Monday, 18 June 2007

Alcohol and sexual cultures

My week didn't start too well. About two hours ago my leg got trapped in the tube door. My lovely clean trousers have a big black mark on them and I am now going to be speaking at the NAZ (find out more about NAZ at conference taboos and mixed messages : sexual health promotion among black and minority ethnic youth this afternoon feeling grubby. This coupled with my guilt at forgetting to send Dad a card for fathers day is not, i hope, an indicator of how Monday is going to pan out.

Last week I was pleased to see the attention on the links between sex, alcohol and other drugs in the newspapers. A few years ago whilst at the National Children's Bureau I worked on a youth participation project on the issue ( Young people told us time and again that we need to do more to help them understand the links, and develop skills in identifying, assessing and managing risk. They also reminded us that whilst we have a smutty culture around sex and young people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it with a partner they are much more likely to use alcohol and other drugs as part of their sexual experience.

Recent research by Brook in Blackburn found that 67% of young people said they were more likely to have unprotected sex when they were drunk. The facts are clear, we need to overcome our cultural reticence about sex as part of our commitment to helping them build healthy relationships and look after their sexual and emotional health.

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