Celebrate National Condom Week!
February 14th through 21st is National Condom Week! Celebrate by learning some quick tips about condom use and safe sex whether you’re single or all paired up. We have videos on sexual health for your viewing pleasure, and check our links for lots of safe sex information.
In honor of National Condom Awareness Week, we’re highlighting some of the myths and facts about how couples have safe sex in a relationship!
Condoms & Couples: 7 facts you should know!
1. Couples: Get Tested Twice! Experts recommend that you go for the full run of STD testing twice before you stop using condoms with a partner. More than half of young Americans will get an STD before age 25. (See this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report) Testing regularly is a good health habit—regardless of your relationship status!
2. STD Infections Can Happen In Couples! Nearly 80% of new HIV infections occur among young men who have sex with men happen within couples. (For more information, see the IMPACT research on the topic, as well as this 2008 CDC Report). Female couples can check lesbianstd.com for more information on the transmission of HIV, as well as other STDs, between women.
3. Condoms are Not Just for Casual Sex! Using condoms, and other forms of safe sex behavior like using dental dams, getting tested, and making sexual agreements about multiple partners, should be used both in serious relationships and for casual hook-ups! A recent IMPACT study found that young men who have sex with men are nearly eight times more likely to have unprotected sex in a serious and committed relationship than during casual sex. Sex in relationships can be risky, too. Testing, protection, and ongoing conversations are all components of safe and healthy relationships!
4. Condoms Are Not Just for Straight Couples! Condoms are not just for preventing pregnancy. They also can help prevent sexually transmitted diseases among male/male and female/female couples. When sharing dildos, for example, female couples can use a condom to minimize fluid exchange and thus prevent STDs. For more information on the birth control or prevention materials that are right for you, check out the Bedsider and Avert websites that help you choose materials that fit your relationship!
5. Safe Sex is Sexy. Think condoms kill the mood? You’re missing out: Nearly 83% of teens are using condoms when they have sex! (Learn more here and here). Using a condom and talking about safe sex shows that you care about your health, and the health of your partner. It also means you’re taking a special moment to do some dirty talk about how to get down. Condoms can make for great foreplay: Get creative by checking out some videos on correct (and sexy!) condom use from Planned Parenthood’s YouTube site.
6. Serious Relationships should get Serious about Safe Sex. Remember that IMPACT study that found that young men in serious and committed relationships were nearly eight times more likely to have unprotected sex? Not knowing your partner’s status, or not having been tested twice during the relationship (this means six months of dating!), means that condoms and other safe sex practices are the only way to know that you’re being safe, even in a serious relationship.
7. Couples Have Options. Condoms come in great colors, types, and sizes. You have a whole range of safe sex materials, and practices, to choose from! Amplify and Avert are two LGBTQ-friendly websites that can help you choose the birth control and safe sex materials that are right for you. So take advantage of all those options, and get creative with your safe sex!
1. Mosher WD and Jones J, Use of contraception in the United States: 1982–2008, Vital and Health Statistics, 2010, 23(29).
2. Reece M, Herbenick D, Schick V, Sanders SA, Dodge B, and Fortenberry JD, Condom use rates in a national probability sample of males and females ages 14 to 94 in the United States, J Sex Med 2010, 7(suppl 5): 266–276.
3. Sullivan, P S, Salazar L, Buchbinder S, and Sanchez TH, Estimating the proportion of HIV transmissions from main sex partners among men who have sex with men in five US cities, AIDS 2009, 23(1): 1-10. Available online here .
4. Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W Jr, Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000, Perspect Sex Reprod Health, 2004, 36(1):6-10. Available here.