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PLoS One. 2015 Jul 27;10(7):e0132847. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132847. eCollection 2015.

Prevalence of Non-Volitional Sex Types and Associated Factors: A National Sample of Young People.

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Department of Sexual Health, Infectious Diseases and Environmental Health, South Limburg Public Health Service, Geleen, The Netherlands; Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Department of Sexual Health, Infectious Diseases and Environmental Health, South Limburg Public Health Service, Geleen, The Netherlands.
Research Department, Rutgers WPF, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Youth Department, STI AIDS Netherlands, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Non-volitional sex (NVS) in young people continues to be a major public health problem with long-term negative health outcomes. For the first time, the prevalence of different types of NVS and associated factors are compared between young people with same-sex sexual activities and those who have not.


We obtained data from 10,401 young women and men (aged 12 to 25 years) who participated in a population study on sexual health, the Netherlands. We calculated and compared the prevalence of six types of NVS between women who had sex with men (yWSM) or women (yWSW), and men who had sex with women (yMSW) or men (yMSM). In sexually experienced participants (n = 5986) logistic regression analyses were applied to assess associations with NVS by assault or penetration. Analyses were weighted to represent the Dutch population.


The prevalence of NVS ranged from 1% to 61%, depending on type. Prevalence was higher for young women (any: 40.6%) than men (any: 20.4%), and highest for yMSM and yWSW. Prevalence of NVS by assault or penetration was related to a range of socio-demographic, behavioral and social factors, which were largely similar regardless of sex or same-sex-experiences. The NVS perpetrators were in over 70% of cases known to the victim; 1 in 4 cases of NVS by penetration were accompanied by violence.


A substantial proportion of young people in the Netherlands have experienced NVS. Medical professionals, educators and caregivers should integrate services to continue to address NVS by targeting young people's multifaceted risk profiles and evidenced based interventions for doing so are needed.

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