Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More young Pinays into premarital sex

By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star

Young Filipino women are slowly catching up with men when it comes to premarital sex, a survey conducted by the University of the Philippines-Population Institute (UPPI) showed yesterday.

According to the Young Adult Fertility Survey 3 (YAFS-3), more Filipino males engage in premarital sex, compared to females. But over the years, the gap has been narrowing.

YAFS project director and UPPI professor Corazon Raymundo said that in 1994, young Filipino males’ premarital experiences were 2.25 times more than that of young females.

In 2002, however, the males’ premarital sexual activities were only double that of the females’.

Raymundo surmised that this development was caused by the females’ increased exposure to the Internet.

"The media plays an important role here. I think the females now are more exposed to the Internet and even the chat rooms," she said.

YAFS-3 covered a total of 20,000 Filipino youths aged 15 to 24 years old across the country.

Raymundo noted that the prevalence rate of premarital sex for both males and females in this age bracket is on the rise.

In 1994, the prevalence rate was pegged at 18 percent. But in 2002, this increased to 23 percent, representing 3.7 million of the 16.5 million Filipino youths.

"Majority of first sex experiences were not planned and wanted, with girls more prone to unwanted and unplanned sex," Raymundo added.

In many instances of premarital sex, the partners were unprotected. However, boys were found to use contraceptives in more instances than girls.

"Casual sex is practiced more by males than females. Fifty-four percent of sexually active adolescents had sex with the same partner. Males tend to have more than one sexual partner than females," Raymundo said.

The survey showed that of those engaged in premarital sex, only one-fourth use contraceptives. The rest practice unprotected sex and are more likely to get pregnant and contract sexually transmitted infections.

It is estimated that 238,500 or 12 percent of babies born every year are by mothers aged 15 to 19 years.

Raymundo observed that "young pregnancy is more common among the less educated." She underscored the importance of integrating sex education into the school curriculum as the survey revealed that the students who did not have sex education in schools have an increased tendency to become sexually active.

The survey showed that in schools where sex education is not taught, 12.9 percent of students tend to engage in sex but in schools that integrated the topic into their curriculum, the incidence rate is 8.7 percent.

Raymundo maintained that through sex education, students are able to know the consequences of engaging in sexual intercourse.

"The youth are naturally curious and adventurous. They want to know everything. But if we give them the right information or if we teach them the consequences of their acts, they will back off," she said.

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