Sex among young people while they are intoxicated

Export Indicator

The proportion of young people who have had sex while intoxicated during the preceding 12 months
What it measures

Sexual intercourse, while one or both partners are intoxicated, is more likely than otherwise to be unplanned, and couples are therefore less likely to use condoms. This indicator describes the prevalence of sexual intercourse in such circumstances. In order to avoid double counting when both partners are included in a survey, the indicator is limited to asking whether the respondent was intoxicated (not whether his or her partner was intoxicated). By including all young people in the denominator instead of sexually active young people, any complication due to a shift in the number sexually active is avoided.


The number of respondents aged 15-24 years who have had sex while intoxicated during the preceding 12 months. NOTE: Intoxicating substances should be defined and reported at the country level, e.g. alcohol, cannabis, injectable drugs. The substances most relevant in each country can therefore be used in this indicator.


The number of respondents aged 15-24 years.

Method of measurement

In a general population survey the respondents are first asked whether they had sex during the preceding 12 months. Those who answer affirmatively are asked whether they were intoxicated, as defined in the country concerned, during the last three occasions when they had sex during this period. This indicator should be presented as a percentage and disaggregated by sex and into the age groups 15–19, 20–24 and 15–24 years.

Measurement frequency

Age group: 15 years - 19 years, 15 years - 24 years, 20 years - 24 years

Education: N/A

Gender: Male, Female

Geographic location: N/A

Pregnancy status: N/A

Sector: N/A

Target: N/A

Time period: N/A

Type of orphan: N/A

Vulnerability status: N/A

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

The point at which people describe themselves as intoxicated is subjective. Moreover, the effects of intoxication depend on the substance used. This indicator is therefore difficult to interpret as between cultures in which different substances are used. The context of substance use must be carefully considered. The indicator could include sex after social drinking, sex after taking a sedative or drug rape. This indicator is best used for comparison within a defined population over time. Information on the proportion of all young people who have used a substance of interest in the year before the survey may be of value in aiding the interpretation of the indicator.

Further information