The Older You Get, The More Often You Forget To Use Condoms

Adults are quick to preach to children the virtues of safe sex, but not so careful to practice them. According to an Indiana University study, adults use condoms during casual sex at a rate far lower than that of teens.

The New York Times presents the study’s grim numbers: While 80 percent of teen boys under age 17 and 69 percent of teen girls in the same age range said they used condoms the last time they got busy, less than half of adults said they were as responsible.

An author of the study looked at the brighter side of the findings, telling the Times:

“I think that just as teenagers quickly develop an expectation that they’re going to learn to drive no matter where they live. 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.”

We can only speculate why adults have forgotten how to “drive,” as the scientist so crassly puts it. Maybe it’s that grown-ups develop an aptitude for being able to spot those with crabs at first sight.

Condom Use Is Highest for Young, Study Finds [The New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    Maybe once you are an adult, you have all of the diseases anyway.

  2. RandomHookup says:

    I think it’s “the older you get, the more likely you are to forget where you put the condoms” (or they are expired).

    • knoxblox says:

      Not likely this could be similar to the “not being able to find your glasses because they’re on your head” syndrome. That is, unless you’ve lost all sensation down there.

      But then, why would you be having sex if you couldn’t feel it?

  3. kylere1 says:

    Condoms do not prevent crabs. When you are trying to close the story with a cute line, at least consider if it makes sense.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      It’s Phil….he isn’t so good at ending a story without using a question.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Your mean-spirited comment adds nothing to this post. If you’re so much better at writing, why don’t you start your own blog? Feel free to take Lightning with you.

      • PanCake BuTT says:

        Who went ahead & made you the President of the internet. This is a place where you can express yourself as you see fit, sure there is a clear line to be drawn, but the person did not cross it. Keep your anti-mean spirited comments to yourself, & go blogg somewhere else.

      • DarthCoven says:

        i think myCatCracksMeUp must be Phil’s mom or grandma or something. Who else would come running to his defense like that?

  4. adamstew says:

    Maybe because once you’re an adult you tend to be in a monogamous married relationship, so why would you need to use a condom?

    Yes, you could use a condom to prevent a pregnancy, but there are other effective methods than a condom. The only other reason is disease, and if you’re monogamous, then you have little to worry about.

    • Mark says:

      >>and if you’re monogamous, then you have little to worry about.

      Depends on whether your partner is also monogamous.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I can’t imagine using condoms in a monogamous relationship. Do married couples really use them out of fear their partners are cheating?

        My wife and I haven’t touched them since we started seriously dating. She’s been on birth control since then and I’ll be getting a vasectomy once our next child is born.

        • Disappointed says:

          My boyfriend and I still use condoms as our primary form of birth control, and we’ve been monogamous for almost 3 years. We prefer to use them rather than my being on hormonal birth control, which I used for a grand total of about a year when I was 19 – 20, and haven’t touched since.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Is the plan to continue using condoms for the rest of your fertile lives?

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I wonder if there might be some sampling bias in regards to whether “casual” relationships are self reported or not. I know many people in their 40’s and older who are in committed, monogamous relationships but don’t want to admit to it. They’re all people who went through very bitter divorces and fear acknowledging commitment.

        • roguemarvel says:

          My husband and I use condoms and hormonal birth control (or hormonal birth control and spermicide when we want to go bareback). Seeing as he is a Masters student and we are about to have massive student loans, we want to be as careful as possible to prevent a surprise baby.

          Also some condoms can add to sexual pleasure, the ones we normally get are studded and they get a A+ from me. Plus easy clean up!

    • Scrutinizer says:

      I’ve been with my wife 25 years, we finished up that 12 pack we bought when we first started going out last year and just decided not to get another. So far no problems.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      A fair point, but TFA indicates that the researchers are comparing apples and apples; they specify that the adults surveyed were asked about “casual sex”, implying non-monogamous, short-term interactions. However, the original abstract says nothing about that, except to say that those surveyed were “sexually active individuals”. Some might argue that that excludes many married couples. :-/

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Well, what you agree to isn’t always what happens, as the many victims of cheating partners/spouses can attest. But that aside, people in their 20s or older are more likely to be monogamous and that requires a great deal of trust. Responsible (or at least more or less responsible) people can consult doctors, get tested, get prescription pills, etc. This is less likely for 14 to 17 year olds because they are more dependent upon their parents for access to doctors, testing, prescriptions, etc.

    • Bill610 says:

      According to the first line of the post, it says “adults use condoms during casual sex at a rate far lower than that of teens”. So it’s not talking about monogamy.

      • madanthony says:

        But it is talking about casual sex. Most sex between teenagers is going to be casual sex, while adults are more likely to have monogamous long-term relationships. So maybe the kids who use condoms are more likely to move into monogamous long-term relationships, leaving only the less responsible adults to hook up.

