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Men Using Condoms
There’s evidence that sexual “abstinence only” campaigns are not as effective as once thought. According to a national survey, more teenaged males are using condoms when they have sex for the first time. So make no mistake that teenage boys are having sex. And chances are, with your son or daughter.
Dating back to 2002, there has been a 9% increase in young males reporting using a condom the first time they had sex, with 80% now taking that precaution. There was also a 6% increase in males using a condom along with their female partner using a hormonal method of birth control. One could translate these behaviors to young people considering implications of unprotected sex that ever before.
Coupled with statistics that show a continuing trend toward slightly less sexual activity overall among youths aged 14 to 19, it did not surprise the researchers that teen birth rates have again dropped.
“That helps explain why the teen birth rate has lowered,” said survey author Gladys Martinez, a statistician with the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. In 2009, the teen birth rate hit an historic low of 39.1 births per 1,000 teenaged females, a 37 percent decrease from a peak rate of 61.8 births per 1,000 teenaged females in 1991. But, she said, there are still troubling numbers in the report.
“Black males still have higher levels of sexual experience than white and Hispanic males, and Hispanics have lower levels of contraceptive use,” she noted.
The findings come in the results of a 2006-10 survey of adults and children, including 4,662 teenagers. Forty-three percent of females who’d never been married said they’d had sex at least once, compared with 42 percent of males. Those numbers are roughly the same as they were in a 2002 survey. It’s not clear why some of the sexually active teens don’t use contraceptives since the survey didn’t ask that question, Martinez said, although future research will ask about that.
The survey found the most common reason for not having sex was that it was against their religion or morals; 41% of the females in that group said that was their most important reason, compared with 31% of males.
Latex condoms are a good way to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV. Animal skin condoms are not recommended for HIV/STI prevention but are believed to increase sensitivity.