In September 2008, we asked you all about your sex lives. You told us about your attitudes towards sexual health and revealed how much you knew about STIs.
- 2042 people aged 16 to 24 completed the survey;
- Males and females were equally represented;
- All areas of the UK were represented.
At the time of the survey, 92% of you were sexually active and 75% have been having sex for more than two years. Those who hadn't had sex were more likely to be male. The majority of you (62%) have had no more than five sexual partners.
The average age to lose your virginity was 16 years and 2 months. Two thirds of you who were sexually active were happy about when and where you lost your virginity. 68% of you that hadn't had sex yet said that you wanted to and that most of your friends already had.
Reasons for unhappiness about losing your virginity:
- Wrong person (75%);
- Too young (40%);
- Wrong place (40%);
- Didn't enjoy it (38%);
- Drunk (27%);
- Too nervous (16%).
Alcohol and sex
As we're often reminded, drinking alcohol reduces our ability to think clearly and lowers our inhibitions. So it's perhaps not surprising that two thirds (66%) of you had engaged in some kind of sexual activity whilst drunk.
Some of you (43%) said you had kissed or slept with someone you wouldn't normally fancy because you were drunk. Others mentioned more regrettable behaviour such as having unprotected sex (32%) or going home with a stranger (22%).
Just over half (53%) of you said you always used contraception or protection. However, the rest of you said you only used it sometimes, not very often or never.
Main reasons for not always using contraception or protection:
- Long term relationship/trust partner;
- Don't have any;
- Don't think/forget;
- Using other protection e.g. pill;
- Too drunk.
Awareness and knowledge of STIs
The STI you were most likely to have heard of was HIV and AIDs; 44% of you said you knew a lot about the virus. Chlamydia was also recognised by a large proportion of you - 82% had heard of it but only two thirds knew something about it. 78% of you had heard of Gonorrhoea but less than six in ten of you had any knowledge about it. Overall there was a clear gap between awareness and knowledge about different infections.
Information and advice about sexual health
More than half of you were worried about getting an STI. 80% of you agreed that if you thought you had one you would go for treatment straight away. However, 56% of you would feel embarrassed to do so. More than half of you had never sought advice or information about STIs.
Where would you go for information:
- Your GP (30%);
- The internet (29%);
- GUM clinic (13%);
- Family planning clinic (8%);
- Parents (3%).
The majority of you said that parents or guardians were ultimately responsible for educating young people about sex and sexual health. However, 20% of you thought that this was the responsibility of schools and teachers.
42% of you said you weren't taught enough at school. 30% of you also thought that you were not taught about sex and sexual health at the right age. Only a third of you felt that teachers took sex education very seriously and just 26% of you would feel comfortable asking questions at school about sex and sexual health.