Plastic bag is the new condom? Vietnamese injured after strange safe sex practice

By VnExpress   September 14, 2016 | 02:37 am PT
Plastic bag is the new condom? Vietnamese injured after strange safe sex practice
Many young people in Vietnam shun condoms as sex is considered a taboo. Photo by VnExpress
The college students were too shy to buy a condom and paid a hard price.

A Hanoi hospital has recently treated a couple with bleeding genital injuries, reportedly after the young man used a plastic bag as a condom during sex with his girlfriend.

Doctor Nguyen The Luong, deputy director of Hanoi Kidney Hospital, said the patients are both college students who claimed that they had sex for the first time.

Luong said they were both in pain with sexual organs severely damaged.

The couple said they did not want a pregnancy and had some idea about protection. But they were both shy and could not bring themselves to buying a condom. They decided that they had to do with a plastic bag.

The couple’s story has been treated as a rare case, if not a precautionary tale, and received widespread coverage from local media. Some foreign outlets also picked up the story this week.

The fact that young people shun condoms is actually not rare in modern Vietnam, where schools have long been criticized for not providing adequate sexual health education and sex before marriage is still considered a taboo.

A 2014 survey by two medical schools in Hanoi, among 2,700 college students, found most were aware of condoms and contraceptions, but somehow not many used them.

A quarter of the students asked said they would feel embarrassed if they had to go buy a condom and only a third of sexually active students used condoms at least once.

There have been efforts to normalize the image of condoms and the concept of sex in general. Some fashion designers have even tried to create dresses with condoms or college students sometimes offer free condom dispensers on the street.

Yet the condom scare lingers.

Vietnam's abortion rate remains among the highest in the world at around 280,000 last year, including 2 percent by teenagers, according to official data. The country has a population of around 93 million.

Sexually transmitted infections affect a large number of Vietnamese, with estimates ranging from 300,000 to a staggering two million cases a year.

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