Safe sex: discuss with friends, not partners
From the international conference Contraception Matters: From Baby Boomers to Millennials, the editor of the Health section returned puzzled.
Perplexed, I must say, I’m not alone. Sociologists all over the world are in a slight perplexity. Comparing the first representatives of the baby boomers generation and the last representatives of the U generation – that is, by and large, grandmothers and granddaughters – scientists have found that in the reporting nearly 60 years, civilization has not advanced far:
- 50% of baby boomers and 45% of millennials admit that they have very vague ideas about contraception;
- 29% of baby boomers and 20% of millennials have no idea how hormonal pills work ;
- 59 and 56% respectively do not imagine the principle of the operation of the intrauterine device.
At the same time, those and others, when talking about contraception, mean, as a rule, either pills or a condom. For the generation that went into big sex in the 60s, this is normal: they simply had no alternatives. For millenials, this is at least strange. They have not only access to various methods of contraception, but also complete access to information about it. But not only that struck me: millennials discuss family planning and safe sex not with sexual partners, but with friends and parents!
Interested parties can see on Wikipedia. For our topic, it is important to imagine who, in fact, is discussed in the study:
- Baby Boomers – a generation born after the Second World War, from 1946 to 1964. Their “age of sexual consent” is the 60-80s of the last century. This is a period of relative political and economic stability and, logically, the first youth riots, the first sexual revolution – the hippie generation has appeared. And this is the era of the struggle for social, racial and gender equality.
- Generation X . Born from 1964 to 1984. They have already received as a given all the conquests of the Baby Boomers and have begun to actively master them. But the main thing is the first digital generation. They already had computers.
- Generation Y. They are millennials. Born from 1984 to 2000 and now included in the age of labor, social and sexual activity. This is the Internet generation, living on the Web and having access to any information.
It is strange that a generation literally living in a sea of information is no more aware of such important issues as contraception than their grandmothers.
However, in the historical context, everything is quite logical: for baby boomers, birth control pills (and then spirals) were the main weapon of the revolution. It’s rather inconvenient to fight for gender equality when one of the genders is doomed to give birth and feed constantly (or forced to completely abandon sex). The ideas of feminism would be doomed without contraceptives. But the word “contraceptive” itself was still a neologism.
Generation X has come all ready. They only needed to deepen their knowledge and safeguard their achievements. The main achievement was female independence and a female career. Generation X made workaholism not a diagnosis, but a title. Workaholic woman, careerist woman, strong woman, for whom work means much more than family. She earned money, provided for herself, and chose sexual partners for herself, not being afraid of the consequences. This is the generation of Sex and the City girls. They knew everything about contraception and even more. Therefore, many of them did not have children who could pass on this knowledge to. And they did not participate in an international study.
The generation of millennials is small. The life given to work does not seem to them the ideal of existence, the image of a strong woman is also no longer inspiring. Their ideal is work & life balance. Their life is very active and diverse, often associated with travel, all sorts of spiritual and bodily practices. But they are not interested in sex and pair relations … Or, say, they are less interested than their mothers and grandmothers. The forbidden fruit has ceased to be forbidden, and therefore sweet. A generation has grown up for which the gender difference really doesn’t matter anymore. The millennials generation does not know about contraception because they are not interested in sex.
Who are they talking about sex with
60 years ago, women discussed contraception with a doctor, friends and partners (in that order).
Millennials – with the doctor. And then – with parents and friends! And with those with whom they sleep, do not discuss. And this is strange only at first glance.
- Millennials are advised about contraception with parents, because Generation X (those who are now 35 to 45 years old) is the best savvy in these matters.
- Millennials do not use contraception for contraception. That is why they see no reason to discuss it with sexual partners.
- Millennials read the Internet – and therefore can ask doctors the right questions, this allows them to use contraception to treat various diseases – from acne to algomenorrhea.
Millennials, less than previous generations, believe in the omnipotence of science. They are not inclined to condemn any sexual behavior. And they are aware of the dangers of genital infections.
If you re-read the characteristics of Generation Y, you will see that they have little interest in sex, but a lot – in bodily and spiritual practices, health and travel. They, unlike their grandmothers, use contraception not as a weapon, but as a tool, controlling not only the onset of pregnancy, but also the onset of menstruation itself.
The new generation is less susceptible to the myth that menstruation is needed as a detox from hormones. A modern woman herself can decide how many menstruation per year she has and when.
Modern girls, unlike their predecessors, prefers to use the so-called flexible prolonged regimen – delaying menstruation with the help of hormonal contraceptives. This is important when you find yourself, for example, in a Tibetan monastery or in the Siberian taiga without access to hot water. However, in everyday life too: we live in such a strange world when the onset of menstruation is more dependent on your desire than the onset of vacation.
With a partner, it makes sense to discuss only barrier contraception. But, by and large, what is there to discuss? Until you have submitted health certificates to each other, sex should only be protected: 40% of millennials are convinced of this. And on this issue, their grandmothers lagged far behind: only 20% of baby boomers used condoms.