When we use condoms and why we stop.

L. Ku, F. L. Sonenstein, J. H. Pleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A recent follow-up of the 1988 National Survey of Adolescent Men suggests fairly regular patterns of condom use and nonuse. The 1991-92 follow-up survey collected data on 1676 young men who also participated in the first survey round in 1988 when they were 15-19 years old. 59% of the men aged 17-18 used condoms the first time they had sex with a new partner, with 55% reporting using a condom at most recent intercourse. Once they reached 21-22 years old, however, only 45% and 35% reported using condoms at first and most recent intercourse. The prevalence of condom use therefore declined in this sample over the course of a relationship and as young men in the sample grew older. Study findings suggest that condom use does not decline because men lose the habit of using condoms over time, but because the characteristics of partners and the nature of relationships tend to change as men age. More precisely, men spend more time in longer, more committed relationships, in which condom use is more likely to be perceived as unnecessary for disease prevention and more likely to be replaced by the pill for pregnancy prevention. One particularly salient finding is that the men were less likely to report condom use with partners perceived to be at high risk for HIV/AIDS. When asked the main reason for using a condom the last time they had intercourse, 83% of men in the follow-up survey who had used a condom in the previous two years said they did so to prevent pregnancy, 12% did so to prevent diseases, 2% for both reasons, and 3% because of a partner's insistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalPopulation today
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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