Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 81-95

First online:

Alcohol use and contraception in first sexual experiences

  • Barbara C. LeighAffiliated withAlcohol Research Group
  • , John SchaferAffiliated withAlcohol Research Group
  • , Mark T. TempleAffiliated withAlcohol Research Group

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Recent research has suggested that the use of alcohol or drugs in conjunction with sexual intercourse is associated with nonuse of contraception, particularly in first intercourse experiences. This paper reports findings from a nationally representative sample of adolescents and young adults aged 18–30 who were asked a number of questions about the circumstances and characteristics of the first time they had intercourse. Results showed that drinking at the time of first intercourse was more prevalent among those who first had sex prior to 1985; moreover, members of this cohort were less likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control at the time of first intercourse. Drinking was associated with nonuse of contraception only among those who had their first sexual experience prior to 1985. The results are discussed in terms of historical changes in the sexual climate of the AIDS era.

Key words

alcohol contraception national sample sexual intercourse