Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Thing About Condoms


Today I read about a recent study (released in time for National Condom Week!) that found the following:
Nearly half -- 45 percent -- said they had used a badly fitting condom during the previous three months.

These men were more than 2 times as likely to say the condom broke or slipped when they used it. They also often reported it was irritating to wear.
But this reminded me of some reporting I did a while back for a relatively unrelated story. I spoke with a researcher whose specialty was investigating how women feel about using contraception and condoms, because all too often, discussions about condom use revolve around men.

Now, I'm not blaming researchers for focusing on men. After all, men are the ones that ultimately are expected to wear the condoms during intercourse. As a public health advocate, you have to get men on board if you want to curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

But women are also a factor in heterosexual encounters. And I know plenty of women that don't like the feel of condoms either. It's true that my evidence is anecdotal, but if women also don't like to use condoms, it makes the battle for getting heterosexual couples to use them that much more difficult.

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