One in six Irish women in their 20s feel ill-informed on the basic facts about sex and contraception, despite having more access to information than ever before.
According to a worldwide survey by Bayer Healthcare — which included 400 Irish women — over a third of young women here indicated they want more information on contraception options.
A reported 70% were unaware of long acting reversible contraception (LARC), while nearly three quarters claim that they were never offered any LARC methods by their doctor.
More than one in 10 who were aware of LARC had ruled out the option due to various myths and misconceptions about the methods.
Some participants did not realise LARC is effective and suitable for many women of different ages, including those who did not have children. There is generally no delay in return to fertility with most of the options.
The study also revealed 58% of Irish women admit to sharing information on sex or contraception with others without knowing if it was accurate. Some 41% wanted to know more about sexual performance, sexual positions, and reaching orgasm.
The survey found the information gap for young Irish women had reinforced various myths and misconceptions around sex and contraception.
Examples included one in seven Irish women in their 20s, availing of contraception, believe they cannot get pregnant while menstruating — more than the European average of one in 10.
Almost one third believe they cannot catch sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from oral sex, while 58% on contraception confessed to having shared information about contraception or sex with others, despite being unsure whether it was true.
Commenting on the research, GP Dr Sinéad Beirne said young women have so much information available to them now, they often cannot analyse it.
“Younger women turn to their preferred information channels, such as the internet and social media, for any personal problems, but they are usually not able to analyse the quality of the information. The impact of that, however, was often the information shared between friends can be exaggerated or misinterpreted. This can then fuel myths and misconceptions around sex and contraception,” she said.
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