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Masturbation linked to more condom use

China Daily | Updated: 2011-08-03 14:11

Researchers found 86 percent of boys who said they had worn a condom last time they had sex also reported masturbating over the past year, compared to only 44 percent of boys who didn't masturbate.

While that link doesn't prove that masturbation itself leads to safer sex, "the association of any behavior with increased condom use deserves further investigation, given the rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in adolescents," the report says.

The new study is based on a nationally representative survey of 820 adolescents between 14 and 17 in the United States.

Dr Cynthia Robbins at Indiana University in Indianapolis and colleagues found that nearly three-quarters of boys said they masturbated, while less than half of girls did so.

After taking age and partner status into account, sexually active boys who masturbated were about eight times as likely to have used a condom during their last intercourse as boys who didn't masturbate.

Writing in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the researchers note that masturbation is a highly stigmatized topic, and that many doctors shy away from discussing the common phenomenon.

The findings of this study should be used by health care providers to inform, educate and reassure adolescents about masturbation to provide competent and comprehensive sexuality education in the clinical setting, they conclude.

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