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Study: People Inaccurately Fear Death by Sex over Fatal Car Crashes

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Study People Inaccurately Fear Death by STD over Fatal Car Crashes accident fender bender

What do you think you’d be more likely to die from: a 300-mile road trip in the car, or a night of unprotected sex?

According to research performed by the University of Michigan and published in the International Journal of Sexual Health, behavior concerning–and the perceived consequences of–sex is judged more harshly by people than that of car driving. The study found a disproportionately high stigma toward sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) than driving in a car.

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Participants in the study predicted that a person is 17 times more likely to die from HIV contracted during unprotected sex than crashing during a car trip; yet, actual statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported people are 20 times more likely to die on a car trip than from HIV being contracted.

The conclusion of the study was that risky behavior related to sex is judged more harshly than other risks to your health or safety. For instance, despite parents keeping a close eye on their teenager’s sex life, “parents are excited about kids getting their driver’s licenses, and do not regularly forbid their child from driving…they know there are risks but assume the kids must learn to manage those risks.”

While we don’t see this study as a reason to fear driving more or take less precautions over sex, it does encourage us to be aware of our perceptions of others’ behaviors and what we consider high-risk.

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News Source: The Atlantic