Q: What did the study on condom use in the New York Times reveal?
A: Condom use is highest for young, study finds.
Published by the New York Times on October 4, 2010 by Roni Caryn Rabin
|A wide-ranging study of Americans’ sexual behavior, based on the largest nationally representative survey since 1992, finds that condom use is becoming the norm for sexually active teenagers.
Indeed, they are more responsible than adults about using condoms, the researchers report in a study coming out on Monday. A vast majority of sexually active 14- to 17-year-olds — 80 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls — said they had used a condom the last time they had intercourse, compared with well under half of adults involved in casual liaisons.
“I think that just as teenagers quickly develop an expectation that they’re going to learn to drive no matter where they live,” said a co-author of the survey, Dr. J. Dennis Fortenberry, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, “there’s the same general widespread sense among contemporary teenagers that as you get to the point where you start thinking about having sex, condoms are going to be part of that decision.”
The new study, the first to include participants as young as 14 and as old as 94, finds that decades after the sexual revolution, the gap between men’s and women’s sexual satisfaction persists.
While most men said they had experienced orgasm the last time they had sex, and 85 percent believed their partner had also, only two-thirds of the women surveyed said they had achieved orgasm the last time they had sex. And a startling number of women — almost one-third — said they had experienced pain the last time they had sex (only 5 percent of men did).
The report is drawn from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, carried out by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. It was based on responses from 5,865 individuals, including about 800 under 18.
The report was welcomed by health providers and sex educators, who say the field has had little data to go on, even as monumental social changes — the gay rights movement, increases in cohabitation, later marriage and childbearing, the AIDS epidemic and the widespread use of drugs for erectile dysfunction, among others — have transformed sexual attitudes.
Government agencies and private foundations are reluctant to pay for studies of sexual behavior that do not focus on reproduction, experts say; the last broad sex survey, the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey, was started under a governmental contract, but Congress cut off financing and it was completed with support from private sources.
“There’s been an enormous explosion of research in virtually all areas of medicine except the entity called sexual medicine,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, editor in chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, which is devoting its entire issue to papers from the study and commentaries by experts. “We can’t get the funding.”
Even though Americans are bombarded with sexual imagery, they have little access to reliable information about sexual behavior, said Monica Rodriguez, president of Siecus, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a nonprofit group based in New York. “That’s why this is so important — it gives us a sense of what’s really happening, instead of all this, ‘Well, my sex life must not be normal, because I don’t do this or only do this.’ ”
The new study was financed by Church & Dwight, the maker of Trojan condoms. Researchers said that while they had shared information with the sponsor during the course of the study, the company had not exerted influence over the way it was conducted, except to offer advice on how to phrase questions to accurately gauge condom use.
The study also found that while only about 7 percent of men and of women identified themselves as “other than heterosexual,” a much higher percentage reported having had sex with a member of the same sex. Among women in their 30s, for example, 14 percent said they had performed oral sex on another woman at some point in their lives; 13 percent of men over 40 said they had performed oral sex on another man.
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