Substance Abuse and Risky Sexual Behavior

Substance abuse can lead to many risky behaviors. One of the areas of life where risk-taking behaviors occur the most is with sex. Many of the drugs that people use and become addicted to lower the inhibitions of the user.  When people reduce their inhibitions through things like substance use it is common for risky sexual behavior to occur. This is because drugs have a direct effect on the limbic system which is responsible for decision making and self-control. It has been found that young drug users, such as adolescents are most prone to engage in this type of behavior. This is because younger adults do not have fully developed brains, which leaves them more susceptible to poor decision making in general….but even more so when drugs and substances are added into the mix.

Some Drugs are More Likely to Lead to Risky Sexual Behavior Than Others

It has been found that alcohol is the substance that is most likely to result in an individual engaging in poor decision making when it comes to sex. Other substances that are likely to cause risky sexual behavior are those that are classified as stimulants and opioids. Opioids are more likely to cause an individual to engage in risky sexual behavior in the form of doing so to obtain drugs rather than causing a person to desire sexual contact.

Risky sexual behavior can play out in many forms in the lives of those who are addicted to drugs. People who are under the influence of drugs and mind-altering substances may choose to become sexually involved with people they otherwise would not. Often when this occurs people will not have a clear enough headspace to use protection. This can lead to the spreading of sexually transmitted disease. This can also lead to unwanted pregnancy.

Sometimes it is the drug addiction in and of itself, rather than being under the influence that leads to people using drugs. People who have found themselves in the throes of drug addiction often develop very large tolerances to the drug they are using. When tolerance rises, it becomes hard for people to continue to afford the amount of the drug that they need to experience the effects that they desire.  When this happens, people will sometimes trade sexual “favors” for drugs when they are short on the cash that they need. Turning to prostitution to pay for drugs can have dangerous and often deadly consequences.