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An increasing number of youngsters are having sex with new partners and more often than not, it is unsafe. The percentage of such young people has risen to 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the USA and 19 percent in the UK in the last three years.

Myths and Misconceptions about Sex and Contraception Plague Teenagers around the World

It was “World Contraception Day” on September 26. A study prepared for this occasion, Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception", reports that despite the introduction of sex education in schools and colleges, myths and misconceptions about sex and contraception plague teenagers around the world. An increasing number of youngsters are having sex with new partners and more often than not, it is unsafe. The percentage of such young people has risen to 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the USA and 19 percent in the UK in the last three years.



These results have been found through a survey written and sponsored by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and endorsed by 11 international non-governmental organizations. It quizzed 5,426 young people across 26 countries in Asia pacific, Europe, Latin America and the USA about their perception of sex and contraception. 600 young people from Egypt, Kenya and Uganda were also surveyed.

The survey collected information about whether the young people had an access to accurate and unbiased Information about contraception and whether they are in a position to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.




The results show that either the young people do not receive adequate sex education or they are getting wrong information about the subject. Therefore, they indulge in unsafe sex. Either they are ignorant about contraception or do not feel empowered enough to insist on contraceptive methods to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Imparting Sex Education is Necessary to Empower the Youth to Assert Their Sexual Health Rights

In Latin America, Asia Pacific and the USA, three fourths of the students have access to sex education, while in Europe only 50 percent students have this advantage. Even in countries like Korea and Singapore, where sex education is mandatory for all students, the atmosphere of the class rooms is such that majority of students are too embarrassed to ask questions. According to Jennifer Woodside, a spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the sex education provided isn't quite as wide ranging and comprehensive as it could be. As a result, students end up getting knowledge about this important subject from either their friends or through internet, both of which can be unreliable at times.




A large number of young people who participated in the survey, acknowledged the fact that they forego contraception if their partner does not appreciate it. This shows that imparting sex education is necessary to empower the youth to assert their sexual health rights. Sex education should not be only about emphasizing on the reproductive aspects of adolescent sexuality. Rather, it should include knowledge about sexual expression, fulfillment and pleasure as well as reproduction.

Sex education should be geared towards busting the innumerable myths surrounding the topic. The survey showed that many young people in Thailand and India believe that having sex during menstruation is an effective form of contraception. Unless they get enough knowledge about sex and contraception through reliable sources, these myths will continue to abound. It is time we realized that it is the right of young people to be informed about their sexuality and reproductive health so that they are empowered to make the correct choices.

  • “The ‘Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to Be Informed about Contraception’ Media Report”, World Contraception Day, published on September 26, 2011
  • accessed on September 27, 2011
  • “More youngsters having unsafe sex: global study”, Reuters, published on September 26,2011, accessed on September 29, 2011

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