Number of sex partners linked to drug dependency

Last updated 11:15 27/02/2013
sex and drugs linked

SEX, DRUGS & RESEARCH: A new University of Otago study has found that women who had 2.5 or more partners each year increased their odds of having a substance dependence disorder by up to 17 times.

Related Links

Dangers in online drug sales Sex on a first date. Would you?

Relevant offers

Love & Sex

Halal speed dating is 'the anti-Tinder' Man caught cheating on Facebook wants to win girlfriend back How to talk about sexually transmitted diseases Why don't some men realise it's over until it's too late? Candid confession: My illicit affair might just have a happy ending Growing up as the child of a secret affair Single woman's Facebook post seeking man from bar backfires when his girlfriend replies Life on the fence: Neil Rosenthal 'It's a match!' Now when do we have the STD talk? My infatuation with a married man has me acting like a teenager

The more sex partners young women have, the more likely they are to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, says a new study.

University of Otago researchers found young people in general were at greater odds of developing alcoholism and cannabis dependency the more sex partners they had - with the odds even greater for young women.

The study tracked the health and behaviour of more than 1000 people from birth in Dunedin in 1972-73.

Researchers looked at how many sex partners the study participants had during three age periods: 18-20, 21-25, and 26-31 years.

They then looked at their mental health immediately after each period, including anxiety, depression, and substance dependence.

The study's lead author, Dr Sandhya Ramrakha, said women who had 2.5 or more partners each year increased their odds of having a substance dependence disorder by up to 17 times.

"This is a striking increase in the risk of substance disorder," said Ramrakha.

"Furthermore, when we used a model to compare men and women who had more than 10-20 sex partners in the same periods, we found that these women were much more likely to have a substance disorder than the men."

She said the strong link between the number of sex partners and substance disorders stayed even after taking into account pre-existing mental disorders and substance problems.

The researchers said an explanation for the results could be that sex, drugs, and alcohol were part of a cluster of "risk-taking behaviours" that developed in adolescence.

"Or it may be due to the disinhibitory effects of alcohol and cannabis providing opportunities for sexual behaviour," said Ramrakha.

"Context may be another explanation, that is, pubs and bars are also places where one can easily meet partners."

Ramrakha said more research was needed to figure out what was behind the link so solutions could be found.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Do long-distance relationships work?

Yes, if you work at them.

No, they're a waste of time and money.

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content