Fortunately, most Binghamton University students responded to Pipe Dream’s sex survey saying that they use contraception; however, a concerning amount did not.
According to the survey, 61.2 percent of respondents always use contraception, while 29.5 percent sometimes use it and 9.4 percent never do.
A 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 62 percent of women of reproductive age (15-44) use at least one form of contraception, about equal to the amount of respondents at BU who also always use contraception.
The most popular forms of contraception among respondents of the survey were condoms at 81.8 percent, while the birth control pill came in second at 47 percent. According to the same Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, nationally, only about 26 percent of reproductive-aged women use the birth control pill and 15.3 percent use condoms.
Other forms of contraception among BU respondents were far less popular, with the third-place method being intrauterine devices (IUD) at 6.6 percent, fourth-place “other” methods at 4.1 percent and in last place, at 1.5 percent, using an implant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 10.3 percent of women of reproductive age use an IUD — which is more than the average for our respondents — and 1.3 percent use an implant — which is about equal to the Pipe Dream sex survey statistics.
Still, 4 percent of BU survey respondents said they do not use any form of contraception.
On a scale of one to five, with one being “Not Important” and five being “Extremely Important,” 64.5 percent of respondents said that using contraception was “Extremely Important” — a five — for them, and 22.7 percent ranked the importance as a 4. Only 4.2 percent said that contraception is not important to them.
In addition, 55.5 percent of BU students have never had a pregnancy scare, but 27.8 percent reported that they personally have, while 16.7 percent responded that their partner had.
BU has various resources to learn more about contraception usage and how to practice sexual health. Real Education About College Health (REACH) are peer mentors who work across campus promoting education and outreach on health issues, including sexual health and HIV or AIDS, and provide free contraception and lessons on how to stay healthy.
Ariane Lucchini, a student assistant at REACH and a junior majoring in psychology, said that REACH’s outreach is practical and important because all students should learn more about how to practice safe sex.
“College in general is a confusing place,” she said. “You can get a lot of info from various friends and people, but REACH is there to share real info and provide students with resources to [do] their own research, as well.”
At Decker Student Health Services Center, students can access gynecological and women’s health services, including pap smears, pelvic and breast exams and pregnancy tests, as well as receive birth control prescriptions, emergency contraception and free condoms. Testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are also available through appointments.
Off campus, Family Planning of South Central New York Binghamton on Hawley Street, Southern Tier AIDS Program on Riverside Drive and United Health Services on Vestal Parkway provide similar services for maintaining reproductive and sexual health while at BU.
Ultimately, unprotected sex can lead to STDs and pregnancy, so remember to use protection and the resources around you to stay healthy and safe.