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 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 results were revealed at the launch of the #COMETOGETHER campaign, which aims to encourage more open conversations around sex. Based on the insights gained through the Durex Survey, Durex is committed to helping Malaysian youths reduce their sexual knowledge gaps, equip them with accurate information and guide them in making better and more informed decisions around their sexual activities.
The Durex Survey 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 at 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.
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.”
According to Tang, 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.
“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.”
A panel discussion was held in conjunction with the launch of the #COMETOGETHER campaign. Joining Jerome Goh, Marketing Manager, Durex Malaysia 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.
Each speaker on the panel concluded that with the vast amount of information available to the digital natives of today, it is imperative that greater effort be put into giving youths a more accessible and accurate portrayal of sex, intimacy and safety. 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.
Commenting on the Durex #COMETOGETHER campaign, Siti Aishah said, “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. We are pleased to be part of this campaign as it is in line with our advocacy work. We are working together to encourage a positive attitude towards sexual and reproductive health, as well as personal and social development. 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.”
Established in 2015, SPOT Malaysia uses carefully designed modules to equip girls of all ages with confidence and resilience to make informed decisions regarding their well-being.
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. With that, we are pleased Durex Malaysia has launched this campaign.”
The 2022 Durex Survey was conducted with more than 1,000 Malaysian youths aged between 18 and 30.