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Alcohol, sex, and consent

Learn more about sexual consent when alcohol is involved


Written by Megan Stonecipher and posted in health


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When it comes to sex, consent is always necessary.  But that concept can most often be blurred when alcohol gets involved.  Alcohol tends to be a huge factor in sexual assaults.  In fact, one in eleven people in Ireland said that they or a family member were assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol in the past year.   

Alcohol and sexual consent

  • Alcohol in general can affect people’s ability to make decisions, which includes the decision to partake in sex.
  • If a person is completely intoxicated or out of it due to drinking, this means that they are not able to give consent.
  • Any sexual activity with someone who doesn’t know what is going on is considered to be rape.  
  • Non-consensual activity, includes anything from kissing to sex, is against the law.  

How to help  

  • If you see a friend who is drunk and is being intimate with someone else, try and pull them aside to make sure they understand what they are doing and if they are too intoxicated, try to get them out of the situation.
  • The same goes for if you see one of your friends getting intimate with someone who is drunk.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if the situation doesn’t look right to you.  

Staying safe

  • Try not to drink so much that you feel out of control, being less intoxicated allows you to make wise decisions and fully assess situations.
  • Always stay with friends - staying with friends allows you to look after them and them to look after you.
  • Try to let a friend or family member know what your plans are (where you are going, what time you will be back, etc.).

Overall no matter what, consent is always mandatory when it comes to sex, whether or not alcohol is involved.  Remember that if a person is too drunk, they are unable to give full consent.  For more information visit this website: reachout.ie.

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Published June 20th, 2017
Last updated June 21st, 2017
Tags alcohol sex consent
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