    • ash says:

      Condoms are a perfectly legitimate way of preventing pregnancy. Hormonal birth control is the most popular form of contraceptives in the USA, but condoms can be effective when used consistently and correctly. As with all birth control methods, the biggest problem is user error (not putting on condom, putting it on incorrectly, etc) Birth control pills are not reliable when not used properly either.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I think you injected the word ‘more’ before ‘effective’ when reading adamstew’s comment. I don’t think they were trying to say that condoms were ineffective just that other methods are also effective.

    • dg says:

      Well, maybe… But more than likely you started out with condoms, discovered you were screwing each other exclusively, discovered you both had no diseases, she was on the pill, and you said “screw em” and rode bareback…

      Now as a teenager, loads and loads of partners… changing all the time… stoned… drunk… waking up and having one-nighters… So ummm, yeah, condoms aren’t so bad…

  5. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I didn’t see in the report any indication if MARRIED adults were factored out of the sample.

    • RandomHookup says:

      If you check the article, it has a chart where casual partner and monogamous partner are measured separately.

  6. qwickone says:

    Maybe it has to do with alcohol? I’m presuming that more adults have consuming alcohol then having sex than teenagers, but that could be false…

  7. Tim says:

    Maybe the adults were in a committed relationship (in which they both knew they were STD-free) and either using another form of contraception or trying to get pregnant. No need for a condom then.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      They said they polled adults in “casual liaisons” so I don’t think that included any kind of committed relationship.

  8. mrsam says:

    Duh, the older you get, the less often do the appropriate opportunities arise…

    • Scrutinizer says:

      The older you get the more likely you are to do the freaky stuff that doesn’t always lend itself to condoms.

      /try not to think about your mom and her secret toy box.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    The CNN article brigns to light “why” adults don’t use them as often.

    Children have grown up with the message of “use a condom.” Those who are 40+ now, on the other hand, grew up in a world without widespread STDs and the dying remnants of “one partner, one life” so the idea of needing a condom doesn’t make much sense to them. Now these 40+ people are getting back into the dating world after decades of a safe marriage (sexually speaking).

    • RickinStHelen says:

      You need to kick it up to over 50, and probably 52 0r 55. In the late 70s, early 80s Herpes was a raging problem, and Time had a cover story about it. People were freaked out over the possibility of catching such a dreaded disease. The HIV (AIDS way back then) came along and made herpes seem quaint. The point is those who had the free and easy times of the disco era learned to use condoms early on, and they are all over 50, so those who are mere babes of 40 never were sexually active in a time where there wasn’t a great fear of unprotected sex.

      • mmmsoap says:

        Yeah, but when HIV/AIDS first made the scene, it was thought of as a gay-only disease (“gay cancer” it was called)….It wasn’t until almost 10 years later (in the early 90s) that the public health push for everyone to use a condom, no matter what, really came to the fore. By that time, the gay community was pretty awesome in terms of its safe-sex education, and the straight community was lagging behind. Also, since most of the dreaded-STDs were either non-fatal (herpes) or easily cured (most of the others), condom use was not has high as you suggest pre-HIV.

    • econobiker says:

      We were hearing about using them in metro areas back in the late ’80s- ’88-’89.

      The rest of the country was behind the curve.

  10. Liam Kinkaid says:

    That’s it, Grandma and Grandpa. I have had it with your irresponsible behavior. You guys need to act your age. Don’t make me come in there!

  11. Hands says:

    Maybe it’s me. I’m 58 and I absolutely can’t imagine this. While I’m not worried about getting a partner pregnant, STI’s are foremost on my mind. We’ve been aware of AIDS for half my life and a large number of people my age have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the disease — and this doesn’t even take into account any number of other diseases.

    If this survey is true the only reason I can think of to explain it is that those adults think of themselves as bulletproof and put way more trust in their partners than they should. Only once since I divorced have I had a partner with whom I didn’t use a condom and that was only after $600 spent on blood tests for both of us.

  12. TuxedoCartman says:

    Also when you’re 50 or 60 years-old… who CARES if you’ve got an STD?!!! Priorities shift more to…
    1) are they not absolutely, unbearably,hideously ugly?
    2) are they on a cocktail of heart medications?
    3) does the plumbing still work?
    4) do they still have even the slightest bit of a sex drive left?

    Once you reach old age, and your social life is dead (sometimes literally),your body doesn’t work right, nothing is where it used to be…hell, I’d probably take someone up on an offer of sex even if they had syphilis on their face. Not like pregnancy is an issue either.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I’d think at that age you’d have enough problems without having to deal with (another) disease they can’t cure.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      50 to 60 is NOT old!

    • Mulva says:

      50 is ZOMG! SO OLD!

