There's a lot of baseless hysteria about college women and their sexual behaviors, but a new study reveals some data that's actually disturbing: as women spend more time in college, they're less likely to use condoms.
According to LiveScience, researchers asked 279 female freshmen at a university in the Northeast how often they used condoms during sex — they conducted the study monthly over the course of the academic year. The result: the women's frequency of condom use dropped about 10% during that year. Obviously some people get on the Pill when they go to college. And indeed, use of other contraception like birth control pills was linked to lower rates of condom use. But as the study authors note, the pill doesn't protect against STDs. And the women who quit using condoms weren't all in monogamous, mutually tested relationships. Condom use declined across all groups, monogamous or not.
In fact, women who had multiple sexual partners were actually less likely than the monogamously-inclined to use condoms even at the start of the study. The women most likely to quit condoms over time were also more likely to have low GPAs, low socioeconomic status, and high rates of binge drinking. All this data shows that while women do need education about condom use before they start college, sex ed shouldn't stop there. Rather, universities and public health advocates need to be doing outreach to make sure women are protecting themselves at all stages of their education. And at colleges — where, let's face it, lots of people do drink — health staff need to look at ways to help young people have safer sex even if they've been partying.
Women's Condom Use Drops During 1st Year of College [LiveScience]
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