Your teenage years are when your interest in sex increases and when the majority of young people have their first sexual experiences. Many adults believe that youngsters are intoxicated when they have sex for the first time. But that isn’t the case. The majority of young people have not drunk alcohol when they make their sexual debut. Teenagers themselves also state that their most recent sexual experiences were positive and felt secure.
A lot of people cheat when they’re drunk. It’s like you don’t think, you just do.
Julius, aged 15, Örebro
IT CAN DAMAGE SELF-ESTEEM
The whole closeness and sex thing can be tricky, and for many, it feels easier when you’ve drunk alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol can reduce our nervousness and inhibitions, and can make you feel more relaxed and bold. And if it felt embarrassing, there’s always something to blame it on later. But it’s hard to feel the intimacy that you can both give and receive during physical contact with someone else if you have alcohol in your system. And if your first sexual experience with another person happens when you’re drunk, there’s also a real risk that, over time, it will feel natural to be intoxicated during sex. And eventually, you may not know how to get close to someone or have sex without alcohol.
Alcohol impairs your judgement, and the same is true when it comes to safe and consensual sex. We’re less aware, and what may initially be perceived as a positive effect of the alcohol can turn into something negative. It can lead to unprotected sex, 23 per cent of upper secondary students state that they didn’t use protection when they had sex under the influence. Girls take greater responsibility than boys, not just before and during sex, but afterwards too, e.g. when it comes to testing for sexually transmitted infections.
If you're trying to get off with someone but get turned down, you can always blame it on being drunk.
Hanna, aged 16, Gothenburg
SEX YOU REGRET
9 per cent of year 2 upper secondary school students who drink state that they have had sex when drunk, that they later regretted. And sadly, young people do have sex against their will when they’re drunk. As an adult, it’s important that you talk to your child about the importance of sex being both safe and consensual. Make it very clear that they should only have sex if they really want to. And that there are, of course, no excuses whatsoever for sexual assault.
YOUNG PEOPLE WATCH PORN
Pornography has become an easily accessible and major part of many teenagers’ lives. Most boys and the majority of girls have consumed pornography at least once in their teens. It is easy to acquire a distorted image of what’s expected of you. Porn is usually one-sided and emotionally disengaged. The content that young people encounter is often crude, aggressive, and degrading. And porn often has a number of negative effects on teenagers, ranging from physical harm and sexual violence to performance anxiety and an impact on body image. We also know that young people who watch a lot of porn also drink more alcohol than young people who don’t. It’s important that you, as an adult, talk to your child about how what they’re seeing does not reflect the reality of intimacy or sexual relationships. Nuance the picture that porn paints and highlight the risks.