According to a recent survey, 80% of people agreed that condoms are important during sex. Yet 41% of these respondents did not use a condom the last time they had sex. This high percentage implies that even though people are aware of the dangers of unsafe sex the ability to assess the risk of contracting a potentially life altering disease and the consequent impact on quality of life is not as well understood. Currently only 65% of men use condoms on a regular basis, the usage statistics for condom usage among females and gay men is even lower, despite being the demographic most susceptible to STD’s. Even more interesting is that 50% of women find sex without a condom unenjoyable, precisely because of the risks. However, they are just as likely to proceed to sex without a condom than not.
The question many healthcare professionals ask is: “Why do people not use condoms?” 5 common reasons given are:
1. Condoms don’t represent trust & commitment
Sexual partners often mistake intimacy and trust for safety. Intimacy and trust are essential in any relationship, but so is safety. It is a fallacy to assume that trust equates to safety, especially in the bedroom. Common excuses that follow on from an argument regarding condom use include: “Am I not important to you?” and “Why don’t you trust me?”
Condom usage should be the norm and should not represent a lack of trust or commitment in a relationship. Instead condom usage should be viewed as an essential part of a couple’s sex life protecting both parties from easily mitigated risks – especially in new relationships.
It is common in the heat of the moment for both men and women in a relationship to exert pressure on their partner to have unsafe sex. Pressure comes from many sources, your partner may be certain that they don’t carry any sexually transmitted diseases, they may be on other forms of birth control or a condom may not be readily available. Regardless of the reasons, a relationship is as much about communication as anything else. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s ok to say “No”, your safety should always come first.
3. Condom Responsibility
The responsibility of having a condom available lies with you. While it is often seen as a “man’s job” and significant stigmas may be attached to women who purchase and carry condoms, taking control of your sexual lifestyle is an empowering action. Condom use does not equate to promiscuity, nor is carrying a condom a signal of intent; it is simply to be prepared for any situation.
4. Reduced Pleasure
It is natural to want to maximize pleasure during sex, so it is not surprising that many use this as an excuse for not wearing condoms. However, multiple research papers refute this claim with surveys showing that both men and women consistently rate sex with a condom as arousing and as pleasurable as sex without.
Further research shows that any reduction of pleasure is usually due to using a condom that is improperly sized. How a condom fits plays a large role in a condom’s effectiveness. If you or your partner is having issues with sex while wearing a condom we advise gaining a better understanding of the condoms that are currently available on the market.
5. Misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases
While many people are aware of sexually transmitted diseases, the general public’s knowledge of symptoms, effect on quality of life, and risk of transmission is low. It is important to remember that disease doesn’t have a face, and that many sexually transmitted diseases may be asymptomatic. Rather than take a gamble on the status of a new partners sexual health, why not use a condom to mitigate 98% of the risk? Much more effective than a hunch.
We should all be more aware of the dangers regarding unsafe sex. However, people are still willing to take the risk and choose to not use condoms, putting their and their partner’s quality of life at risk. Condoms are highly effective against all STD’s. Condoms are a safe, nonintrusive and cheap method of protecting you and your loved one. Take good care of your sexual health and StaySafe. The responsibility lies with you.
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