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Sexual behavior of university students

The students showed a lack of responsibility in areas of sexuality and family planning

University of Seville

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IMAGE: This is Fátima Leon-Larios and Juana Macías-Seda. view more 

Credit: University of Seville

The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry of the University of Seville. It looked at the sexual behaviour of the students at the university. The results show that there is a lack of knowledge of responsible sexuality and about family planning methods among the university's students.

Carried out by the researchers Fátima León and Juana Macias, the study used a sample of students from the University of Seville, who belonged to all the various departments. These students completed a questionnaire that consisted of three parts: sociodemographic variables, sexual and contraceptive experiences, and a last part about knowledge of and attitudes towards sexually transmitted infections, as well as about the use of contraceptive methods. The authors consider the sample to have been representative of the Spanish university community, although they warn that, to be able to apply the results to the whole country, it would be interesting to repeat the study in other Spanish universities.

They highlight the fact that gender is an important conditioning factor when talking about sexual behaviour. Girls have a healthier attitude, and they have more knowledge of contraceptive use and of the health controls necessary at this age. "The girls had their first sexual relationship within a loving relationship and they were more likely to use some type of contraceptive during this first encounter", explains León. Girls have longer-lasting relationships and have had less sexual partners in the previous year. In addition, they visit healthcare professionals more frequently to clear up their doubts about sexual and reproductive health. However, both girls and boys showed little awareness of the subject of sexually transmitted infections.

The research also revealed that there is still a high percentage of young people that has sexual relations without using contraceptive protection or uses methods that can be unreliable, like withdrawal or coitus interruptus. "Above all, there is a trivialisation of the frequency of sexual infections in young people", Fátima León highlights. Their work also shows evidence of the presence of factors that contribute to the students having healthier attitudes and behaviour. For example, the students who had received instruction in the area of contraception showed better results.

"One of the pieces of data that surprised us most was the consumption of alcohol and drugs associated with risky sexual practices", León underlines. The age group with the most frequent alcohol consumption was 20-25, especially boys. However, the researchers highlight that this same phenomenon is also very common among girls. 55.21% of them said that they had had sexual relations while under the effects of alcohol, as opposed to 58.8% of boys. As for drugs, 16.7% of those surveyed said that they had had sex while under the influence of these substances.

Another variable that showed interesting differences was the area of study of the students. The students doing degrees related to the Health Sciences displayed healthier behaviour that their peers from other departments. On the other hand, students of engineering and architecture displayed the least healthy behaviour.

Using these results, the researchers maintain university students do not have a good level of sexual education. They still maintain many stereotypes about sexuality, more normally associated with other generational groups. "In fact, our proposal, in light of these results, is that is that the university needs to keep running sexual education and reproductive health campaigns", Fátima León concludes.

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