The Challenges of Unprotected Sex: Statistical Analysis of a Global Sex Survey

The Challenges of Unprotected Sex: Statistical Analysis of a

Global Sex Survey

MBF Fontes1, PR Roach2

1John Hopkins School of Publich Health, Baltimore, MD, United

States, 2SSL-International, London, United Kingdom

Introduction Since the start of AIDS, studies have

questioned whether sex education should target the population or groups at risk.

A question in the Durex Global Sex Survey (DGSS) asked: “Have you ever had

unprotected sex with a sexual partner without knowing their sexual history?”

In-depth statistical analysis of this and other questions examined if there are

means of predicting what influences people to have unprotected sex and what

measures can be undertaken to combat this.

Background The DGSS was designed by SSL-International in

1996 to better understand sexual behavior globally. In 2005, 41 countries

participated with more than 317,000 responses. The survey included 31 questions

about sexuality profiles and behaviors.

Design and methods The main dependent variable is

unprotected sex. Based on different Rates of Unprotected Sex (RUS), t-tests

based on various population profiles were performed. Moreover, a MLR model shows

the different unadjusted and adjusted associations between RUS and five

independent variables: condom use; number of sexual partners (NSPs); sex

frequency; age of first sexual education; and age at first sex. Authors also

carried-out analysis of RUS statistical differences based on three country


Results and outcome NSPs, age, age at first sex, and

location are associated with RUS (p-value < 0.05). For every year delay of sex initiation, RUS reduces by 6.3%. NSPs is also a predictor of RUS. NSPs explains 63% (R2 = 0.63) of the variance of RUS. If the average NSPs

is increased by one in a country, RUS increases by 3.5%. If a country averages

10 sexual partners, RUS is expected to range between 48 and 53%. Homosexuals

reported having, on average, 21.0 partners. This fell to 14.6 and 8 for

bisexuals and heterosexuals respectively. Finally, males report having had more

sexual partners (10.2) than females (6.9). The effects of gender, sexual

orientation, and relationship status do not have a direct influence on RUS (p-value

> 0.05).

Conclusion While delaying sex initiation leads to RUS

reduction, evidence suggests that the opposite is happening. This means that

measures need to be introduced to encourage people to take responsibility for

their sexual health and use reliable methods of contraception. Results of MLR

suggest that in a given country, a 1% increase in the rate of condom use results

in 0.21% decrease in RUS. Also, results reveal differences in the average age

which people are receiving sex education globally. On average, people living in

low/low-middle income countries, are a year older (14) than people in

upper-middle income countries (13) and two years older than people in high

income countries (12) when they first receive sex education.

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