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Young Adults Know Nothing About Sex

By Nina Jacinto
 
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That's what a new study claims - According to a study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, young adults may believe in planned pregnancies, but their habits say otherwise.

Of the 1,800 young adults surveyed, 29 percent of women and 42 percent of men said there is somewhat of a likely chance that they will have unprotected sex in the next three months. It's very likely for 17 percent of women and 19 percent of men.

Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, attributes the results to abstinence-only education. She tells CNN, "Abstinence-only curriculums have gone explicitly out of their way to teach misconceptions about contraception ... This generation of 20-somethings have missed many opportunities to get medically accurate and correct information."

The majority of people said they knew very little or nothing at all about oral contraceptives and 30 percent knew little about condoms.

Even more startling? How many myths men and women believed. Twenty-eight percent of men believed wearing two condoms is better than wearing one. Eighteen percent believed that having sex while standing up would reduce the chance of getting females pregnant. Four in 10 respondents said that birth control has no effect on pregnancy, and that you become pregnant when it's your time.

Do these results say that young people are stupid?

No, but it does say they're not getting educated. Young adults are subscribing to the knowledge of uneducated peers and of abstinence only education, which doesn't provide accurate and practical information about contraception and safe sex practices. They may know about condoms but they don't know how to use them properly. They may know about the pill but not where to get it and how to use it effectively. They think they know about safe sex, but they're actually increasing their risk of getting pregnant. It's frustrating and devastating and the results are rippling through the communities: a quarter of teenage girls have an STD and teen pregnancy is on the rise.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Diane Porter

Nina,

You are exactly right. There is nothing more powerful than information, and we aren't giving enough of it to our young people.

I am constantly surprised at some of the questions we get here at EmpowHER from young women -- sometimes young teens -- about sex, their periods and their bodies. They are simply not being educated about these things. We see questions from girls who have missed their periods for two or three months and want to know what's wrong. We see questions from girls who "dry humped" with their boyfriends -- both fully clothed -- and are freaking out that they might be pregnant. They don't know about ovulation. Many times they aren't and haven't considered using condoms or other birth control. And they aren't even asking about STDs, which worries me even more. At least they know enough to ask about pregnancy.

I understand the concept behind abstinence-only programs, but I don't understand the inability of such programs to pass on such basic information as how the body works. It appears we're abstaining from truthful information as well.

Great post, Nina. Keep up the good fight.

December 18, 2009 - 8:29am
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