Germany has a very forward-thinking attitude towards sexual education and the country's general attitudes towards sex and sexual health are some of the most liberal in Europe.
Social norms and education
When it comes to sexual education, Germans have a very forward-thinking attitude. Sex education has been enshrined in law since 1992 with children as young as five receiving in-depth sex education.
Not only will children learn about sexual reproduction but they are also taught about related issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, sexual violence, homosexuality and the emotional aspect of sexual relations.
Children also receive instruction on different types of contraception and how to use them. Girls aged 14 and above may obtain contraceptive pills without parental consent.
Consequently, Germany has the third lowest rate of teen pregnancy in Europe. A 2011 study found the teen abortion rate in Germany is half that of America.
Use of contraception
In Germany, the majority of women use some form of oral contraception, and condom use is widespread amongst men. There is an emphasis on safe sex amongst the population.
Germany has an advanced health care system and access to contraceptive medicine is widespread.
Condoms are available in most pharmacies, convenience stores and in vending machines in toilets and in other public places.
In Germany, you need a prescription to obtain contraceptive pills, get an IUD or other implant. If you do not have health insurance you will have to pay for the consultation and the treatment.
From 2015, the morning after pill is available over the counter without a prescription throughout Germany.
In Germany the most common STD is Hepatitis C. Berlin is Germany’s HIV capital with around 500 newly infected people each year.
There are numerous walk-in sexual health clinics in every city which are either free to visit or are low cost and do not require health insurance to access. In Berlin there are many English speaking clinics such as:
Only Bavaria has entry restrictions on those suspected of having HIV or AIDS and only for those from countries outside of the EU, under the following circumstance:
- If a foreigner (non-EU) wants to stay more than 180 days they may be requested to take an HIV test along with tuberculosis and syphilis. (Tests are requested only in the case of a concrete suspicion).
Abortion is legal but there are certain conditions that women wanting voluntary abortions should follow.
Abortions are allowed within 22 weeks on health grounds, and within 12 weeks on criminal grounds, if conception followed sexual assault for instance. Voluntary abortions are allowed within 12 weeks.
For voluntary abortions, women need to have the pregnancy confirmed and to receive counselling from an official centre such as ProFamilia. After having counselling, women will receive a Beratungsschein certificate. This certificate is required for the abortion to go ahead. Women must wait three days between the counselling and the abortion.