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Let’s talk about sex

by Sara Baron-Goodman September 16, 2014
Let’s talk about sex

Dont be silly, wrap your willies

Safe sex – it’s a concept that has been drilled into our young malleable minds since prepubescence. Whether you practiced on bananas or watched your school nurse do a demo on a giant wooden dildo (the image of which is forever seared into my brain), most of us were well-acquainted with the how-to of condom usage well before we were ever putting one on with a partner.

And yet, in a new survey launched last week by Trojan and reported by Nerve, only 35 per cent of participating young adults who were single or in a relationship of under two years claim to always abide by the “no glove no love” mantra.

Unfortunately, this stat isn’t all too surprising.

Granted, the Trojan study did only poll heterosexual couples, which leaves out a significant segment of the sexually active demographic, but that demographic is playing with the fires of both STIs and pregnancy, so it’s still not so encouraging.

The pull-out method is statistically only 80-85 per cent effective, if we’re talking about avoiding pregnancy. As for STIs, we’re leaving ourselves wide open.

So why are we, as a generalization, so lax about condom usage? It could be that women are relying on other forms of birth control — according to sexualityandu.ca, just over half of Canadian women in their 20s use the pill. So that, at best, covers 52 per cent of young women against unwanted pregnancies, if they use the pill correctly (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t forgotten it once or twice?). It’s something, but it’s definitely not everything.

If it’s not naivety or lack of knowledge that’s stopping us from keeping everything under wraps, so to speak, what is it?  Some guys say condoms are uncomfortable, and many women and men can attest that bareback feels better. In the heat of the moment, we can’t be expected to make sound decisions, right? So is it a pleasure thing? Is it forgetfulness?

Maybe it can all be chalked up to the invincibility of youth. It’s easy to employ that “it won’t happen to me” mentality, and maybe it won’t, but the remaining 65 per cent of young adults that Trojan polled can’t all be exceptions to the rule.

Lord knows I’m not here to preach, and this study has some gaping holes in it, but we can’t neglect to see a trend here.

Whatever the reason, the most important thing is finding an answer that young adults can get on board with. Whether this be in the form of innovations in birth control (I’m looking at you, spray-on condoms and male birth control), new marketing for traditional condoms, or even a personal scare, we all need a serious change of attitude.

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