Friday, May 9, 2008

Teens turning to alcohol, drugs 'for sexual high'

More and more teenagers in Europe are turning to alcohol and drugs to improve their sex lives, a new study has revealed.

In their study, researchers questioned 1,341 young people in nine cities across Europe - a third of men aged 16 to 35 and a quarter of females surveyed - said they drank only to hit new sexual peaks.

Those who took cocaine regularly were five times more likely to have had five or more sexual partners in the last 12 months or have paid for sex. And, young people who indulged in alcohol, cocaine or ecstasy before the age of 16 were more likely to have underage sex, the survey found.

Young people were also more at risk of unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it revealed.

''Millions of young Europeans now take drugs and drink in ways which alter their sexual decisions and increase their chances of unsafe sex or sex that is later regretted.

''Yet despite the negative consequences, we found many are deliberately taking these substances to achieve quite specific sexual effects,'' the British media quoted the study's lead author Mark Bellis of Liverpool John Moore's University.

In fact, almost half of participants in Vienna, Austria had drunk alcohol and had sex by the time they were 16 compared with 36 per cent in Venice, Italy, 37 per cent in Palma, Spain and 30 per cent in Liverpool.

''Sexual activity accompanied by substance use is not just incidental, but often sexually motivated. Interventions addressing sexual health are often developed and implemented independently from those addressing substance use.

''However, young people often see alcohol, drugs and sex all as part of the same social experience and addressing these issues requires an equally joined up approach,'' study's co-author Amador Calafat wrote in the latest edition of the 'BMC Public Health' journal