Many young men do not use condoms, despite understanding the benefits: Study
Despite young men in their early twenties having a clear concept of reasons to use a condom, many still do not do so when taking part in casual sex with women, transgender people, and non-binary people who can become pregnant, or when they have multiple partners, said Dutch sexuality research center Rutgers. A previous large-scale population survey from five years ago showed that only about 45 percent of men between 20 and 25 with casual sexual contacts will use a condom every time.
“Of the young men with casual contacts, 14% said they never used a condom and 57% said they sometimes used a condom in the past year,” Rutgers said. Their reasons for not using a condom include confidence in the other person’s use of contraception, or they find sex less enjoyable with a condom. “Of the men who never use a condom during casual sexual contact, 35% never talk to their sex partner about how to prevent her from becoming pregnant. Of the men who sometimes use a condom, 21% never talk about it with their sex partner.”
In a follow-up survey of nearly 1,400 young men published on Monday, Rutgers found that despite that just over half of young men wear a condom all the time, about 94 percent of all men in surveyed think it is important to prevent their partner from becoming pregnant, assuming that partner is capable of bearing children. Roughly 83 percent think it is important that the other partner can enjoy sex without worrying about health-related consequences. About 80 percent said it is important not to pass a sexually transmitted infection on to a partner.
World Contraception Day is on Monday, and to honor it, Rutgers launched a new campaign to encourage condom use, called “Trek ‘m aan,” which translates to, “put it on.” The campaign is meant to boost the young men’s willingness to discuss condom use with their partners.
“We asked what good reasons there would be to use a condom more often with casual contacts. The most important are 'If the other person indicates that she would like to use a condom', 'If I know that the other person is not using contraception' and 'If I knew that the other person is at risk of pregnancy'. But you can only know this if you talk about it with your sex partner,” said Ineke van der Vlugt, a contraception expert at Rutgers.
“By agreeing how to have sex together without worries, you can be sure that you can both enjoy yourself. And with casual sex contact you can never be sure whether she is well protected against pregnancy. Plus, you also run the risk of an STI if you haven't both been tested beforehand,” she said.
“It may sound obvious, but simply carrying a condom with you will also make you use it. So just have it in your pocket and put it on!”