Heavy Drinking Among College Women Leading To Better Condom Use

People always get panicky  when it comes to young women and sex, but throw alcohol and drugs into the mix and you’ve got some serious, widespread hysteria going on.

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But recent statistics show us there’s little to fear, and actually, quite a bit to be hopeful for. A year-long study found that young women are much better about using condoms after they’ve been drinking or smoking marijuana-- both better than what was previously thought and their male sexual partners [Certain].

Around 70% of sexual acts taken after drinking involved a condom, whereas only 59% of those sober were. Even in instances where four or more alcoholic beverages were consumed, college girls were still adamant about protection. Let’s face it: no one wants to take Plan B while hung-over, right?

Has there been a revolution in the way college kids view and use condoms? Does it have something to do with how easy it is to access condoms on college campuses these days?  Previous studies have found that students are either reluctant or ignorant about safe sex. But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore-- now, it’s almost expected, whether intoxicated or not, that a condom be involved in the act. The study even found was that for some young women, particularly those who were Asian and Asian-American, drinking may have even made them bolder in requesting that their partners use a condom.

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Young women who smoked marijuana before or during a sexual act were also more likely to use a condom than during smoke-free acts-- 67% of women having sex while high used condoms, as opposed to the 61% who did while not smoking. This is not significant enough to make a huge difference, although women who engaged in sex with a steady relationship partner while high were much less-likely to use a condom than almost every other group.

In fact, whether or not the relationship was steady or casual was the biggest indicator of whether or not proper protection was used, far more than any substance use. Those who engaged in relationships with a steady partner were more relaxed about condom usage. Many were using other forms of contraception, and no doubt figured they could forgo the latex with a partner they trusted. But those sexual encounters that took place with a new person or a casual relationship weren’t as trusting. Wisely so. We've mentioned previously that nearly one in four college students have contracted an STD or STI at some point.

While it does make us hopeful that young people are moving in a safe direction, more studies should be done before any hypothesis about drinking and condom usage are considered proven. Since this particular one only examined young women at a northeastern university with an already high rate of condom use, a survey of different schools around the country that have different types of safe sex programs may yield far different results, as could examining a group of young men, or women who are not in college. But we are looking forward to a brighter future with young people who know when to wrap it.

 

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