohol and other drug problems.

    Here are some tips from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to help you talk with your partner:

    • Have your conversation when your partner is sober.
    • Let your partner know that you care and are worried.
    • Use specific examples of how your partner acts when drunk or high and how that behavior is worrisome.
    • Offer your help like the information you gathered when you asked an adult for help.
    • Be prepared for your partner to get angry during this discussion. Just let her or him know that you care and want to help.

    You can also call the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Service.



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