Survey: 1 in 4 has had sex with online acquaintance

Survey: 1 in 4 has had sex with online acquaintance

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans are exhibiting more liberal attitudes and taking bigger risks when it comes to sex.

About one third of respondents in a survey said they believe that having sexual intercourse with someone they meet for the first time is perfectly fine.

Another alarming statistic was that 27.6 per cent - or about one in four - of the 1,790 respondents polled said they have had sex with someone they met online.

The survey, results of which were released yesterday, was conducted by the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association (SPPA) between July and November 2010, to find out about fertility awareness and sexual habits among Singaporeans.

It polled individuals between 15 and 66 years old, with about 79 per cent of the respondents aged 35 and below.

SPPA vice-president Edward Ong said there was a vast increase in the number of young people having sex, many of whom were not ready for marriage.

Citing heightened concerns over unwanted pregnancies, abortions and sexual infections, he said that "there's an acute need to go back to basics to inculcate responsible sexual behaviour and contraception (use)".

Another key finding was the wide gap between knowledge about contraception effectiveness and actual practice.

About 38 per cent of female respondents believed that condoms are the most effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies, while 11.8 per cent cited the withdrawal method.

But when it came to actual contraceptive use, the percentage of those who chose the more convenient withdrawal method doubled to 21.3 per cent.

On the withdrawal method, Dr Christopher Ng, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at GynaeMD Women's and Rejuvenation Clinic, said: "Pre-ejaculate has semen, and if the couple are young...they are even more fertile. That could lead to unwanted pregnancies."

reicow@sph.com.sg

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