The effect of binge drinking on sex and condom use may not sound like a new finding – Kerr notes that dozens of studies have compared the risk behaviors of college students who drink a lot versus those who do not.
Washington D.C: Wondering what fuels college nooky? A recent study has found that college students were more likely to have sex on days they used marijuana or binged on alcohol than on days they didn’t.
Binge drinking and being in a serious dating relationship also were linked with less condom use, putting young adults at risk for sexually-transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
The Oregon State University findings draw attention to some common but risky sexual behaviors in college students, said lead author, David Kerr, adding that people may judge risks, such as whether they will regret having sex or whether they should use a condom, differently when they are drunk.
Having sex without a condom is considered a risky behavior because condoms are the only way to protect against STIs, including HIV. For the purposes of the study, binge drinking was defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men.
The effect of binge drinking on sex and condom use may not sound like a new finding – Kerr notes that dozens of studies have compared the risk behaviors of college students who drink a lot versus those who do not. But only a handful of studies have tested whether a given person behaves differently on days they drink heavily compared to days they do not.
College students were more likely to have sex on days they used marijuana, but we didn’t find a connection between marijuana use and poor condom use, he noted.
The researchers’ findings could be used by prevention professionals to improve sexual health messaging, identify the best times and places to distribute condoms, and encourage a focus specifically on STI prevention, Kerr said.
For example, ads and free condom campaigns might target people at bars or parties or those in committed relationships. Health providers also could counsel young adults about STI prevention when they discuss a patient’s alcohol use or when a patient seeks non-condom birth control.
The study appears in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.