Mixing drugs and sex is not uncommon.
Drugs affects us all a little differently. They can open us to good sex or lead us to make risky decisions that can impact ours or our partners’ health and well-being.
Drugs - legal and otherwise
When people talk about drugs, they usually mean the illegal kinds that people use to get high. But there are other kinds of drugs — legal ones — that also change the way your body and mind work. Coffee and alcohol are drugs. So are medicines. Just because you can buy a drug at your pharmacy doesn’t mean that it’s safe. And just because a drug is illegal doesn’t mean it’s going to kill you.
Just like having sex is a choice, using drugs and alcohol is a choice. Lots of people don’t use drugs or alcohol, some people use a little, and some use more. Other people might experiment and then stop or cut back. Just remember that there is a risk that you can become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
If you’re using drugs or alcohol and having sex, the important thing is to understand the risks and effects of what you’re taking. Plan ahead.
Drugs, alcohol, and sex
People use drugs and alcohol to change how they feel or think. So some people will drink alcohol to feel more relaxed, which might make it easier to ‘pick up’ and have sex. Other people might use other kinds of drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, and pot to be more turned on or to make sex last longer.
Even though certain drugs and alcohol might make you feel like you want sex more, your body might have a very different reaction. A lot of drugs actually make your body less turned on, making it really hard to have an erection or an orgasm. Even if that’s not a big deal to you, there are other effects that you need to know. For example, many drugs make the vagina less lubricated, which can cause condoms to break unless you’re using lots of lube. Drugs and alcohol can also make it harder to get and keep an erection, so condoms can slip off.
Drugs and alcohol can also make you take more risks, like not using protection or birth control at all, or having sex with multiple people or strangers, or just doing things that you wouldn’t normally do.
Tips to keep in mind
When partying, unless you’re 100% sure that you won’t be having sex, have a plan so that you’re still protected from pregnancy or an STI. Here are some easy tips:
- Have friends with you. They can get you out of a jam if you’re feeling too drunk or high, or just if you need help. Make sure you’re in a place where you feel safe, and where you can get out without driving (keep some cab money on hand or have a designated driver).
- If there’s any chance you might be having sex, bring condoms and lube with you. Lube is important because alcohol and some drugs make the vagina less lubricated, which can cause tears in the vagina and/or to the condom, and make sex less pleasurable and more painful.
- Know what you’re using and make sure you trust the person giving it to you. Know exactly what the drug is and how it’s going to make you feel. You might want to start with a smaller amount at first and see how you feel before taking more.
- Keep an eye on your drinks, and where you’re getting them from. If your drink looks, smells, or tastes funny, don’t drink it.
- Know the risks if you might be mixing certain drugs, or drugs with alcohol. Some interactions can be serious.
- Think about birth control. Talk to your health care provider, or (in Winnipeg) visit Project CHOICES. It’s a free program where you can get non-judgmental support and information about using alcohol and birth control, and making the best choice for you.
Consent and sexual assault
When we talk about how alcohol or drugs might make it easier to relax and ‘pick up,’ you need to always make sure that your partner is able to truly say ‘yes’ to having sex.
Sometimes ‘date rape’ is not as obvious as slipping someone a drug without them knowing. If you’re trying to have sex with anyone who is very drunk or high, or is blacking out, that person can’t legally say ‘yes’ to sex or give their consent. This means that if you have sex with someone who is too drunk or high to give consent, you can be charged with sexual assault.
If you think that you might have been assaulted while you were drunk or high, talk to a trusted friend or health care provider—like Klinic’s Sexual Assault Crisis Counselling program—or check out SexualityAndU.ca’s What to do if it happens to you.
I'm using, and pregnant! What do I do?
Check out the pregnancy and birth control page to read about your pregnancy options. If you plan to parent or have somebody else parent (adoption or guardianship), it’s never too late to make a difference in the health of the baby. Even just a few of these things can make a big difference:
- If you can, stop using drugs and alcohol. Even just reducing drug and alcohol intake can also help you have a healthier pregnancy. If you feel like you can’t quit on your own get in touch with a counsellor or health provider you trust, or contact AFM Youth Services, so that you can work together to reduce your substance use while you’re pregnant.
- Take a look at Mount Carmel Clinic’s Mothering Project to see if it’s right for you.
- See your doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, or midwife soon. Keep going regularly. Prenatal care is very important for both your health and the health of the fetus.
- Eat healthy food and get lots of rest.
- Lower your stress by going for walks or spending time with people who support you.