Teens Using Condoms More Often, But Not Consistently
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2011 Oct 13
Sexually active teens are using condoms more often, but inconsistently, finds a federal survey that asked its largest-ever sample of teens about their sex lives.
It found that the percentage of teen boys using condoms the first time they had sex was 80%, up 9 percentage points from 71% in 2002. The data, based on in-person interviews with 4,662 never-married teens ages 15-19, was collected by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2006-2010 for its National Survey of Family Growth.
Of the 2,284 girls and 2,378 boys surveyed, 43% of girls said they had had sexual intercourse, compared to 51% in 1988. Among boys, 42% in the new survey said they had had intercourse, compared to 60% in 1988.
The responses show high rates of contraceptive use among both sexes the first time they have intercourse (78% of girls, 85% of boys) and the most recent time (86% of girls and 93% of boys). The condom was the most popular contraceptive method, cited by 96% of girls.
Even though more teens used a condom the first time they had sex, just 49% of girls and 66.5% of boys said they used one every time they had sex in the past four weeks. The difference between responses from girls and boys is likely because the boys ages 15-19 answer about themselves, while the girls answered about their partners, who may not be teens, says lead author Gladys Martinez, a demographer and statistician.
Among the 57% of girls and 58% of boys who say they have never had sex, the most frequent reason given is "against religion or morals," cited by 41% of young women and 31% of young men.