The Family Planning Association have undertaken a survey of more than 2,000 adults in the UK designed to find out more about drinking and sexual health/behaviour during the World Cup. They have discovered that alcohol plays a part in risky sexual behaviour.
Some of the key findings show that 32% of those surveyed have taken part in sexual activity with someone and then later regretted it. Over half of those who drink alcohol reported that it had an impact.
More worryingly, 31% of those surveyed said they’d had sexual intercourse with someone new without using a condom. Again, of those who drink alcohol, 41% said it had an impact.
Just under 24% also said they’d had sexual activity with someone they wouldn’t normally find attractive, and of these who drink alcohol more than half said that the alcohol played a part.
The survey was undertaken by YouGov and commissioned by the Family Planning Association as part of their Play safe World Cup campaign. The survey is based around sexual health safety advice for football fans watching and enjoying the games both at home and in the host country Brazil.
Policy Manager Harry Walker said: “We know people don’t set out to take risks. But even with the best intentions, drinking alcohol can reduce the chance of you using a condom if you have sex with someone new, and it can impair sexual decision-making.
“With pubs staying open later and so many supermarket alcohol deals to tempt football fans during the tournament, there will no doubt be a knock-on effect on the sorts of risks people take with their sexual health.
“We were concerned to see that 6% of people in our survey said they were unable to remember whether or not they had sexual intercourse, or what sexual activity had taken place the day after. Of these people who drink alcohol, 68% said it had an impact.
“And 6% of our respondents said having sexual intercourse without using a condom had resulted in a sexually transmitted infection – in a third of cases amongst those that drink alcohol (33%), it had an impact. These results are very worrying.”
The majority of those who took part in the survey agreed that alcohol consumption does reduce inhibitions about having sex and people generally tend to think less about the risks of contracting a sexually transmitted infection when they have sex having consumed alcohol.
“Whether you are watching the games down the pub or at home with friends, or even in the terraces in Brazil, if you are drinking alcohol know your limits,” Harry added.
“While it’s easy to get carried away with World Cup fever, the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections may well be a sobering thought.”
Anyone who is concerned about sexually transmitted infections or those who may have taken a risk can find their local sexual health clinic using FPA’s find a clinic tool. There’s lots more information about contraception and STIs too here – www.fpa.org.uk.
NHS Choices also have guidance for young people with regard to alcohol consumption and sexual activity. They explain more about making decisions around alcohol and sex, and in particular how alcohol can affect judgement and as a result young people can be easily influenced and make rash decisions, including having unprotected sex. There is a very useful Tips for staying safe guide.
Also, Drinkaware have useful information about alcohol and sex life and why too much alcohol can be a sexual turn off for both parties.
For more information about alcohol visit www.talkhealthpartnership.com/talkaddiction and for information about sexually transmitted diseases visit http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/talkwomenshealth/health_topics/gynaecology_sti/index.php