Being sexually active is a healthy and normal part of life. Unfortunately though, being sexually active doesn't mean you're sexually responsible according to a survey by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).
According to The Irish Times, The IFPA has discovered that a third of adults are or have used the “withdrawal method” to avoid pregnancy. The "pulling out" method is used as a form of protection as it is assumed that pregnancy cannot occur without ejaculation.
According to the results of the survey, this 'method' of contraception was the highest among 18 to 34-year-olds and lowest for adults over 55 years. Furthermore, 1,001 men and women aged 18 and over, also found 38 per cent used no contraception. Nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed were in committed relationships.
Although a high number of couples are using the "pulling out" method, it is causing a large number of unplanned or crisis pregnancies. According to the IFPA, an unplanned or crisis pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy which is neither planned nor desired by the woman concerned and which represents a personal crisis for her. Around 16 percent of 18-34-year-olds experienced crisis pregnancies.
A quarter of all adults in a relationship said they used condoms as their primary contraceptive method and almost 20 per cent of women in a relationship said they used an oral contraceptive pill. Nearly 40 percent of Irish people aged 18 - 34 rely on condoms.
Dr Caitríona Henchion, the medical director of the IFPA, said women of all reproductive ages in Ireland experience pregnancies that are unplanned, unwanted or represent a crisis to them.
If a pregnancy would be a crisis for a woman or couple, then it makes sense to use a contraceptive method they can rely on...This is really concerning and shows that there is a need for more education and knowledge so that women are empowered to make the choice of contraceptive that’s best for them.
She said the research showed one in 10 couples are currently using the unreliable withdrawal method rather than condoms or other reliable methods of contraception.
It cannot be assumed that it is just young women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies. Chief executive of the association, Niall Behan, said the perception that unintended pregnancy only happens to young women is simply wrong as a number of women over 35 are attending pregnancy counseling services.
The urgent need for men to wear protection during intercourse to stop a crisis pregnancy has not been fully addressed.