The odds of having unprotected sex doubles from freshman to senior year

New research shows more college students are having unprotected sex.

A new study has revealed a noteworthy sex trend among college students. Between freshman and senior year, the chances of having casual unprotected sex increases two-fold.

The finding comes from Jonathan Marc Bearak, an NYU doctoral candidate in sociology who conducted the study. After examining the results of the Online College Social Life Survey from 2005 to 2011, which included 21 different colleges, he found that unprotected sex becomes more and more likely in casual encounters as college progresses.

“The probability of unprotected casual sex increases from 7 percent to 16 percent among women, and from 6 percent to 15 percent among men between freshman and senior years,” said Bearak.

Another notable finding was that freshman condom use rates were lowest among students who had the most highly educated mothers.

“After freshman year, students with lower educated mothers converge to the same lower rate,” said Bearak.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why condom use is on the decline when it comes to casual hookups, Bearak says that it may be that college exposes undergraduates to a pool of potential partners with whom they feel safe. The college experience also puts students in social situations that don’t always encourage condom use.

According to the CDC, almost half of new sexually transmitted diseases that are diagnosed each year are among people aged 15 to 24. This translates to roughly 10 million cases. Routine condom use significantly reduces the odds of contracting an STD and also protects against pregnancy.

Trojan (the condom giant) releases an annual Sexual Health Report Card, which serves as a reflection of sexual health on U.S. college campuses. The report takes a number of factors into consideration when creating its ranking. Health center accessibility, operating hours, sexual health education programs, contraception availability, and resources for STD testing are all on the list.

The 2014 report card found that Oregon State University is currently the top American college for sexual health.

Source: Social Forces

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