Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Miriam Hospital sexual health study reveals compelling trends of first-year female college students

In the awareness campaign advocating for the defense against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are often a series of important studies that shed light on the trends that drive the sexual health tendencies of certain individuals. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with one in four American college students having some kind of STD, a landmark study put together by The Miriam Hospital with Brown University aimed to examine the sexual behavior of first-year female college students to understand the romantic tendencies of these young scholars. While most observers believe that the rise in STD rates came about thanks to the "hooking up" culture, the Miriam Hospital study may have proven that to be false.

According to WPRI.com, the study surveyed 483 first-year female college students and asked them to report on hookup and romantic relationship partners throughout their first two semesters as well as the following summer. Additionally, the study focused primarily on sexual behaviors including oral and vaginal sex, which have the highest likelihood for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Surprisingly, the study authors presented a few key statistics that could help colleges better manage their sexual health programs. First, 40 percent of the students surveyed reported a engaging in a sexual hookup during their first year of college, but only one in five of the respondents reported a hookup each month. According to LiveScience.com, a much bigger margin of those surveyed, about 56 percent, said that they engaged in oral or vaginal sex with a boyfriend or another committed romantic partner.

"Hooking up is one way that young adults explore intimate relationships, but it's not the most common way, and it is often exploratory," Robyn L. Fielder, a research intern at The Miriam Hospital, told the news outlet. "So while hooking up gets more attention in the media, college students continue to develop romantic relationships, which are actually the most common context for sexual behavior."

While the Miriam Hospital study shows that most college students have become a bit more careful with their sexual behavior, there could be more that university health programs can do to help. STD testing and pregnancy prevention is still a major priority, as well as advocating for proper condom use, which tends to decline over the course of college careers. Ultimately, romantic relationships haven't been replaced by the hookup culture, but there are still many risks involved with the practice that a new generation of students will have to be mindful of.
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