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Why Young Adults Take Sexual Risks

Researchers discover a consistent theme of social factors influence younger adult sexual behavior on a worldwide basis. Unfortunately social context, including the difficulty in openly discussing sex, perpetuates risky sexual practices.

The finding comes from a review of 268 studies on the sexual behavior of under-25-year-olds from South Africa to Sweden. In all countries, social expectations of how men and women “should behave” frustrate campaigners’ efforts to encourage safer sex.

Why Young Adults Take Sexual RisksFor example, the review found young women often feel their reputation will be sullied if they carry condoms, and young men often feel pressured into having sex when they get the opportunity, whether they have a condom or not.

It also found that young people around the world find it hard to even discuss the possibility of sex with potential partners, which makes it difficult to plan condom use.

Other common themes included, for example, a tendency to try and guess the HIV status of potential partners using unreliable indicators such as an individual’s appearance, or how well they know them. Young people are less likely to use condoms if they guess that the partner is ‘clean’.

Dr. Cicely Marston, of LSHTM, who led the review, said it showed why many campaigns to encourage safer sex had failed. ‘Our findings help to explain why many HIV programs have not been effective’, she said.

‘Giving out condoms and information is vital, but it is not enough. Even where young people know about the importance of condoms, social factors – in particular stereotypes about how men and women should behave and a reluctance to talk openly about sex – hamper their use. Safer sex campaigns need to tackle these issues if they are to succeed’.

Source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Why Young Adults Take Sexual Risks

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Why Young Adults Take Sexual Risks. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2006/11/03/why-young-adults-take-sexual-risks/383.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.