And admit it ladies, most of you lie to your friends about sex!

As the government continues to attempt to address the issue of unplanned pregnancy in the UK, it seems there is some way to go to get the message through to women in their 20s and 30s. New research from Bayer Healthcare reveals that while almost 40 per cent of women will have slept with their new partner by the third date, 56 per cent admit that their partner would not be the person they are most comfortable discussing contraception with.

Not only that, but 24% of women who are sexually active admit they never discuss contraception with their GP and 56 per cent of those that do will, on average, spend less than ten minutes a year on the subject with their doctor. Women don’t even wise up as they get older, as the time spent in consultation drops by 40 per cent from the early 20s to late 30s.
Despite 86 per cent saying they are assertive about their contraceptive choice, 10 per cent admit they find talking to their doctor about their options as nerve-wracking as visiting the dentist.

Dr Tina Peers, Consultant in Contraception and Sexual Health comments :
"There is more choice than ever for women of all ages - for example there are over 20 different types of oral contraceptives available but women in their 20s and 30s seem to be denying themselves the chance to make an informed choice.

Research shows that there is a lot of confusion about contraception, such as the lack of knowledge about the difference between oestrogen and progestogen hormones and their respective benefits[1], as well as misconceptions about the supposed need for a break or holiday from their Pill1, for which there is no substantial evidence.

She continues: "Women need to think about their lifestyle needs - for instance whether they want a combined oral contraceptive that can help with monthly bloating, acne or heavy bleeding. The updated website contraception.co.uk has lots of useful information to help with decision-making.

Once they take control of this decision - which should ensure they have a more helpful discussion with their GP - they will reap the rewards of having the right contraception to suit them."

Honesty isn’t the most common policy...

So if women are not confiding in their partners or doctors, who are they talking to? Over a quarter list their friends as their main confidants when it comes to sex and contraception but it seems the rules of sisterhood are being repeatedly broken, as a massive 70 per cent admit they are not always honest when it comes to discussing sex with their friends!

But while they’re not always strictly telling the truth, girls will talk and 58% of the 892 women surveyed say they never stop talking to their friends about sex when they’re in a relationship. Only 22 per cent admit they stop revealing facts about their relationship sex when they start getting serious with their partner, whenever that is.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopolous comments:
"Women are more sexually confident than ever but this does not seem to be working hand in hand with being confident about their contraception, which is a grave cause for concern.
When women could be grabbing the opportunity with both hands to be more open with their partners and doctors about their contraception and sex life, they seem to be shying away from talking about it. There seems to be a genuine disconnect between women saying they are assertive, but actively being embarrassed."

Women will talk about sex, but they might be cringing...

Despite admitting to thinking about sex an average of 192 times per year, women can still be quite prudish with 48 per cent admitting that sex is the subject most likely to make them embarrassed. In contrast, the same group thinks about contraception only 68 times a year, and only 6 per cent list contraception as their no-go conversation topic.
Dr Linda Papadopolous continues: "Women think and talk about sex a lot, but it’s clear contraception is still a secondary concern for many.  It’s essential this trend is addressed - which will need to come from the women themselves - so each individual finds the right contraceptive solution for them and ultimately, unplanned pregnancy rates can fall. A great place to start is www.contraception.co.uk to discover the best type of contraceptive for you."