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10 September 2008
Survey identifies reasons behind inconsistent condom use
by George Atkinson

The widespread failure by adolescents to routinely use condoms has been linked to partner disapproval and the fear of less sexual pleasure, a new survey has found.

Conducted by researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and three other institutions, the survey was based on responses from more than 1,400 adolescents and young adults aged between 15 and 21 who had unprotected sex in the previous 90 days. The researchers found that adolescents who did not use condoms were significantly more likely to believe that condoms reduce sexual pleasure and were also more concerned that their partner would not approve of condom use.

"It's clear that we have to address these attitudes, fears and concerns that many teens have regarding condom use, if we want to reduce their risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection," lead author Larry K. Browntold told the journal Public Health Reports. "The good news is that these attitudes may be easily influenced and changed through clinical and community-based interventions."

The survey questions included attitudes and perceptions about condom use, and communication and negotiation with partners about condom use. The group included 797 females and 613 males. Approximately half were African American, 24 percent were Hispanic and 19 percent were white.

Surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of the participants did not use a condom the last time they had sex. The participants also reported an average of two partners and about 15 incidents of unprotected sexual activity within the 90-day period. In addition to concerns about reduced sexual pleasure and partner disapproval, adolescents who did not use condoms were also less likely to discuss condom use with their partners. These findings held true across racial/ethnic groups, gender and geographic locations.

Based on the study's findings, the authors recommend doctors teach teens how to effectively and respectfully communicate with their partners about using condoms or counsel them about finding condom brands and sizes that provide optimal fit, comfort and sensation.

Macho Attitudes Undermining Adolescent Sexual Health
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Many Teenagers Clueless About Condoms, Survey Finds

Source: Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center

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