This page has information for people who are worried that they take it too far when using drugs and having sex and who might not appropriately ensure consent when they are partying. On this page we discuss sex, consent and sexual assault, this is a content warning as some of these topics may be triggering.
We are all responsible for creating a safe culture around consent when we are hooking up on drugs. When we’re mixing sex and drugs, the loosening of inhibitions and the effects of substances can create challenges for navigating consent. Some people experience sexual assault at events and parties where sex and drugs are combined.
Sexual assault is a crime. It occurs when someone is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts. It is also sexual assault when someone is exposed to sexual situations against their will. The person who initiates the assault is responsible for sexual assault, not the victim.
Sexual assault can also occur when a person is unable to give consent, such as if they:
- Do not have the capacity to consent due to age, or a mental or physical impairment
- Are asleep or unconscious
- Are threatened, forced or afraid
- Are restrained against their wishes
- Are tricked or mistaken about the nature of the act, or who the other person is
- Are significantly intoxicated
- Are forced due to the position of authority by another person (in all states except QLD and Tas)
Someone’s attendance at a place where sex is happening does not mean that they consent to sex themselves. This is sometimes called ‘implied consent’ and it is incorrect. People might attend a party intending to have sex but may change their mind, we need to respect this.
There are a few things that are worth reflecting on and some practices to put in place if you want to respect your play mates and not hurt others.
Don’t assume: Never assume that a person wants to engage in sex with you, or any specific sex acts, always check in first.
Consent isn’t just a one off yes or no: Anyone can change their mind at any time about whether they want to have sex or engage in a certain sexual act. Someone might even change their mind during sex. Remember, you too can change your mind about what you want to do at any time.
Unconscious or asleep? No one can consent to sex if they’re unconscious, asleep.
Too out of it to consent? Having sex on drugs means that things can change quickly. You might start having sex with someone who consented, but they could start to lose consciousness while you’re having sex. If you’re having sex with someone keep checking in with them. Make sure that they can focus, look you in the eyes and respond to you verbally. If it seems like they are getting confused or they can’t respond, stop.
Check in with yourself: Check in with yourself before you go out. Think about if you have been stressed, angry or hurt lately and if there is an increased risk that you will take it out on someone else. Before you have sex with someone check in with yourself, are you too out of it to be able to read someone else’s body language? Are you too out of it to focus and see clearly? If so, it’s best you take a break, come down a bit and come back when your head is clearer.
Don’t pressure someone into sex: If you threaten or coerce someone into having sex, then that person has not consented. Behaviours that are not acceptable include, pushing for sex, initiating sex acts that the person has told you they do not want ‘in case they change their mind’, and mocking the person for not having sex or ‘chickening out’.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are having sex with someone and you’re not sure if they’re able to consent it is your responsibility to stop. Go get the two of you some water and start again when you are certain they are ready.
This content was developed in consultation with community members and the ACON team who run the Say It Out Loud website. We have also sourced Information on this page was taken From David Stuart’s Chemsex First Aid resource and from NSW Health Page on sexual assault.
Also in this section…
- Party and Play Peer Chat
- Party and Play Self-Reflection Resources
- Party and Play Drug Info
- Mixing Drugs and Safety
- Preparing for Party and Play
- Knowing your limits
- Injecting, shafting, smoking or snorting
- Sexual Health
- Hep C Prevention Testing & Treatment
- GHB Overdose
- Crystal Overdose
- Party and Play Emergencies
- Caring for each other
- Calling an ambulance
- Hook ups and safety
- Responding to sexual assault
- Support for sexual assault