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Women of all ages practice unsafe sex

Women of all ages - not just teenagers - practice unsafe sex and don't consistently protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, according to a new national study.

But if mature women just lost the moral high ground, there's a silver lining to getting older. According to the research, younger women complain more about lack of desire, infrequent orgasms and pain during intercourse.

Those are just some of the results of The 1998 Canadian Contraception Study, published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. The study, which surveyed nearly 1,600 women between ages 15 and 44, turns the tables on some myths about reckless sex: It appears people of all ages are guilty.

Of all the women studied, 28 per cent used oral contraceptives and 21 per cent used condoms, by far the two most popular contraceptive choices. But sterilization accounted for almost 24 per cent of the sample - 10 per cent of women had had their tubes tied, and another nearly 14 per cent were with partners who had had vasectomies. (Canada is one of the few industrialized nations where more men than women opt for sterilization operations, Fisher said.)

A full six per cent of the sample said they used no contraception at all, and another six per cent only protected themselves using the method of early withdrawal. The other 13 per cent said they were not sexually active.

Overall, 28 per cent of those studied reported they have had an unwanted pregnancy.

Among the unmarried women in the sample, the proportion of those who always used a condom was highest among the 15- to 17-year-olds (40 per cent) while it was lowest among the unmarried 40- to 44-year-olds (15 per cent).

According to the study, a full 39 per cent of women surveyed said their sexual desire is often lower than they would like. Overall, 21 per cent of women reported they usually don't have orgasms during intercourse and another 14 per cent reported pain during intercourse.

Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, said Wednesday's study highlights a need for better education about contraception among women of all ages. And, he said, doctors need more education on sexuality issues.

Reference Source 95
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