Drinking and Risky Sexual Behavior
In 2003, 1 in 12 (8.2%) current high school drinkers, and 1 in 8 (13.7%) high school binge drinkers, reported being physically forced to have sexual intercourse. Drinkers are twice as likely to report this as non-drinkers.1
High school drinkers are two and a half times as likely to have had sex in the past 3 months than non-drinkers. 2
In 2009, 1 in 4 9th graders, and 1 in 5 sexually active high school students, drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse.3
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance?United States, 2009. MMWR June 4, 2010; 59(SS-5):23,108.
In a study of 1034 students from Brooklyn, NY, females who reported alcohol use by the fall of 7th grade were almost twice as likely as their alcohol-delaying peers to have initiated sexual intercourse or engaged in recent sexual intercourse by the 10th grade.4
In 1998, an estimated 400,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex after drinking, and an estimated 100,000 had sex when they were so intoxicated they were unable to consent.5
In 2001, an estimated 97,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 were sexually assaulted or date raped by another drinking college student.6
It is estimated that teenage girls who binge drink are up to 63% more likely to become teen mothers. 7
In a poll of more than 11,700 college students from 128 colleges in the United States, researchers found that, compared to those who waited to drink until they were 19 or older, college students who got drunk for the first time before age 13 were twice as likely to say they had had unplanned sex because of drinking. They were more than twice as likely to say they had had unprotected sex because of drinking.8
Young adult drinkers are twice as likely as non-drinkers to have had a sexually transmitted disease during the past year. Heavy drinking males are almost four times as likely, and heavy drinking females are three and a half times as likely.9
Updated March 2011
1 Miller JW, Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Jones SE. Binge drinking and associated health risk behaviors among high school students. Pediatrics. 2007;119(1):76-85.
2 Anderson JE, Mueller TE. Trends in sexual risk behavior and unprotected sex among high school students, 1991-2005: The role of substance use. J Sch Health. 2008;78(11):575-580.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2009. MMWR June 4, 2010; 59(SS-5):23,108.
4 Stueve A, O'Donnell LN. Early alcohol initiation and subsequent sexual and alcohol risk behaviors among urban youths. Am J Public Health. 2005;95(5):887-893.
5 Hingson RW, Heeren T, Zakocs RC, Kopstein A, Wechsler H. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24. J Stud Alcohol. 2002;63(2):136-144.
6 Hingson RW, Zha W, Weitzman ER. Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24, 1998-2005. J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl. 2009; 16:12-20.
7 Dee, T.S. The Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Ages on Teen Childbearing. J Human Resources. 1997; 36(4): 823-838.
8 Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter MR, Wechsler H. Early age of first drunkenness as a factor in college students' unplanned and unprotected sex attributable to drinking. Pediatrics. 2003;111(1):34-41.
9 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The NSDUH Report: Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Substance Use. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies; March 20, 2007.