The Unfortunate Reason Women Are Having Unprotected Sex

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Women who consume alcohol are more likely to engage in sexual activity without using a condom, according to a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

The study investigated the association between alcohol consumption and decreased condom use in young women. The researchers surveyed 237 women with a median age that was just over 20 years old about their sexual encounters. Roughly two-thirds, 66.9% to be exact, of the women surveyed reported having unprotected sex during their last sexual encounter that involved alcohol. The researchers concluded that drinking increases “sexual risk-taking,” including going without a condom.

The sample size is small and based on participant-supplied information from an all-female survey group. Still, the information is eye-opening. While women might be protecting themselves from an unplanned pregnancy with other birth control methods, those methods are ineffective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

The Center for Disease Control’s STD statistics are staggering. Based on the most recent data, there are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections every year. Of those new infections, over half of those occur in young people aged 15 to 24. That is the same age group surveyed by the new study.

Those STDs aren’t simply a health concern. The CDC estimates that sexually transmitted infections add up to nearly $16 billion dollars a year in healthcare costs.

Scientific study or not, everyone should take the steps necessary to protect themselves, even after a cocktail or two.

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