SINGAPORE: Risky sex, such as not using contraceptives, is gaining ground among younger couples in Singapore.
This is according to a survey on "Sex and Contraception" by the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association.
It was conducted from July to November 2010, on 1,800 Singaporeans, aged 15 to 66 years.
The study showed that seven in 10 Singaporeans believe in sex before marriage.
And they’re getting younger.
In 1999, only three per cent of those aged 12 to 21 years have had sex.
But in 2010, 24 per cent, aged nine to 15, have done so.
And 46 per cent of those aged 15 to 20, have also tried it.
What’s also worrying is that of the 29 female respondents below age 16, half cited the risky withdrawal method as their preferred choice.
Findings showed that of the 356 women who’ve had sex, one in three believed this method works effectively in preventing unwanted pregnancies.
And of those who use contraceptives (229), a quarter (25 per cent) practise the withdrawal method.
Dr Christopher Ng, a consultant obstetricial & gynaecologist, said: "The attitudes among young people in Singapore are changing, and if that is going to happen, the message should be responsible contraception, as opposed to having intercourse without contraception, and then ending up with unplanned pregnancies and then having a high abortion rate."
Experts said the withdrawal method does not prevent the risk of unwanted pregnancy and does not protect women against Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
They said inconvenience has been cited as a reason for not using contraceptives.
They added that most still use condoms and they’re urging the use of pills.
Dr Ng added that women’s actual practice in using contraceptives did not match their knowledge about the reliability of the methods.
Four in 10 women said they would be comfortable to talk about contraception if they had better education in school, or someone they can confide in.
Vice—president of Singapore Planned Parenthood Association Edward Ong said: "Getting the right information is so important, even the use for example of the contraceptives, whether it is a condom, a pill, and all the various other methods. Because from when we have counselling sessions, and when we give talks, the questions we get indicate that they are not getting the right information, or even the use of these things."
Besides urging parents to take a more active stance in their children’s sex education, Mr Ong said schools must also help young people make informed choices.
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