NUIG has published a report on sexual health and attitudes which raises some worrying points about sexual conduct. The survey was carried out by Elaine Byrnes and Pádraig MacNeela in 2015 using students from NUIG as the participants. It provides a general understanding of college students’ sexual health, behaviour and attitudes and both positive and negative sexual experiences. Also, the findings reflect the impact of alcohol on decisions to have sex and unwanted sexual activity as a result of alcohol consumption.
Perhaps the most worrying statistic to emerge from the survey is that in the year 2015, of the women that took part in the study, 8% of them were certain that someone had sexual contact with them where they were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep and are certain this happened.
8% of females and 4% of males were uncertain but suspected sexual contact where they were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep.
Here are some of the other key findings from the report:
- 27% of females and 35% of males agree with the statement “Guys don’t usually intend to force sex on a girl, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away”
- 35% of females and 58% of males agree they have sex with people with whom they wouldn’t sober.
- 76% of females and 69% of males agree they are less nervous about sex after drinking.
- 90% of females and 86% of males agree/strongly agree they would use body language or signals to indicate their consent to sex.
- 5% of females in a relationship agree they are satisfied with their sex life compared to 26.5% of single females.
- 73% of females and 77.5% of males agree/strongly agree they would ask a partner if he/she wanted to go back to their place to communicate consent to sex.
Elaine Byrnes called for a wider report to be commissioned in the wake of the results:
The results of this survey show the incidence of sexual violence and assault are comparable to international studies of college students, and highlight the need for a national study of third level students on this issue. Findings on alcohol related sex consequences, particularly where students report being forced or pressured into sexual activity, highlights the importance of continuing consent education; how it is understood and communicated, and the role of alcohol in sexual decision making.
Hopefully the report will bring about initiatives to educate students about their sexual conduct and health.