Parties, festivals, clubs—aka, Friday night.
There’s a good chance of alcohol and drugs being a part of the mix. You may even choose to partake. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs may give you the warm fuzzies, but it can also make you more impulsive and drive you to do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Alcohol and drugs reduce inhibitions.
Self-awareness, communication skills, the ability to read social cues, and think and act with reason go out the window. The more you have, the more it will affect you. That hook-up that was a complete no go a few hours ago, can suddenly seem really appealing!
They can also impact your ability to make safe choices when it comes to sex, putting you at risk of sexually transmissible infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy and sexual assault.
Memory and motor skills can also go out the window, making it difficult to use a condom properly. You may even forget to use one or decide to chance it if you don’t have one.
Drugs and alcohol can make it much harder to give consent to sex or figure out whether you’ve been given consent.
Of course anyone who is passed out or asleep cannot give consent. But a person who is so out of it they don’t know what’s happening is not able to give consent either.
Things to think about regarding consent:
- Are you and your partner able to communicate clearly?
- Do you both know what’s going on?
- Consent is not always spoken. Consent or non-consent can also be seen through body language and actions
- Silence does not imply consent
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time, so be sure to check in with your partner
Spiking someone’s drink with alcohol or drugs without their knowledge (drink-spiking) is illegal!
Alcohol is the most common drug used to spike drinks, but roofies or other drugs are used too.
It is a really unfunny, unsafe prank to pull on someone else. And sadly many drink-spiking incidents are linked to sexual assault, a serious offence.
Any way you look at it, drink-spiking is a crime.
Tips for taking care of yourself and your friends
Here are some things to think about before you head out on the town:
- Eat before you party. It’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach
- Go out with friends. Have a plan. Look out for each other
- Carry condoms with you in case your night leads to sex. Be sure to use one if it does
- Alternate between soft drinks or water between alcoholic drinks to limit the amount you’re drinking and help keep you hydrated
- If you choose to take drugs, let your friends know what you are taking
- Only accept drinks from people you know and trust and never leave your drink on its own
- Know how you are getting home
- If you leave a party with someone, let your friends know where you’re going and who you’re with
- Any doubts? Just don’t!
Before you go out, make a mental note of how you see your night going. What you are willing to do or not do. Know your limits so you can stay true to yourself and your boundaries.
If you do end up having sex, make sure it’s consensual throughout!
What to do if things don’t go according to plan?
If you end up having sex without a condom, don’t panic.
Contact your GP, local sexual health clinic, or family planning clinic for the next steps. They can advise you on STI testing and any other preventative measures you might take. If you are at risk for pregnancy, emergency contraception is available over the counter at pharmacies and can be taken up to three to five days after sex.
You can find information on where to get a sexual health check-up here.
If you feel like you’ve been coerced into having sex that you didn’t want to have, this is sexual assault.
If you are in immediate danger, or fear for your safety contact the police on 000. 1800RESPECT is a confidential counselling service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that provides support for people who have experienced sexual assault.