A new British survey has shown some worrying attitudes toward sexual health. In particular, reactions to sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and number of sexual partners. And it was all just awful. The online pharmacy MedExpress surveyed 2,521 users, 18-45 years old, about sexual health and behaviors. Shockingly, 67 percent of people lie about having an STI. Which I can't even wrap my brain around. I know there are stigmas associated with STIs — and just because you have one doesn't mean you're reckless with your sexual health or say anything about who you are as a person. But, having a "let's put on earmuffs and not think about it" attitude is an issue because it jeopardizes your partner's safety.
I've definitely dragged friends for STI tests when they haven't had them in years and put them off for far too long myself. But to outright lie about having an STI blows my mind, and the fact that the majority of people said they would do the same is not just surprising, but a little scary.
It's a good reminder of the importance of taking control of your own sexual health — that ultimately it comes down to you (and not necessarily your partner's word) to make sure you're practicing safe sex. In fact, studies have shown people who cheat are more likely to give you an STI than those in an open relationship, because they won't disclose their status.
Here's what else I learned from the MedExpress survey:
1. 3 Out Of 4 Wouldn't Share That They Had An STI
Maybe not surprising considering 67 percent would downright lie, but 76 percent wouldn't volunteer the information that they had one.
2. If They Did Have One, 8 Percent Still Wouldn't Use A Condom
WHAT. I mean, not admitting but still taking the precautions is one thing. Knowing you have a disease transmitted through sex and still not using protection is bonkers.
3. 10 Percent Would Wear A Condom Just For Penetrative Sex
So luckily most people said they would use condoms for penetrative and oral sex, but 10 percent said they would only use it for penetrative sex. I know must of us don't use protection for oral sex. We just don't. And it's bad. But it's especially bad if you know you have an STI — they can be passed through oral sex. Be aware.
4. 47 Percent Said They Were Embarrassed By Their Number
This makes me angry for a lot of reasons. Firstly, asking people if they're embarrassed by their number, implies that maybe they should be. It connects number of sexual partners with embarrassment, which is just plain wrong. Secondly, it's even worse that almost half of people are embarrassed. If this many people are embarrassed shouldn't we be able to see that we're all doing it and there's nothing wrong it?! Come on people. Please?
5. They Asked About "Ideal Numbers" And It Was Batsh*t Crazy
This makes my eyes bleed. They asked people about their ideal number which is ridiculous, because of everything I already said. Your number doesn't matter. But it gets so much worse. Women said that the ideal number for women was 10 and the ideal number for men was 11. Pretty close right? Women seem to think it should be about the same for men and women. Now strap in: Men said the ideal number of sexual partners for women was five and they said the ideal number for men was... *drumroll*... 32. THIRTY TWO. Five for women, 32 for men. Men gave themselves an over 600 percent increase.
I am so angry. I'm angry at the questions. I'm angry at the answers. I'm just angry. And tired. Tired of this sexist nonsense. We need to be realistic, own our numbers, ditch the sexism, and move the eff on.
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