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Condoms: The Now Popular Choice for 'First Timers'

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In the last 20-plus years the use of condoms during first-time intercourse has risen almost 30 percent. A survey conducted every six to seven years by the National Survey of Family Growth announced the findings in late May, 2010, linking the increase with the heightened use of male condoms, up from 34 percent in 1985 to 72 percent. The findings are used as an attempt to understand the patterns of pregnancies in the United States every year. As the report stated, “… half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, a far higher proportion than is found in many other industrialized countries. One clear reason is the relatively high share of unprotected sex that occurs in the United States.”

In recent years the number of teenage births has declined. This may be in due largely to education. With more access to answers about pregnancy and the risks of sexual intercourse, teenagers and those starting to become sexually active have made the decision to use male condoms more regularly than before. Other forms of contraception have become increasingly popular but for "first timers" the decision to protect against pregnancy may not come until their level of sexual activity increases.

“The most popular method in the United States is the pill, used by 10.7 million women between the ages of 15 and 44, closely followed by sterilization, used by 10.3 million women. The typical pattern among women is to rely on a male condom at first intercourse, the pill to delay birth and sterilization once a woman has had all the children she wants.”

These findings are illustrated in an article in the New York Times earlier this week titled "Study Finds Condom Use Is Increasing." The article cites a statistic that 99 percent of sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 44 have used some sort of contraception. This sheds light on the United States’ decision to ignore almost entirely, the opinions of religious institutions, embracing the use of contraceptives as a protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The attractiveness of alternative forms of contraception such as ‘the pill,’ or ‘the patch,’ or ‘the ring’ may one day take precedence over male condoms, but until then the increasing popular choice for ‘first timers’ is a step in the right direction. It's an ode to the growing awareness and education put forth by health care facilities, institutions, the public, and the Internet. Women now have accessibility to the information that will keep them healthy and the power to make the choices themselves.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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