Condoms remain the cornerstone of safer sex practices, significantly reducing sexually transmitted infections and protecting against unwanted pregnancy with 98 percent efficacy. We know that they work when used correctly and consistently, but condom bias is still a big issue among adults and young people. According to a recent survey by Cosmopolitan in partnership with Power to Decide, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing unplanned pregnancy, 60 percent of participants admitted that they “rarely or never use one.”
Worse yet, 50 percent of the men and women, ages 18-34, surveyed said that they had never used a condom during sex. This is concerning, considering that more than one million STIs are acquired worldwide every day. Each year, the World Health Organization reports that there are an estimated 357 million new infections of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or trichomoniasis. Not to mention incurable conditions like genital herpes, which according to the CDC, more than one out of every six Americans age 14 to 49 have.
Think about that for a minute.
So why are so many people willing to put themselves at risk by engaging condomless sex? It has a lot to do with risk perception. According to Cosmopolitan, the top reason respondents reported not using condoms is that they are not concerned about contracting STIs – not even HIV. One’s personal belief as to how susceptible he or she is to infection as an individual explains, in part, why so many people go against common knowledge or good judgement.
Other excuses included being with a partner who doesn’t insist on using them, that putting on a condom ruins the moment, being on birth control, and having to throw it away after (yes, you read that right). These results seem to suggest that better communication about sexual safety is necessary, even among adults. The good news: 72 percent of people said they respect a partner who asks to use a condom. So, speak up. You are your best ally in the bedroom.