Attitudes Toward Sex:
Surprising Statistics About Young Adults
What's the right age to become sexually active? Research shows that waiting to have sex until you are 17 years or older reaps benefits. Among other benefits, being older when you first have sex:
- Means that you have educated yourself about sex, and understand the risks.
- Reduces the risk of being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
- Reduces the number of sexual partners you have in your lifetime, which reduces the risk of being diagnosed with an STI or having an unplanned pregnancy.
- Reduces the risk of contracting HPV, which can cause cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in both men and women.
Information gathered by Nursing Schools in 2010 and the American College Health Association in 2012 shows some shocking statistics on STIs and sexual behavior by college students:
- 25 percent of college students have an STI.
- Only 54 percent of students use condoms during vaginal sex, 29 percent during anal sex, and 4 percent during oral sex.
- The CDC estimates that 19 million new STIs occur each year, almost half among 15 to 24 year olds.
- 52.6 percent of college students reported using a method of contraception the last time they had vaginal intercourse while 47.6 percent didn't use a method or didn't remember.
- 80 percent of people with STIs do not show any symptoms.
- 15.6 percent of sexually active college students reported using (or reported their partner using) emergency contraception ("morning after pill") within the last 12 months.
- Over 45 percent of college freshmen who had been binge drinking and under the influence of alcohol failed to use contraception when having sex; 15 percent of these students contracted and/or spread STIs to other college students.
- Many college students believe they can tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. However, it is impossible to tell if someone has an STI just by seeing them.
These statistics suggest that many people are unaware of the side effects of having unprotected sex. Don't be one of them! Make sure you read up on accurate information about sexual health.
Track your progress using your Young Adult WAY2GO! Dashboard.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
10 Truly Shocking Stats on STDs & College Students, NursingSchools.net
National College Health Assessment, American College Health Association
For More Information:
See our Ethical Sex article.
See our First-Time Sex articles.
See our Birth Control & Safe Sex article.
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: June 24, 2013