By Cody Boteler
“While we can’t really speculate back and forth, it was kind of surprising with it being 2017, we thought sex ed might be more prevalent,” Krista Bowman, a spokeswoman for the creative team at Superdrug Online Doctor, a service that provides mail order prescriptions and services including contraceptives and treatments for some STI’s, told USA TODAY College. “It looks to be, overall, that the majority of people are having unprotected sex.”
Very few people use condoms regularly, the survey shows.
The survey, which was done online with 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Europeans, also showed that of people who said they would be “devastated” by an unplanned pregnancy, 19% still said they had sex without a condom “every single time,” with a further 15% saying they had sex without a condom “almost every time.”
If you’d be “devastated” by an accidental pregnancy, why don’t you use a condom every time?
Oh, and Europeans aren’t much better than Americans: Over 55% of Europeans are avoiding condom use too.
Sexually active people don’t seem too focused on avoiding sexually transmitted infections, either:
- Over 68% of survey respondents said that they “never” asked their partners to get tested for STI’s before having sex.
- Women were about 8% more likely to say they’d ask their partner to get tested before having sex.
Missy Ronan, the Student Government Association Director of Health & Wellness at Towson University, was shocked when she heard the results of the survey. Ronan said that people should be able to discuss sex, getting tested and protecting themselves openly and honestly.
“People know what sex does, right?” Ronan said. “I guess it’s hard because STI’s still have the connotation of being dirty, or unclean. But, really, it’s just like any other kind of testing, it’s just another test you need to have a clean bill of health.”
Bowman agreed. “From these numbers, we just want people to open up and have honest conversations about sexual health,” she said.
Megan Graves, a senior at Towson University who writes about sexual health, said she was disheartened when she heard the survey results.
“I guess it comes down to people not wanting to talk about protection,” Graves said. “That’s not the sexy part of having sex.”
This survey isn’t the first study to find a serious lack of condom use.
Which, despite what you may have heard about breaking or leaking condoms, is kind of a shame. According to data collected by Planned Parenthood, condoms are remarkably effective at pregnancy prevention when used correctly — 98% effective, in fact.
Those little rubber warriors are also effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
And it’s not that hard to get up to speed. Numerous online resources exist for the whole purpose of helping partners navigate sexual health, including a newly-launched educational service from Pornhub. The YouTube channel sexplanations features videos on all sorts of sexual health topics, including how to communicate with your partners.
Related: Trojan’s new No. 1 school for sexual health is Univ. of GeorgiaBowman, Ronan and Graves all agreed that anyone who’s going to be having sex needs to be comfortable having frank, honest conversations with their partners.
“It’s super situational,” Graves said. “I mean, if you have the time to do it, if you’re talking to somebody before you’re actually physically having sex with them, you have a window to have those conversations.”
Yeah, the conversations can be awkward, Graves said, especially if it’s with someone you just met or don’t know really well.
But, really, if you’re not comfortable having those kinds of talks but still want to be safe, that’s all the more reason to make sure you use a condom.