Sex lives of students survey reveals high levels of unprotected sex

More than half of students do not use contraception in every sexual encounter, while almost two thirds have never been tested for a sexually transmitted infection.

The findings are among the results of a survey of more than 600 students around the country conducted on behalf of University College Cork student magazine Motley.

The survey also found that:

- More than 7% of respondents said they had never used contraception;

- 14% said they had had a threesome;

- 10% said they had not had sex in a year;

- 14% had had sex with someone they met through the internet and two thirds said it had been a negative experience;

- More than 70% had sent a “sext”;

- 14% said they had webcam sex at least once;

- 22% said they had cheated on their partner;

- Almost 11% said they had had between 11 and 20 sexual partners;

- 10% said they had contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI);

- 90% said they had had unprotected oral sex.

Editor of Motley magazine, Kieran Murphy, said that while many of the findings would not prove surprising to students, some did indicate that more work needed to be done in promoting the use of contraception and the need for sex education at both second and third level.

“It was to highlight the issues and problems,” he said of the survey, adding that just 46% of respondents said they used contraception every time they had sex.

The reasons provided for not using condoms included that it did not feel good; they could not find one; or that the couple were drunk.

Similarly, more people gave as a reason for using contraception the desire to avoid pregnancy, as opposed to wishing not to contract an STI.

On the issue of people meeting through the internet or social media, many use apps such as Tinder. About 16% of respondents said they had met someone through a mobile dating service.

The survey also received answers from 340 non-students and found that marginally more students, as a percentage, are having regular sex than non-students.

However, there was a similarly low level of people in that category who used contraception every time they had sex.

Mr Murphy said the results showed that most young people only became sexually active after leaving secondary school.

“I think that the Government and schools should be putting more emphasis on sex education in the final two years of secondary school, but also the colleges and students’ unions have a responsibility to educate freshers that are coming in [to third level].”

* Full survey results will be on www.uccmotley.ie.


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