PEOPLE HAVE SHORT memories, and they get even shorter when it comes to thinking about (and remembering) the importance of safe sex. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the ’80s and peaked in the U.S. in the ’90s and early ’00s, most of us who were becoming sexually active—hetero or homo—were bombarded with stats and horror stories about how unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted diseases which could just inconvenience you with a mild burning sensation when you pee, or a full-on death sentence. We learned and adapted, and knew to wrap it up and ask your partner about his or her history.
But people these days aren’t so into safe sex, says a recent survey from Superdrug Online Doctor, a medical service in the U.K. that helps people get the advice and prescriptions they need without having to go into a doctor’s office. They queried 1,000 Europeans and 1,000 Americans about protection during sex, discussions they have about STDs with their partners, and the effect of an unwanted pregnancy.
The team found that 29% of Americans have unprotected sex every time, with our friends across the pond coming in at 18%. A surprising 68% of all respondents said that they would never ask a sex partner to get tested before they slept together, 88% of men reported that they haven’t asked their most recent partner to get tested for STDs, compared to 81% of women, and 70% of Americans never ask if their partner’s been tested before sleeping with them. And on the issue of pregnancy, 19% of people who would be crushed by an unplanned pregnancy have unprotected sex every time.
Clearly people need to get educated on safe sex and how to approach their partners, especially in America. We suggest checking out the CDC’s site on sexual health, or going to Planned Parenthood to learn more about how to protect yourself and your partner.