A new study prepared for World Contraception Day (WCD) found some troubling results: The numbers of teens having unprotected sex increased dramatically over the last three years. The rates of risky teen sex rose by an astonishing 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the U.S., and 19 percent in Britain.
The study, sponsored by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, polled over 6,000 young people in 26 countries around the world about their thoughts on sex and contraception. What they found was many young people are uninformed or too embarrassed to ask questions about sex.
Denise Keller, a member of the WCD task force noted:
“No matter where you are in the world, barriers exist which prevent teenagers from receiving trustworthy information about sex and contraception, which is probably why myths and misconceptions remain so widespread even today.
“When young people have access to contraceptive information and services, they can make choices that affect every aspect of their lives which is why it’s so important that accurate and unbiased information is easily available for young people to obtain.”
Unplanned pregnancies are a global concern for the WCD. Many health officials trace the rise in unprotected sex and pregnancies to misconceptions about sex. Only half of the study respondents in Europe said they had some sex education from school. In Egypt, many respondents thought taking a shower after sex could prevent pregnancy, and more than a quarter of participants in Thailand and India thought having sex during menstruation was a suitable form on contraception.
Heath officials say teens need greater access to sex education to combat their misconceptions about sex.
Jennifer Woodside, spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said:
“What young people are telling us is that they are not receiving enough sex education or the wrong type of information about sex and sexuality.”
“The results show that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs (sexually transmitted infections).”
“How can young people make decisions that are right for them and protect them from unwanted pregnancy and STIs, if we do not empower them and enable them to acquire the skills they need to make those choices?”
Growing up, did you feel comfortable talking about sex? Did you take a sex education class in school or did you have “the talk” with your parents?