More teenage boys than ever are using condoms when first having sex; Indiana University research scientist and author Debby Herbenick says results are encouraging, and ‘today’s condom is not your grandfather’s condom’
A higher proportion than ever of teenage guys are using a condom the first time they have sex, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
The CDC says eight in 10 teenage males studied during 2006-2010 used a condom during their first sexual encounter – a 9 percentage point increase from 2002 numbers; that’s 80 percent of teenage boys using protecting. Plus, 16 percent of teen males used a condom in addition to their female partner’s hormonal contraception – a 6 percentage point increase from 2002. In fact, boys may be being more responsible than girls on this front: Teenage boys were found to be more likely than teenage girls to have used some type of contraception the first time they had sex. The CDC says 78 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 said they used some sort of contraception the first time, compared with 85 percent of boys in that age group.
Debby Herbenick, PhD, research scientist at Indiana University and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide toSexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, says the new data is encouraging, and is consistent with data from Indiana University’s National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), published last fall in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Herbenick notes that in the NSSHB, condom use was highest among adolescent men and women.
“It is encouraging to see more young men and women using a condom when they choose to have sex – especially during the first time they have sex,” she said. “Condom education efforts are important for adolescents and also for adults, who – in our study (the NSSHB) – reported lower rates of condom use, even when they were having sex with casual partners or partners whose STI status was unknown to them. Condoms remain the only effective device we have for greatly reducing STI (sexually transmitted infection) and HIV risk among sexually active individuals.”
The CDC survey also found that female teenagers are using a wider array of hormonal methods than ever before; many used hormonal contraception other than the pill during their first sexual encounters, and a higher percentage said they had used emergency contraception (14 percent), the contraceptive patch (10 percent), and the contraceptive ring (5 percent). Birth control pill use did not change significantly since 2002, nor has overall sexual activity trends.
Herbenick says the evolution of the condom may play a role in its increased use among teens.
“Condoms have played an important role in birth control and STI risk reduction for centuries, and modern condoms remain an important part of people’s sexual lives today, too,” Herbenick continued. “Condoms are affordable, they’re available without a prescription, and – with just a little bit of education or information – they are easy for men and women to use correctly. In addition, today’s condom is not your grandfather’s condom. Today’s condoms are designed and shaped in ways to help sex feel more natural and many are coated with lubricants that help sex to feel more pleasurable and comfortable. This means that, increasingly, people are finding that they can have sex that’s safer, and that feels good too. That’s an important message.”
For related stories on genConnect:
- Tom Sturges on Parenting: Grow the Tree You’ve Got (VIDEO)
- Contraception Highlights From Our Live Chat WithSusan Wysocki
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex, by Margery Fridstein
- Philadelphia STD Campaign Includes Mailing Condoms to Kids (POLL)
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