      There has actually be an uptick in STD’s amongst seniors – especially in retirement community. Imagine – you come from a generation of one person, one marriage. Your spouse dies and suddenly, you’re single! Casual sex is actually “okay”! Back in their day, condoms were nasty things not meant for comfort or pleasure, only birth control, so there would be an aversion to using them, plus they haven’t been conditioned to use them like the rest of us youngsters.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Sean Connery is in his 70s and he is not ugly.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I believe you come closest to the truth on this matter. Not the ugly part, but (3) about the plumbing. It doesn’t work quite as well for many men beginning in their 40s-50s. Condoms reduce sensation even further, making the maintenance of an erection more difficult. As another poster said, people in their 50s have been hearing the safer sex message for nearly 30 years now, so it isn’t a matter of habit or lack of knowledge that leads them to eschew condoms. Canada has issued a health advisory to snowbirds visiting the U.S., warning them of the too-high number of them who are acquiring HIV while having sex on winter vacation.

  13. FangDoc says:

    A lot of people who came sexually of age before the AIDS epidemic used condoms for birth control, not to prevent STIs. Now that they’re past the age of having to worry about unplanned pregnancy, it doesn’t occur to them to use condoms. Apparently there are some mini-epidemics of chlamydia, HPV, gonorrhea, and even syphilis in senior communities. Damn you, Viagra!!!,8599,1819633,00.html

  14. qbubbles says:

    No one wants to fuck you when you’re old and wrinkly… so when a man comes along you get less demanding about condoms…

    or something.

    I wouldnt know.

    I’m not old and wrinkly.

  15. theycallmeGinger says:

    Teenagers are just starting to have sex and it’s terrible at that age, so it’s not like they know the difference. After you’ve had some experience and know what sex is like without the condom, it takes a lot of self-control to “do the right thing.” And when it comes to sex, self-control is rarely involved…

  16. RogerX says:

    …condoms don’t remotely prevent or slow the transmission of crabs!

  17. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Well this is just sad:

    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).


    • Geekmom says:

      Part of it is probably because doctors doing c-sections aren’t very careful of how they fix everything before they sew women back up.

      I know a lot of women with this problem. Doctors can fix it, but won’t or insurance won’t cover it.
      They just shrug their shoulders and say try a different position.

  18. bishophicks says:

    In a related made up study it was discovered that the older men get the more they tend to forget they’ve had a vasectomy.

  19. Caffinehog says:

    Maybe it’s because adults have used condoms enough to realize that they SUCK!

    • AnthonyC says:

      Many do yes, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re all created equal. They’re not.
      Go to the Condomania or Condom Depot websites. Look at their recommended and most popular options. Odds are you’ve never seen them in your local drugstore. Drugstores usually carry mostly crappy condoms that everyone has heard of. Also, the ones that get given out for free at schools and colleges are usually the worst of the bunch (in terms of pleasure, not safety).

      Good condoms are generally thinner, and lubricated, and you should buy ones that fit you. Yes, any condom will fit any penis, but that doesn’t mean it will be comfortable. Personally, I like Beyond Seven and Crown.

      Funny enough, buying good condoms is much easier for adults than teens. Teens don’t have credit cards or a place to ship their online condom order discretely, so they have to make do with what is locally available. And they *still* do better at using condoms for casual sex.

  20. richcreamerybutter says:

    The “olds” might only remember condoms that resemble latex gloves. Brands such as Beyond Seven (especially aloe – yes, aloe!) are way ahead of your average drugstore selection. is great for ordering premium condoms without any stigma…is this at all a factor in an older person who has just left a marriage of many years?

  21. Mulva says:

    Incongruous photo award goes to…

  22. Mcshonky says:

    girls with kooties will do freaky things……

    Daddy likey those girls…….

  23. diagoro says:

    I saw this yesterday, first thing I thought was an age bias. Women who have reached menopause, have had a hysterectomy, etc. There are also men who have been ‘clipped’ at some point before this. While I don’t expect the numbers to be extremely high, I’m sure it’s enough to have a significant weight in the outcome.

    Wonder if they even counted on alzheimers……”honey. did you remember to use some protection?”, “honey, did you remember to use some protection”,….;)

  24. econobiker says:

    As a person who had to educate a widowed older family member about this, I can vouch for this reality.

    The woman was considering a relationship with a retired man who used to go on “golfing” trips with other retired widowed or divorced male friends to certain Caribbean Islands every fall. I had to alert her to the fact that these islands often harbor prostitution, that he didn’t own a set of golf clubs, and he loved flirting with women (ie not gay). Ergo- wrap everything up until after everyone was tested- which is what happened and they are happily a couple now.

    But she hadn’t even consider the need for protection until I connected the dots.

  25. christianmarie says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that when I was a teenager I would have lied about how often I used condoms.

  26. lawgirl502 says:

    Most people have or carry herpes-older people don’t necessarily get laid as much as the younger ones do-maybe they are married or monogamous-what’s the point if you don’t have long to live

  27. LACubsFan says:

    This ‘survey’ like most is bullshit. They only asked 5,865 people. So out of the 5,865 people, they found a bunch of stupid idiots who don’t want to protect themselves.