Almost half of the young women in Spain have used the morning-after pill at some point

by Lorraine Williamson
morning-after pill

MADRID – Nearly half of the women between the ages of 18 and 25 (43.5%) have taken the morning-after pill at some point. Furthermore, 20% admit they never or rarely use a contraceptive during sexual intercourse. 

These are some of the main conclusions of the study Sexuality of young women in the Spanish context, commissioned by the Women’s Institute. 1,516 women between the ages of 18 and 25 were surveyed for this purpose. Furthermore, the study aimed to determine whether certain gender stereotypes and patterns of behaviour are maintained. 

According to the director of the Women’s Institute, Antonia Morillas, feminism has caused profound changes in young women’s perception of sex. This is expressed in a critique of pornography, in the objectification of the female body, the opening to sexual diversity and the disconnection between sex and love. Morillas said this during the presentation of the study 

The average age of first intercourse is 16.7 years and although the male condom is the most commonly used method of contraception (as indicated by 83.6% of those surveyed), 43.5% acknowledge that they have had to use emergency contraception on occasion. 

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In addition, 5.7% had an abortion. They received support from their partner (40%), their mother (27.7%) or a friend (15.4%), while 4.6% indicated that they went through this process alone. That was because they did not ask for help or because a lack of support was experienced. 

60% had had sex without desire 

Even though there is a break with certain traditional patterns and there is a general rejection of the objectification of the female body, as well as a critique of pornography, 57.7% of those surveyed, admit that they have had sex without sexual desire. 

In any case, the degree of satisfaction with their sexual life is 6.6 points. Moreover, the most valued are as follows;

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  • pleasure that masturbation brings
  • receptivity of the partner
  • frequency of sexual intercourse
  • frequency of orgasms. 

Penetration remains the most common sexual practice among young women. This is ahead of self-stimulation (74.6% compared to 66.5%). And, furthermore, many say they only started masturbating after having intercourse with another person. 


About half of women between the ages of 18 and 25 report having consumed pornography via the Internet. For this, the average age of access is 15.5 years. The use of pornography, as described by researcher Silvina Vázquez, is reduced to an average of once every three months (much lower than that of men). Women’s view of pornography is highly critical: they believe it distorts reality and see it more as a ‘sexual school’ that poses a risk to the formation of ideas and expectations about sexuality. 

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37.3% said they had conversations or exchanged images of a sexual nature on the internet and 24.3% also used dating apps. 

Sexual violence 

Young women are concerned about sexual violence. That occupies a central place. They place this problem as a social problem of the first order. The level of awareness about this is significantly higher among those who identify most with feminism. 

  • 67.4% of women claim to have received inappropriate sexual or sexist comments in public areas
  • 46% have received images or comments of a sexual nature through social networks without their consent
  • 36.2% have suffered inappropriate sexual touching

These data explain the fear that women feel;

  • 60.7% state they have felt fear that someone might practice some form of sexual violence against them in public places
  • up to 41.6% have experienced fear in nightlife venues
  • while 20% are afraid of being sexually assaulted in their environment (school, work or partner). 

The respondents are also dissatisfied with the sex education they receive. Consequently, they demand more and better effective sex education should be given at school.

  • 73% of the respondents declare themselves heterosexual
  • 57% have a stable and permanent partner
  • 18% identify as bisexual
  • 2.6% lesbian
  • 2.2% are asexual

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