According to a survey conducted by Flo Health, it has been revealed that a significant number of Britons hold a misconception regarding the effectiveness of the “pullout method” as a contraceptive. Shockingly, one in every ten individuals wrongly believes that this method is an efficient way to prevent pregnancy. The study indicates that these individuals believe the pullout method to be successful in averting pregnancy approximately 90 percent of the time.
A recent nationwide survey conducted among women aged 18 to 55 has brought to light a disturbing reality: there exists a significant amount of misinformation surrounding reproductive health. The survey findings reveal what can only be described as a staggering degree of misinformation prevalent in society.
Flo Health, the women’s health app company that conducted the study, attributes this concerning situation to the £1 billion budget cuts to NHS sexual health services that have been implemented since 2015. As a result, an abundance of incorrect ideas regarding safe sex have proliferated on various social media platforms.
Dr. Claudia Pastides, a representative from Flo Health, emphasized that the presence of low health literacy plays a direct role in the dissemination of misinformation. This, in turn, leads to unfavorable health outcomes and unhealthy behaviors, particularly in the domains of menstrual, sexual, and pregnancy health.
Dr. Pastides further highlighted the importance of recognizing the uniqueness of every woman’s body and her individual experiences with menstrual and reproductive health. Unfortunately, this aspect is not given sufficient consideration in society’s understanding of these matters.
“We want to empower women to better understand their own unique bodies, destigmatise taboo topics, and ultimately improve their health literacy by personalising their access to medically credible health information.”
If done correctly, the pullout method is effective around 96 per cent of the time, according to Planned Parenthood.
However, this is very rarely the case in reality, as most men do not withdraw quick enough and sperm can still get inside the vagina regardless.
Based on typical use, an average of 22 out of 100 couples will become pregnant from relying on the method — an effectiveness of just 78 per cent.
Despite the prevalence of misinformation, social media continues to be inundated with memes and posts joking about men’s “pull-out games,” leading many couples to still rely on this method as a form of contraception.
Alarming findings from the survey indicate that nearly three-quarters of women do not take the initiative to verify the health information they come across on social media platforms. This lack of fact-checking contributes to the perpetuation of inaccurate knowledge.
Furthermore, approximately 60 percent of respondents admitted to being unaware that it is possible to contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs) without engaging in sexual intercourse, highlighting a significant knowledge gap in this area.
The survey also revealed distressing attitudes and beliefs about sexual health. For instance, 25 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 expressed feelings of shame associated with masturbation, compared to 15 percent among those aged 45 to 55. Additionally, one in ten women reported having taught themselves how to use menstrual products like pads and tampons.
Misconceptions regarding sexual anatomy were also prevalent. Nine percent of respondents believed that the frequency of sexual activity directly affects the tightness of the vagina, which is scientifically incorrect. Seven percent mistakenly believed that tampons have the ability to stretch the vagina, and 11 percent wrongly believed that women should wash the interior of their vagina.
These findings underscore the urgent need for comprehensive sexual education and improved health literacy to address the widespread misinformation and misconceptions surrounding reproductive and sexual health.