Partying is fun, but it can also put you at risk. Being drunk or out of it on drugs can lead to unplanned and unsafe sex. In fact, it’s the most common reason why young people end up having unwanted sex. Unwanted sex is linked with issues such as accidental pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) like herpes or AIDS. Partying also puts a teenager at risk of sexual assault.
It is possible to have lots of fun and stay safe. Keep these general safety issues in mind:
- Pace yourself if you’re drinking and stay alert. When you are drunk or using drugs, you are more likely to do things you normally wouldn’t do when you’re sober. Other people may take advantage of you when you’re out of it.
- Don’t leave a nightclub or party with someone you’ve just met, even if that person seems nice or cute. Take their number and call them the next day if you’re still interested.
- Use a (male or female) condom – always – each and every time you have sex.
- Don’t be pressured into sex. It’s your life, your choice. If you don’t want to have sex or if the person you’re with is moving too fast or making you feel uneasy in any way, tell them.
- Remember it’s not just strangers who may prey on you. Sexual assault can be committed by someone you know really well (such as your boyfriend or girlfriend) or by an acquaintance.
Keep your wits about you
Clouding your judgement with alcohol or drugs puts you at risk of unwanted sex and sexual assault. You can have lots of fun without alcohol and drugs. If you decide to use drugs or alcohol:
- Set yourself a limit of alcoholic drinks and keep count, alternating alcohol with water or soft drink.
- Know what you’re taking if you decide to take drugs and don’t mix it with alcohol or other drugs. Make sure you understand the risks related to taking that drug. Nominate at least one friend to stay straight who can help in case of trouble.
- Stick with your friends and look out for each other.
Reduce the risk of drink spiking
To spike a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink without them knowing. Drink spiking is linked to sexual assault. To protect yourself:
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
- Don’t let others top up your drink.
- Buy drinks that have screw-top lids.
- Keep in mind that drink spiking is commonly done by someone you know, and involves adding extra alcohol to your drink without you knowing about it.
Going to clubs and venues
You’ll be safer if you arrive, hang out and leave with a group of friends. Suggestions include:
- Stay with your friends.
- Don’t leave the venue with strangers.
- Avoid walking through poorly lit side streets. Stick to main roads. Get a cab home – don’t walk.
- Agree with your friends beforehand where to meet if you become separated.
Act responsibly towards others
Peer pressure can make people do all sorts of things they would otherwise not do. Act with care and consideration to other people and:
- Don’t encourage anyone else to use alcohol or drugs, or tell them they’re ‘no fun’ if they decide not to drink.
- Don’t make sexual advances towards someone who is too out of it to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You’ve committed a crime if you engage in any sexual activity (including things like touching) with someone without their consent.
- Don’t pressure your partner to have sex or try to manipulate them, for example, by flirting with someone else.
- Remember, if the person you’re with says ‘yes’ at first, but then changes their mind, you must respect their decision. Otherwise, it’s a crime.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Police Tel. 000
- Ambulance Tel. 000
- Emergency department of your nearest hospital
- Kids Helpline Tel. 1800 551 800
- Family Planning Victoria Tel. (03) 9257 0100
- Melbourne Sexual Health Centre Tel. (03) 9341 6200 or 1800 032 017
- Sexual Assault Crisis Line and CASA Tel. 1800 806 292
- National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (Australia) Tel. 1800 737 732 – free telephone counselling hotline (24 hours, 7 days)
- 1800RESPECT – for real-time online counselling
- Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817
Things to remember
- When drunk or using drugs, you are more likely to do things you normally wouldn’t do when sober.
- Sexual assault can be committed by someone you know really well (such as your boyfriend) or by an acquaintance or stranger.
- When partying, stick with your friends and look out for each other.
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