Women under the influence of alcohol tend to get more involved in sexual risk-taking and engage more in unprotected sex, a new study has revealed.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, sex without a condom was significantly and positively related to both satisfaction of physical needs and stronger beliefs that alcohol promotes sexual risk-taking.
The study set out to understand how one’s beliefs about alcohol and sex affect condom use during sexual encounters involving alcohol.
“Most young women reported levels of heavy drinking prior to sex, which can impair their cognitive functioning and decision-making. These findings underscore the need to examine the associations between alcohol consumption and sexual risk-taking,” said Jennifer Brown, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
The study consisted of 287 college-going females who anonymously self-reported on their most recent sexual activity involving alcohol. Participants were surveyed to examine their associations between alcohol use and sexual behaviour and to self-report events of sexual encounters after drinking alcohol within the last 30 days.
Among the characteristics of reported sexual encounters, most women in the study consumed more than three to five drinks and described themselves and their partner as being “moderately intoxicated”.
“Understanding the factors that may underlie the association between alcohol and condomless sex among young women is of considerable public health importance. Particularly because incident HIV infections and other sexually transmitted infections are on the rise among women, and the majority of these are transmitted via heterosexual contact,” added Brown.