Florida seeks details of young women's sex lives

State Health Dpartment offers gift cards in exchange for survey

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The state of Florida is asking thousands of young women some intimate questions about their sex lives and is giving them a $10 gift card in return.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports the Department of Health is surveying 4,100 women between 18 and 24, giving participants a CVS gift card.

Officials say the survey will help them understand women's need for and approach to family-planning services.

The 46-question survey was sent out in September and October. Participants were asked how many men they had sex with over the last year and many other intimate details about their sex lives.

Among the questions:

  • How did you feel emotionally when you had unprotected sex -- were you trying to get pregnant, were you in the "heat of the moment and just went with the flow," or did you find the man attractive and "thought it would be nice to have a baby with him?" Did you feel "powerless"? Or was it that you "felt emotionally connected with your partner during sex"?
  • How old were you when you first had sex? Last time you had sex with a man, did you do anything to keep from getting pregnant? If not, why not?
  • Has a sexual partner ever "told you he would have a baby with someone else if you didn't get pregnant?" "Physically forced you to have sex?" "Hurt you physically because you did not agree to get pregnant?"
  • Are you depressed? Have you ever been physically abused? What's your religion? Do you smoke? How much do you weigh?

The state says the names of those who return the survey will be kept private.

Many women have had the same reaction to the survey: Why do state health officials want answers to such personal questions?

"I mean, I know that they used taxpayers' money, but I think it's kind of ridiculous," said Marisa More. "I don't think it's anyone's business. Maybe our doctor's business, but not the public's."

More didn't get one of the surveys, but about 400 other women in Duval, St. Johns, Nassau and Clay counties did.

"I probably wouldn't fill it out. It's none of their business, I guess, unless they gave me a better reason on why they're asking," Amy Alexander said.

The state spent $45,000 on the survey. Of the 4,100 mailed out, 782 have been returned.

Another batch of surveys was supposed to go out this month but never did because it was found some of the surveys were sent to girls younger than 18, and the state is working on making sure that doesn't happen again.

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.