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Study on the sexual behavior of young people

The Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) has found that more than one third of young people are pressured to have their first sexual intercourse.

11/01/12 11:27
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From left to right: Alfonso Osorio, Silvia Carlos, Jokin de Irala, Miguel Ruiz-Canela and PHOTO:

According to a study conducted by researchers at Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, one third of young people suffer some pressure to have their first sexual intercourse.

This is the result of a work published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, graduate 'First sexual intercourse and subsequent regret in three developing countries' and developed within the project "Education of Affectivity and Human Sexuality", directed by Dr. Jokin de Irala, Associate Dean of the School of Medicine of the academic center.

Alfonso Osorio, Cristina López-del Burgo, Silvia Carlos and Miguel Ruiz-Canela, from the University of Navarra, and Miguel Delgado, from the University of Jaén, more than 8,000 students between 14 and 18 years of age from different Latin American countries participated in the analysis.

A third of them reported having suffered some pressure subject before their first sexual intercourse, such as the insistence of the partner or the fear of losing it, and the fact that their friends claimed to have already had sex. "Another reason," says one of the authors of work, Professor Alfonso Osorio, "was to get carried away by sexual stimuli, such as having seen pornographic images, as stated by 50% of the adolescents in the study".

Likewise, the young people who said they felt pressured said they would have preferred not to have such sexual relations.

Regarding the main differences between girls and boys, the specialists point out that while the boys claimed that they "got carried away" in that first relationship, the girls made the decision to have their first sexual relationship "out of love". In this sense, the girls expressed more regret about that first experience, "although the boys also said they would have preferred not to do it at that time," Dr. Osorio emphasizes.

Protecting young people's health
On the other hand, the Associate Dean of the School of Medicine, Jokin de Irala, reminds us that sexual relations between adolescents are considered risky behavior in Public Health: "That is why agencies such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control in the United States) recommend that young people delay the age at which they start having sex, since condoms reduce but do not prevent the risk of contracting infections".

In addition, the specialist clarifies that knowing the situations that lead adolescents to initiate sexual activity "is fundamental for planning strategies aimed at protecting the health of young people. As a starting point, we now know that the abundance of erotic stimuli in the youth environment -such as videos, movies, music, magazines, wrong attitudes towards masturbation, etc.- leads them to sexual relations that are less free and that they would later prefer not to have had".