It's probably no surprise to you that, when it comes to having safe sex, a lot of us don't do as well as we should. But new research from DrEd.com and CollegeStats.org shows just how large the impact of those risky behaviors can be. They looked at 2,000 current and former college students to get an idea of what was happening on college campuses. In addition to finding out who were the most sexually active colleges, they got an idea of who was (and wasn't) using condoms. And wow, so many of us are *not* getting the message. Because we have to remember not only to factor in our own sexually partners, but all of their partners as well.
"Using protection is very important to our health because you're indirectly exposed to more people than you might think," Kip Wright, part of the creative team for CollegeStats.org. tells Bustle. "If you've slept with 13 partners, you're indirectly exposed to over 150 people! Many universities offer free contraceptives on campus and it's important for students to take advantage of these resources."
In fact, you can check out their online tool to work out how many people you've been exposed to. In my case, it was the equivalent of all of Glasgow. Yup.
It's not meant to shame anyone, but instead, serve as a reminder to protect yourself and get tested. "There are plenty of extremely smart students on college campuses, studying everything from applied mathematics to biomedical engineering, but using contraceptives during sex is ultimately the smartest decision," CollegeStats.org explains on their site. "However, it seems that some students may be missing this piece of knowledge. Contraceptives like condoms go beyond preventing unwanted pregnancies, as discussed by Planned Parenthood. They also help prevent unwanted sexually transmitted diseases." It's pretty scary stuff.
Here's how the numbers broke down:
115 Percent *Never* Use Condoms
OK, wow. So not only do 15 percent of college students never do it, four percent only do it when their partner asks. In fact, only 62 percent of us usually or always use condoms. Granted, there are other methods of birth control (I had the IUD for years), but they don't protect you against pregnancy and STIs.
2Men Are More Likely To Never Use Them — Or Only Do It When Asked
Talk about a stereotype — but 75 percent of people who only do it when asked were men. I am hoping the fact that 65 percent of the 'other' respondents being women means that they're on other forms of birth control, but we can't be sure. Interestingly, when it comes to the folks who always use condoms, it was even 50/50 split between men and women.
3The Riskier The Behavior, The More Sexual Partners
There's nothing wrong with having a lot of sexual partners. I've had a lot of sexual partners. But you should know that the people who never use condoms are having sex with more people in — so that means more unsafe exposure. You have to put your sexual health first and insist that you're both being safe, no matter how many people you're sleeping with.
For some reason, too many of us have become complacent about our sexual health, but it has to stop. Look at the numbers, think of the risks, and be safe. You deserve it.