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Some Sobering Thoughts
by Mel September 8th 2010, 01:06 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 4, Issue 2 (August 2010).

Some Sobering Thoughts
By Holly Marie (Rie) and Amy (ShimmeringFaerie)

Sex, drugs, and alcohol. They sound like fun, right? But do you know the dangers? While I'm not going to tell you not to have sex, drink alcohol, or take drugs, I won't encourage you either. What I'm going to say is that if you choose to do so, be sure to keep yourself and those around you safe. When you go to a party you never expect bad things to happen, but sometimes they do. The thing is, drugs and alcohol go hand in hand at socializing events, or so it would seem. Drugs and alcohol can give you more confidence, fewer inhibitions, and allow you to relax more; however, drugs, sex, and alcohol can be a potentially dangerous mixture. Let's face it, I'm sure you will have heard of friends drinking, doing drugs, or losing their virginity, but they may not always be telling the truth.

There's a chance that you might find yourself at a party where people are drinking or taking drugs. If you don't join in, you may feel as though people will think you're a 'loser'. You might even feel like youíre not cool because youíre still a virgin, so you may feel pressured to have sex with someone simply because you don't want to be the 'only' person who hasn't. A lot of teens feel pressured by friends to try alcohol, drugs, or have sex. Peer pressure pushes teenagers into doing things that will cause them to feel as though they fit in. Did you know that the average age worldwide for losing your virginity is around 19? Did you know that most teens don't drink, and a high percentage of adults choose not to? The point is that if you don't want to take drugs, drink, or have sex, you are certainly not alone.

Before you go to a party, there are a number of things that you should be aware of. Always check out the kind of party it will be before you go, especially if you don't know the host. Find out who else is going, and make sure there will a friend you can trust with you if you won't know anybody else there. Negotiate a time to be picked up, and ensure that they know where you will be and at what time. Never accept a lift from anybody that you don't know. Make sure you keep your personal belongings with you at all times. When it comes to drugs and alcohol, there are a few things you should remember. Eat before you go to the party, as the effects of alcohol are increased if you have an empty stomach. Always keep your drink in your hand, and mix your own drinks so you have control over what you're drinking and how much alcohol you are consuming. Do not feel pressured to drink at the same rate as those around you, as we all handle alcohol differently. Try to have a non-alcoholic drink between every alcoholic drink. Be aware that there may be people who will attempt to spike your drink.

The number one rule when having sex: always use a condom. They protect you from both STIs and pregnancy. If you are planning or know that there is the possibility of you having sex, take condoms with you when you go out. Make sure that you know how to use them properly and remember that condoms should be kept in cool and dry places. Do not store them in your car, wallet, or pocket for extended periods of time because the heat can make them brittle and likely to break during intercourse. The risk of unprotected sex is far greater when you are intoxicated.

Another risk of having sex at parties is the possibility of sexual assault. To avoid this, always tell a friend if you are leaving with someone, who you are going with and where you are going. Promise to call your friend at a certain time and ask them to look for you if you donít ring by the designated time. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If a situation doesnít feel safe, it probably isnít.

Some people believe that getting drunk or high before having sex will make you more relaxed or will make the sex better. However, this is almost never the case. Being under the influence of substances means that you are unlikely to make intelligent, safe decisions about sex. If you are drunk, you might forget to use protection or later regret your decision to have sex. If your sexual partner is drunk, they cannot legally consent to sex, and you might find yourself facing sexual assault charges.

At the end of the day, you can be in control. Whatever you do, be sure that it is done for your own reasons and not because of peer pressure. It's not easy to say 'no', but if your friends are true friends they will respect your decisions. Stand your ground and do what you believe is right for you.
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