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Korean men report sexual experiences younger than women: survey

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : March 21, 2023 - 15:19

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The age at which people start having sex is earlier for men than women in South Korea, with 65.9 percent of men and 57.4 percent of women reporting having first had sexual intercourse between the ages of 20 and 24, survey data showed Tuesday.

According to the report from the National Evidence-based Health Care Collaborating Agency, which surveyed 3,193 individuals aged 19 to 59 from Jan. 6 through March 18, 8.9 percent of men and 6 percent of women had their first sexual intercourse aged 19 or younger.

When asked about the number of sexual partners they had over the past year, 75.6 percent of men and 89.5 percent of women said one. Meanwhile, 2.2 percent of male Koreans and 0.4 percent of female Koreans described the number as at least seven. The majority of respondents said their sexual partners were those in similar age groups.

The report was conducted to figure out whether expanding the scope of those subject to human papillomavirus vaccination would be necessary and economically effective.

Asked whether they had been vaccinated, 92.2 percent of men and 69.3 percent of women said no. Only 5 percent of men said they had been fully vaccinated. Some 26.1 percent of women gave the same answer.

While 90 percent of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, is said to go away after one or two years without health problems, continuous infection can lead to different types of cancers including cervical cancer. Widespread immunization with the HPV vaccine is said to help in reducing the impact of cancers caused by HPV.

Expanding the scope of HPV vaccinations for men was one of the pledges of the Yoon Suk Yeol administration. Currently, the Korean government provides free HPV vaccinations for women aged 12 to 17 and low-income women aged 18 to 26.