Rehab 4 Addiction

The relationship between sex and alcohol has always been a hot topic across all media circles.

The reality of the matter is that alcohol and sex pose lifelong consequences for those individuals who engage in these behaviours.

We’ve several intrinsic risks related to drug abuse, and also other serious risks involved with unprotected sex.

Many clinics and studies have confirmed that there’s a high correlation between alcohol abuse and sexually-transmitted diseases.

Alcohol influences individuals to engage in risky sexual activities when under the influence. This is because after consuming alcohol, a drinker is lulled into a state of low inhibition and high confidence, which leads them into making risky choices.

There’s a high probability of a drunk person to going home with and engage in unprotected sexual activity with a stranger, especially after drinking heavily.

What are the main risks of mixing Alcohol and Sex?

Drinking until you’re intoxicated, particularly mixing alcohol and sex puts young people at risk in several ways. This can result in long-term emotional and physical consequences.

Putting that in mind, let’s take a look at some common risks of mixing alcohol and sex.

  • Alcohol may make you forget to use a condom during sex
  • If a woman is under the influence of alcohol, she may not realise if her partner is wearing a condom or not, or if the condom breaks or slips off
  • When you’re drunk, you may not be able to consent or set limits when it comes to having sex and the type of sex
  • You may also not remember whether you had sex or not
  • Alcoholism may cause problems with your sexual performance, e.g. ejaculation and erection difficulties
  • Having sex under the influence of alcohol may make you engage in risky sexual activities that you wouldn’t consider if you were sober

Most of these risks caused by mixing alcohol and sex increase your chances of contracting various types of STDs. Anyone is at risk of contracting STDs due to the lack of the ability to make conscious decisions when having sex under the influence of alcohol.

But young adults, e.g. college students, are more susceptible to contacting these STDs. Most students often become very drunk, leaving their decisions to their intoxicated friends, or in worse scenarios, to strangers.

The impact of alcohol on your body’s ability to fight STDs

Research shows that alcohol weakens your immune system, which makes it easier to contract any disease. Drinking too much alcohol can take a toll on your body cells, which makes it harder for your body to fight STDs.

Research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal shows that alcohol inhibits the inflammatory and anti-viral functions of monocytes.

The research also indicates that prolonged alcohol consumption has a negative effect of reducing the body’s immunity against diseases. This study also states that excessive drinking also impairs the function of immune cells and the respiratory system.

This leads to an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, STDs, among other diseases.

The relationship between binge-drinking and STDs

A rise in the number of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases has been linked to binge-drinking, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The newspaper also said that more than 75% of women who took part in the survey confessed they had unprotected sex as a result of being drunk.

Another study carried out between July 2000 to August 2001 among 795 STD patients in a clinic showed that women who binge-drink are more likely to engage in unprotected sexual behaviour and contract STDs compared to those who don’t.

Another different study funded by the National Institute for Health (NIH) in 2008 also states that women binge drinkers are more likely to engage in anal sex compared to women who consume alcohol without binge drinking.

Moreover, women who binge-drink are more likely to have multiple sex partners, thus increasing the risk of being infected with STDs. This isn’t the case with women who don’t binge-drink.

Men are also affected by binge-drinking, but the probability of engaging in unprotected sex is not as high as in women.

Alcohol and sexual assault

Alcohol is also a key factor when it comes to sexual assault. 50% of all college sexual assaults are associated with alcohol abuse.

According to the McKinley Health Center located at the University of Illinois, individuals who abuse alcohol are more susceptible to sexual assault and rape.

Since drugs are involved, it’s easier for one to become incapacitated and have sex without his/her consent. One may easily contact STDs from rape and sexual assault.

In worse scenarios, the sexual damage caused by rape or other types of sexually-related assaults can present sexual complications for years. This is why it’s important for alcohol users to consider their levels of alcohol intake because some of these consequences and STDs are still likely to be present even after they’ve stopped alcohol consumption and achieved sobriety.

Sexual assault under the influence of alcohol isn’t gender-specific – both genders are susceptible to sexual attacks which may lead to STD infections.

Alcohol and Prostitution

Alcohol addiction is an expensive habit. Alcohol addiction has resulted in individuals exhausting their savings, selling their belongings or even stealing from others for them to support their habit.

But for some, these actions aren’t among their options; they opt for prostitution in order to afford alcohol.

Prostitution increases the rate of STD transmission since it involves sex with different partners. It also leads to unwanted pregnancies and other sexual and drug-related crimes.

Alcohol and Attention Deficiency

Excessive consumption of alcohol limits our ability to think and process information. After heavy drinking, a person’s brain activity only relates to his/her immediate environment.

This is why most individuals make attention-related mistakes after drinking heavily. These may include drunk driving, unprotected sex or even Sex with multiple strangers.

Heavy alcohol consumption reduces a person’s concentration and awareness.

Alcohol and Impulsive Behaviour

High doses of alcohol also limit our capacity to inhibit impulsive behaviour. A study funded by NIH/NIMH assessed STI prevalence among 2,146 men and related it to the frequency of alcohol consumption before they had sex. The findings showed that 70% of the men who were drunk had unprotected sex.

The results showed a correlation between alcoholism, unprotected Sex, and STDs. This suggests that alcohol is one of the main facilitators of risky sexual behaviour, thus increasing the prevalence of STDs.

A brain that’s intoxicated by alcohol responds only to what provides the body with immediate pleasure.

Alcohol inhibits the brains’ ability to analyse the risk and outcomes of any actions. This brings about reckless decisions which include rape, unprotected Sex or even Sex with strangers, all which can lead to STDs.

Alcohol and Self-awareness During Sex

A person loses his/her ability to monitor and control their behaviour when under the influence of alcohol. Eventually, the individual develops a “who cares?” attitude, which results in lots of reckless actions, especially during sex.

One may decide to have unprotected sex, anal sex, or even oral sex, all of which may lead to contracting and spreading STIs.

While they might not care at that particular moment, they’ll start caring and regretting after the alcohol wears off.

Lifetime Regrets

Alcohol will ruin not only your night but also the next day when you start remembering all the bad decisions you made under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, some of these decisions may be too bad with serious consequences that you might not be able to overcome. Getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease can be life-changing.

As much as some STDs can be treated; some of them, e.g. HIV/AIDS, have no ‘cure’, and you’ll have to live with them for the rest of your life. Be smart, don’t alter the course of your life in one drunken night.

Staying in control and avoiding sex under the influence of alcohol 

Below are some general safety measures you can use to avoid getting yourself in potentially unsafe situations when you’re having fun:

  • Ensure you hang out with people you trust who won’t pressurise you to do something that jeopardises your sexual health.
  • If you happen to leave a party with someone, always make your friend aware of where you’re going and who you’re leaving with.
  • Using condoms, male or female condoms is the best way to prevent STDs, unwanted pregnancies and HIV. Some may argue that you don’t need to rely on just one type of protection but don’t forget that contraceptive pills and other types of family planning methods won’t protect you from STDs. On the other hand, PrEP only prevents HIV and not any other type of STIs. That’s why it’s always a good practice to bring condoms along with you whenever you’re going out for a party

Need some support?

In case you’re worried about your drinking patterns, and you’re finding it hard to control your drinking and drug abuse, don’t give up yet. You can speak to a counsellor, healthcare professional, or a specialist who can offer you the right support and advice.


Jamie is a writer for several addiction and recovery publications. Jamie is in recovery himself.  He particularly enjoys writing about his experiences with meditation, religion and holistic therapies.