Alcohol can make you do things you'll regret, including having sex. Find out the risks and how you can keep yourself safe.
Alcohol changes the way you act and affects your decision making. The more you drink, the less careful you are, and this can have serious consequences when it comes to sex and your personal safety.
Tips for staying safe when drinking
Alcohol, sex and making decisions
Is sex safe when you've been drinking?
Alcohol and sexual assault
If you're planning to drink alcohol, follow these tips to keep safe:
Alcohol can affect your judgement. You might become easy to influence when it comes to sex. You can make rash decisions, such as having unprotected sex, which can lead to an unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia.
Alcohol might calm your nerves, but it doesn't make sex easier or better, particularly if it's your first time. Being drunk can make you feel confused or ill, which can make the experience unpleasant.
If you're drunk, you might not even remember having sex. And you're more likely to regret it, especially if it's your first time.
Alcohol stops you making sensible decisions, such as using a condom for protection against pregnancy and STIs. Not using a condom puts you at a greater risk of both.
If you're drunk, you're less likely to be thinking clearly enough to talk to your partner about using condoms, or to use condoms properly. Get tips on using condoms .
If you or your partner take the contraceptive pill and alcohol makes you sick, the pill is less likely to be effective and there's a greater risk of pregnancy. Find out what to do if you're on the pill and you're sick.
If you have unprotected sex or your contraceptive method has failed, you can lower your chances of having an unintended pregnancy by getting emergency contraception from your local clinic, pharmacy or doctor.
There are two types of emergency contraception:
There are two kinds of emergency contraceptive pill. Levonelle has to be taken within 72 hours (three days) of sex, and ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (five days) of sex. Both pills work by preventing or delaying the release of an egg.
The sooner the emergency contraceptive pill is taken after sex, the more likely it is to be effective.
The IUD can be inserted into your uterus up to five days after unprotected sex, or up to five days after the earliest time you could have ovulated. It may stop an egg being fertilised or implanting in your womb.
Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A doctor or nurse can help you to get tested for STIs, including HIV. Find sexual health services near you, including contraceptive clinics.
Being drunk makes you more vulnerable to sexual assault. This can happen to anyone, however old or young they are, and whether they're male, female, gay, straight or bisexual.
If someone tries to have sex with you and you don't want to do it, you always have the right to say no, whether you're drunk or not.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.