Alcohol and risky sex


Photo credit: Jessica Johnson

It is no secret that a significant part of the college experience for many are parties and drinking. Chico is no exception. While responsible drinking is no reason for concern, over-drinking is. It contributes significantly to risky sexual behavior.

Campus culture has evolved to promote the idea of drinking leading to sex. From that stems the attitude “it doesn’t matter whom you have sex with, their level of intoxication or even if they are interested.”

Drinking affects a person’s ability to think clearly, skewing one’s perception of the others sexual intent while also impairing communication about one’s sexual intentions.

It is no surprise then that 50 percent of reported sexual assaults on college campuses involve drinking. Additionally, assaults are more likely to happen during the first few months of school as students are learning to get comfortable with their new environment.

Even when sex is consensual, there can be regrets the next morning. Unprotected sex with a stranger is a huge example of poor decisions made under the influence.

One way to avoid risky sexual behavior is by paying attention to how much you drink when you are out. Be responsible. You should remain alert for persons that are trying hard to get you to drink alcohol, take drugs or try to have you accompany them to an isolated location. Use the buddy system.

For those that want to better understand the potentially dangerous consequences of alcohol misuse, the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center is an excellent on campus resource.

The Wildcat Roar Workshops are offered to all students, facility and interested community members. There are also programs such as the Collegiate Recovery Program open to anyone who has a concern about their own drinking patterns.

Whether drinking continues to be a normal part of the college experience or not really isn’t the issue. Having a safe and positive college experience is.

It’s important to be aware of the role alcohol plays in risky sexual behavior so you can take action in advance for yourself or a friend to avoid it. And if you drink, drink responsibly and don’t drive.

If you are scared of going out after reading this, don’t be. This is college. Go out and have fun. Just be careful and you’ll be alright.

Nicole Ritchie can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.