Over 40s turn away from safe sex

Younger people are better at practising safe sex than older generations, a government study has found.

This content was published on February 7, 2011 - 14:06 and agencies

Men and women aged 45 and over often do not use a condom during sex, even at the start of a new relationship, according to the study, commissioned by the Federal Health Office. However, people aged 17 to 30 regularly do protect themselves.

Most sexually active were people aged 31-45; in one year 94 per cent of respondents had at least one sexual partner, compared with 85 per cent among those aged 17-30.

Fewer women practise safe sex than men. Of 46 to 60-year-olds, 60 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women use condoms at the start of a relationship. That figure drops to 46 and 21 per cent respectively in people aged over 60.

Younger people have casual sex more often and embark on more sexual relationships, the study also showed. One in five people in the 17-30 age group had a new sexual encounter every year, while only one in 25 did so in the 46-60 age bracket.

The study also found that Swiss teenagers were having sex earlier: by the age of 17, 66 per cent of boys and 55 per cent of girls were sexually active. In the 1970s, the figure was around 30 per cent.

More than 18,000 people were interviewed for the study by University Hospital Lausanne.

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