Malaysian Youth & SEX
The naked truth
A recent Durex Malaysia’s Sexual Health and Intimate Wellness Survey (“Durex Survey”), conducted amongst Malaysian youths aged between 18 and 30, revealed that more Malaysian youths are sexually active. The survey was conducted between April and May 2022, involving more than 1,000 youths across Malaysia.
The Durex Survey also found that a large majority of them had their first sexual experience before the age of 22, and misconceptions pertaining to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy are still prevalent. The last survey conducted by Durex was in the year 2016.
The results of the latest survey were revealed at the launch of the #COMETOGETHER campaign on the 9th of August 2022, which aims to encourage more open conversations around the topic of sex. In conjunction with the launch of this campaign, a panel discussion was held in Jao Tim, Kuala Lumpur.
Joining the panel was Jerome Goh, Marketing Manager, Durex Malaysia and in the open discussion were Siti Aishah, SPOT Malaysia founder, Tengku Aira Tengku Razif, UNFPA Programme Analyst, Malaysia Country Office, Chan Fun Shin, Registered Counsellor and Sex Therapist and Arwind Kumar, Content Creator and Social Activist.
The findings are categorised into several key areas, including Malaysian youths’ sexual activity, perceptions versus reality, and sexual and reproductive health knowledge levels. Some of the key findings that were unveiled during the open discussion have shown that:
35.4% of Malaysian youths claimed to have had sexual intercourse compared to only 18.8% in 2016.
62% of Malaysian youths had their first sexual experience at 22 years old or younger. The figure in 2016 was 42%.
31% believed the myth that a woman cannot get pregnant during her period, whereas 20% answered that they were unsure of the correct answer.
31% did not know if a woman could get pregnant the first time she engages in sex.
Other accompanying data from the survey also highlights:
48% of Malaysian youths are turning to pornography to learn about sex.
Almost 40% believe the myth that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are only transmitted through penetrative sex.
22% wrongly believe that mosquitoes can transmit an STI. The figure was at 18.3% in 2016.
23% think that HIV can be transmitted through a toilet seat. The figure was at 10% in 2016.
16% believe that it is shameful to get tested for an STI and would rather not get tested.
- 48% of Malaysian youths are turning to pornography to learn about sex.
- Almost 40% believe the myth that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are only transmitted through penetrative sex.
- 22% wrongly believe that mosquitoes can transmit an STI. The figure was at 18.3% in 2016
- 23% think that HIV can be transmitted through a toilet seat. The figure was at 10% in 2016.
- 16% believe that it is shameful to get tested for an STI and would rather not get tested.
The demographics of the respondents indicate the majority of the youth (34%) are from the central regions of Malaysia and the east coast regions of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang account for the least number of respondents with 12%.
States like Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang have some of the highest populations living in rural areas. One of the major challenges faced by the youth in rural areas is internet access, and with it comes limited access to information.
When asked how the team planned to educate the youth in rural areas about the topic of sex, Siti Aishah, SPOT Malaysia founder, expressed the importance of collaboration between opinion leaders in rural areas, volunteers and organisations.
“Our volunteers from the community itself play an important role. They help bridge the organisation and the community. It’s also important to take note that every community has different issues that need to be addressed. There are also some challenges that need to be taken into account before we embark on helping the community. Some of the challenges we encounter during our outreach programmes are financial challenges, mainly to do with travel costs,” said Siti Aishah.
One of the key takeaways from this event is the importance of receiving sexual education or accurate facts from reliable sources. Misinformation is one of the major challenges that plague the discourse on sexual topics.