Partying is fun, but it can also put you at risk. Partying in general carries risks of unplanned and unsafe sex but these risks are even greater if you’re drunk or out of it on drugs.
In fact, intoxication is the most common reason why young people end up having unwanted sex. Unwanted or unprotected sex is linked with outcomes such as accidental pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) like herpes or HIV. Partying also puts people at risk of sexual assault.
Tips for partying safely
You can have lots of fun and stay safe when partying. Keep these general safety issues in mind:
- Pace yourself if you’re drinking and stay alert; try to break up alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks or water. 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. 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 or any other types of physical intimacy. 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 cause problems. Unwanted advances and sexual assault are often committed by acquaintances or even someone you know really well (such as your boyfriend or girlfriend).
Partying with alcohol and drugs
Clouding your judgement with alcohol or other drugs puts you at risk of unwanted sexual advances, unwanted sex and sexual assault. You can have lots of fun without alcohol or other drugs.
If you decide to use alcohol or other drugs:
- 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 a drug 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 or people you trust and look out for each other.
Reduce your risk of drink spiking
To spike a drink means to put alcohol or other drugs into someone’s drink without them knowing. Drink spiking is linked to sexual assault. To protect yourself:
- Keep an eye on your drinks.
- 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 most often 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 or an Uber home – don’t walk. Public transport is available in Melbourne for 24 hours on weekends.
- 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 other 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’. It’s a crime to engage in any sexual activity (including things like touching) with someone without their consent. This includes if someone is too intoxicated and therefore unable to 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
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