You might not want to think so, but the reality of the situation is that sex, drugs and alcohol are linked in several ways for today's teenagers. According to a 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 24 percent of 15 to 17 year olds say they have done more sexually than planned because they had been drinking or using drugs.
Teens may drink or use drugs to gain confidence or lose inhibitions
Teens may feel pressured to become sexually active — and may naturally be nervous about it. Many turn to drugs to get past those feelings.
Some teens give drugs (especially GHB) to unknowing sexual targets
Unfortunately, some teens use drugs to force others into sexual activity.
Teens may engage in risky sexual behaviors while on drugs
Once drunk or high, inhibitions are greatly reduced, which may lead teens to engage in behaviors that expose them to risk of pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases. 26 percent of 15 to 17 yr olds have worried about STDs or pregnancy because of something they have done while drinking or using drugs
What Parents Can Do
- Talk to your kids not just about the risks of sex, alcohol or drugs, but the link between them
- Tell your teen that because you love them, you want their first time to be special and memorable
- Despite how awkward you may feel, tell your kid the truth — alcohol can actually make sex a lot worse, not better. Drinking makes it difficult to maintain an erection and use a condom correctly
- Make sure that your child is aware of the physical and emotional consequences of unprotected sex (including sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and teen pregnancy) and, even worse, date rape