A recent survey conducted by Durex Malaysia (Durex), joined by over 1,000 adults between 18 and 30 years old, found a statistical rise in sexual activity despite dismal understanding of sexual health. According to the Durex Survey (Durex Malaysia’s Sexual Health and Intimate Wellness Survey), some 35% of Malaysian youth have had sexual intercourse in 2022, compared to 18.8% in 2016, while 62% have reportedly had their first sexual experience before the age of 22 years old.
The Durex Survey also found that misconceptions pertaining to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy were still prevalent: a substantial number of them were unsure if a woman could get pregnant or not the first time she engages in sex – 31% believed a woman could not.
The survey findings were revealed at the launch of Durex’s “COMETOGETHER” campaign, which aims to encourage more open conversations around sex.
The launch of the campaign saw an open panel discussion held between Jerome Goh, Marketing Manager, Durex Malaysia; Siti Aishah, Founder, SPOT Malaysia; Tengku Aira Tengku Razif, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Programme Analyst, Malaysia Country Office; Chan Fun Shin, Registered Counsellor and Sex Therapist; and Arwind Kumar, Content Creator and Social Activist.
The panelists suggest that more effort be put into giving Malaysian youths a more accessible and accurate portrayal of sex, intimacy, and safety in today’s vast media. The panel also shared creative ideas on how society can contribute to sexual health education in providing Malaysian youths with the knowledge they need to make healthy decisions.
“We believe that non-profit organisations, civil society organisations, government bodies, and brands alike need to work together in sustaining movements like these to highlight the importance of sexual and reproductive health education. Sexuality education in a culturally and developmentally appropriate manner is key to equipping young people with the knowledge to prevent STIs, sexual related issues, and unplanned pregnancies,” said Siti Aishah.
Meanwhile, Tengku Aira Tengku Razif said, “UNFPA believes that on every level, sexual health education is a shared effort. From government agencies, NGOs, corporates, down to individuals – we need a holistic approach in educating our young people. We want our youths to have a positive view of their bodies and sexuality, and to break the taboo factor when it comes to sexual health.”
Tiffany Tang, Marketing Director at Reckitt Benckiser commented, “Sexual health conversations are crucial to ensure that Malaysian youths are empowered to make informed decisions about their sexuality. The fear tactics implemented in the past no longer work. Through the COMETOGETHER campaign, Durex is providing honest, age-appropriate information and skills necessary to help them take personal responsibility for their health and overall well-being.
“We are hopeful that through the findings of this survey, more opportunities for open conversations on sex and sexuality can be done to create a safe space for Malaysian youths to share experiences, educate themselves, and ask questions. The more informed they are, the more prepared they are to make better choices.”
[The April 2022 Durex Survey brought to light the levels of understanding in the areas of contraception, STIs, sexual stigma and perceptions. It also covered segments on sexual activities such as sexting and provided an understanding of Malaysian youths’ expectations of sex.]