The Associated Press reported some encouraging news this week: according to a recent study, a whopping 80 percent of teenage boys are using condoms the first time they have sex. This is up from 71 percent in 2002, and 55 percent in 1988.
So what gives? Are teen boys proactively wrapping it up or are girls drawing a line in the sand and insisting on condoms?
It’s hard to say. My guess is a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B. But others are more skeptical. One young man interviewed said he would “be hesitant to give guys credit for coming up with this on their own.” Ha!
Here’s where I step up on my proverbial soap box. Regardless of who’s calling the shots, this study underscores the value of comprehensive, medically accurate sexual education. Teens must be taught how to engage in safe sex. It not only helps prevent unwanted pregnancies but can help save their health and lives. End of story. It also shows the importance of involving boys in discussions about contraception – it’s not just a girl’s issue!
*Step off soapbox*
While the findings of this study are encouraging, they aren’t exactly comprehensive. The study focuses on hetero-normative sex among 15-19 year olds. What about teens younger than 15 (let’s be real – there are kids younger than 15 doing it)? Or boys engaging in same sex intercourse? How about heterosexual teens having anal sex — are they using condoms too? Also, were the condoms worn throughout the entire first sexual experience (admit it – many of us are familiar with the “just the tip, just for a second” game)? I’d also be interested in knowing the breakdown of the study sample’s geographic locations. In other words, is this a nationwide trend, or is it more popular in certain pockets of the country?
Irrespective of gaps in the study, this is very positive news and I sincerely hope that the safe sex trend among teens will continue. Only good things can come from it.
What about you? Did you use a condom the first time you had sex?