Monday, September 04, 2006

Condoms: To Use Or Not To Use

Interesting report on condom use:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many teenagers and young adults fail to use condoms consistently, regardless of whether they have sex with a serious or a "casual" partner, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among more than 1,300 15- to 21-year-olds, those with casual sex partners had unprotected sex just as often as those in serious relationships -- about 20 times over the previous three months, on average.

Those who had casual sex were more likely to use condoms at least some of the time, the study found. But because they had sex more often, they ended up having unprotected intercourse just as frequently as their peers in steady relationships.

The findings point up two different problems, according to the researchers.

"Unfortunately, this reveals that teens may overestimate the safety of using condoms most of the time with a casual partner and underestimate the risk of unprotected sex with a serious partner," lead study author Dr. Celia Lescano said in a statement.

And, based on my clinical experience, here's a third, quite common, problem: many patients simply do not like using condoms.

Interestingly, I find it's mostly the adults who are adverse to the very concept of condom use. Teens are very receptive to advice on condom use, and the majority report they already use condoms (or so they tell me). But try convincing monogamous adults, in long term relationships, to use condoms. It's not easy, and, I must admit, more often than not, quite unsuccessful.

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At 1:51 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

I'm a little confused. Why should adults that are in monogamous relationships that have another method of birth control use condoms? I mean, if you're both tested and clear of disease, it's all good, right?

At 1:16 AM, Blogger ema said...

*If* both conditions are met (and ongoing), it's all good.

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Amanda said...


At 5:35 PM, Blogger Alison Cummins said...

Adults in long-term monogamous relationships.

My beloved and I have been together for five years. I haven't had sex with anyone else in over three years. I know enough about my beloved's use of time to be confident that fidelity is mutual. My beloved was last screened for STDs about four years ago; for me it was maybe five. Sure, it's possible that one of us caught something since our last screening.

We've been having sex for five years. If one of us has an STD, chances are that it's already been transmitted.

I feel fine with the risk of not using condoms. I agree that it's there and that one of us could stop being monogamous at any time and that there isn't really anything the other could do about it, but I'm fine with the risk. I get biannual Pap smears. I feel completely reasonable.

So explain to me why you are so disappointed that it's hard to convince me of the necessity of latex barriers?

I wouldn't be surprised if my parents have never been screened for STDs at all. If you were to express frustration to them with their lack of receptivity to the use of latex barriers, they would smile fondly, pat you on the head and change the subject. I'm sorry to say, they wouldn't be wrong.

Why stop with condoms? Why not go on a campaign to stop kissing without latex barriers for all people at all times because of the possibility of herpes transmission?

At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Safe sex is good for everyone. We try to help everyone realize that the practice of safe sex is important for them and their significant other. Whether you are in a monogomous relationship or just dating casually, you should always practice safe sex. And , there is no better way then to use a condom.


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