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Drunk at a party: how do I find out if someone had sex with me?

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Brie asks:

I was at a party and got really drunk that I can't even remember what I was doing that night and all I wanted to to do was fall asleep. But this one guy I knew got in bed with me too and I remember we did some stuff and he tried having sex with me. I can't exactly remember if he did get it in. But I remember that in the process of him trying it was hurting really bad. Is there a way that I can find out if we had intercourse or he did get it in me?

Heather Corinna replies:

Save talking to this guy -- or discovering you became pregnant or contracted a sexually transmitted infection -- there's no way for you to find out what went on at this point. Had you gone into the police or the hospital right away, they could have looked for traces of semen or abrasions to your vulva, but even if something had happened, those things are not always present or something a person can find or assure.

However, if this guy is not someone you know in terms of being safe for you, and you or your friends know or have the idea that he knew you were drunk (and it sounds like it would have been pretty obvious you were), I'd not make contact with him, since we're talking about a date rape here. Instead, I'd consider going to the police or a hospital to be examined as soon as possible. They can take any evidence there that might be left and then you'll have what you need to be able to press charges if you decide that is something you want to do.

But it does sound like your memory includes at least an attempt at vaginal entry or some kind of sex, so what I'd suggest, at the very least, is getting into your doctor's office in the next month for testing for any infections. If it's been less than 120 hours since this happened, you also have the option of using emergency contraception -- see: Emergency Contraception (Plan B or the Morning-After-Pill) -- in the case that there was a pregnancy risk. Unfortunately, those are really your only options at this point when it comes to finding out if something happened -- and it sounds like it did -- and doing what you can to protect yourself from or manage any negative physical consequences after-the-fact.

In terms of any emotional issues, you certainly can talk to your healthcare provider, a school or other counselor, or get support and care from your friends and/or family. If you do feel like or suspect this was a date rape -- that this was someone who had sex on you knowing you were passed out and/or couldn't give consent -- you can also get in touch with a hotline or online counseling service through RAINN.

Please, please, PLEASE remember that while someone doing something sexual to you while you are inebriated or blacked out means you are not in a position to give legal consent, and therefore, we're often talking about a sexual assault, that getting wasted does put you at a greater risk of sexual abuses, assaults, and of you voicing or otherwise expressing consent when you're in no position to do so.

As well, when people are drunk, they tend to skip things like safer sex and birth control, get engaged in sex or keep company with people who just aren't safe or sound. If you regularly hang out in a group where a lot of drinking or binge drinking is common, know too that there are predatory people in the world who figure out really quick who the group of girls are that are often completely wasted and where y'all go. They see you and they see an easy opportunity to do what they want to or with you, and unlike you, they often won't be drunk, or will know their limit and keep to it, so they've got the upper hand when it comes to exploiting you. And let's face it: usually the groups of people who are the heavy drinkers are not the kinds of folks who are invested in anyone's safety or well-being. You can't count on someone to be looking out for you who is too plastered to see straight, nor can anyone count on you. This is probably not the girl you want to be.

I don't need to tell you that underage drinking is illegal: you've got to already know that. But bigger than the legal issues are the issues it presents to your physical health, your well-being and your safety. Binge drinking or drinking in excess to the point you're drunk presents a host of health problems -- and for women, some of those risks are higher -- and with young people particularly, since you don't tend to know your limits, the dangers of serious alcohol poisoning are increased. In terms of sexual safety, while alcohol makes parts of our sexuality work less well -- it's harder to get aroused, erect or lubricated; tougher to reach orgasm -- it also will often make us feel more less inhibited, so we'll make choices we would not have made sober, some of which put us at the risk of unwanted consequences.

If you are going to drink, not only do you want to do so in moderation, you want to only do so in a place you know, without a doubt, is safe for you. That's probably at home, with your folks, or if not that, only in a place where you know everyone with you and know that all of those people have your back: where you don't have to worry about some guy crawling into bed with you and trying to have sex with you. Or, you can make sure that if you're going out drinking, that you have a friend where you both set a sound drink limit for each other -- like just a drink or two at a maximum -- help one another remember it, and get each other home, where you can go to sleep in a place that is safe for being asleep in.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.