New Article In Advice!– “Is sex considered rape if both people are drunk?”

Is sex considered rape if both people are drunk?

Answered by Break the Cycle
Reviewed by M. Keskinen on 05/09/2013

Is sex considered rape if both people are drunk?   

This is a tricky question. Rape or attempted rape is a form of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone into unwanted sexual activity, or a sexual situation that makes him or her feel uncomfortable. It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control his or her sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including nonconsensual oral sex, rape, or restricting access to birth control and condoms. Some examples of sexual assault and abuse are:

·         Unwanted kissing or touching

·         Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity

·         Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control

·         Keeping someone from protecting him- or herself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

·         Threatening or pressuring someone into unwanted sexual activity

In order for sex to be consensual and not sexual assault, both parties must freely give verbal consent. Legal definitions of rape vary by state, but if one partner is intoxicated, drugged, unconscious, or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no” to sexual activity, the activity is considered sexual assault. It is very risky to engage in sexual behavior if you or your partner have been drinking heavily or using other drugs. If either or both partners are too intoxicated to give verbal consent, sex can be considered rape. Additionally, if you know that your partner would not want to engage in sexual activity while sober, it is wrong and perhaps illegal to try to persuade them while they are intoxicated even if they do consent.

Being intoxicated after voluntarily drinking alcohol is generally not a defense or excuse to rape.  In rape cases where the alleged rapist is intoxicated, this fact may reduce the severity of the criminal charge, but a person may still be found guilty of rape or sexual assault.

Blog-only note: If you feel that you may have been sexually assaulted, or have questions about how to get meaningful consent, please contact your school’s student health services, counseling office, or Dean of Students office for help and guidance. Often, there will be a directory on your school’s website that will help you find phone numbers and different services on campus. Your school may also be listed on ULifeline.

This item appears on our MyStudentBody-Student site in the Advice section.

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