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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Average number of sex acts in a year to calculate contraceptive effectiveness?

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Author Topic: Average number of sex acts in a year to calculate contraceptive effectiveness?
No Longer New To This
Neophyte
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I'm sorry for the trouble, but I know that there are yearly figures for contraceptive effectiveness rates. Is there an average number to calculate a risk for a single sex act? (Only counting PIV sex for this to avoid skewing data.)

Sorry--I'm making a spreadsheet for poly people to calculate cumulative STI risks as well as pregnancy risks when using the buddy method, and having concrete numbers seems to help! I'd be happy to share a copy of the spreadsheet when I've finished it, if folks are interested.

Posts: 38 | From: Traveling | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karybu
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I'm not sure the information you're looking for exists, or how useful it would even be to have. The effectiveness rates of contraceptive use aren't dependent on the number of times in a year that people have sex, so trying to figure out the risk from an individual instance of intercourse isn't really possible the way you seem to be thinking.

It might be that I've misunderstood your question, though, so if I've completely missed the mark please let me know.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Neophyte
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Well, I'd imagine that having sex just once in a year is less likely to result in pregnancy than having sex daily for a year. Just having a baseline to get some ideas about how those rates would compare to our real lives seems like it could be helpful.

It does seem that the studies listing contraceptive effectiveness don't list any general numbers for how often folks are having sex, though, so the information may be nonexistent. I just thought I'd check if I could.

Here is a link to the google spreadsheet I've been putting together, for reference: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApkHra8hcJ_jdExxU3hwOG8xLVVIQVRXZHd4Y3hKRWc&usp=sharing

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Jenna G.
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Hi there,
I think you are asking a really great question! Unfortunately this isn't really something that you can calculate.

For contraception, effectiveness rates are calculated based on out of 100 women, how many will not get pregnant from using a certain method. But everyone is different, and the effectiveness rates are not dependent on how often you are having sex.

For STIs, like you have on your spreadsheet, you really cannot predict that. It depends on who you are having sex with (whether they have an STI or not), and how common it is in your community.

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-Jenna
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Neophyte
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Hello,

As best we could determine from the sources listed in the first tab, those are the rates of transmission during protected intercourse. The point of the spreadsheet is to assess a poly risk. For instance, if my boyfriend's wife's boyfriend sleeps with someone with a given STI unknowingly, what is my own risk as it goes through the chain? That's why we make it a policy to get tested every three months. It reduces everyone's cumulative risk.

I hope that makes a bit more sense. Thank you for your response! I guess I'll have to rework that tab of the spreadsheet.

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Jenna G.
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I definitely agree that getting tested on a regular basis is a great way to reduce everyone's risk. [Smile] This seems to be pretty tricky to calculate, so getting tested regularly and using protection like condoms is the best way to decrease the likelihood of STI transmission.

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-Jenna
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No Longer New To This
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One of my boyfriends is big on math and research, so we worked together on making sure the numbers worked out properly. Scarleteen is welcome to use the spreadsheet if they'd like, although I'd rather my name stay off of it, haha.
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Robin Lee
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Hi No Longer New To This,

I think what you've done here is interesting. However, statistics can't account for things like an individual's immune response to infection or virus exposure, the amount to which safer sex practices protect, and just plain luck-of-the-draw.

So, consistent testing and safer sex practices really are your soundest practices for reducing the risks of STI transmission and I'm glad to hear you're already on board with that. [Smile]

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Robin

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