Men's Perception of Condom Usage

Why are men so reluctant to use condoms?

Sealed condom poking out of a jeans pant pocket
Roderick Chen / Getty Images

It's a long-established fact that, in addition to their efficacy in preventing pregnancy, condoms are second only to abstinence when it comes to preventing exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Still, even with the emergence of HIV and AIDS and, by extension, the increasing need for men to take a more active role in STI prevention, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. This suggests that condom use is still not a priority for men.

Why?

The Negative Stigma Surrounding Condom Usage

It seems that, despite its effectiveness, the condom is still viewed in a number of negative ways. First of all, there's that old chestnut about condoms having an adverse effect on personal pleasure. Some men describe the experience of using a condom as "having sex with gloves on."

Research also shows that young, unmarried men are more reluctant than women to suggest the use of condoms. For men, this reluctance has to do not only with the idea of reduced sexual pleasure, but also with the tendency to view condoms primarily as a contraceptive tool. It seems that many men still see contraception as solely a female responsibility.

Finally, men would rather not put the brakes on in the heat of the moment in order to apply a condom, or even to suggest using one. Fears about ruining the moment aside, a lot of men are shy about putting condoms on in front of a sexual partner.

Why We Need to Work Harder at Reducing This Negative Stigma

The importance of normalizing condom usage is pretty straightforward. Use a condom properly and you radically reduce the risks of unplanned pregnancy, of contracting a sexual disease, or of passing one on to others.

Sure, condoms may reduce sensitivity.

And it may seem awkward to pause in the midst of sex to put on a condom. But on the other hand, condoms can increase staying power and, if your partner is relaxed because you're using protection, they could actually increase pleasure. And it's possible to inject eroticism into your condom usage, too, making it a part of your sexual play. Finally, there's nothing sexier than a man who's willing to share the responsibility of making sex safe.

Article Source:
"Fertility, Contraception, and Fatherhood: Data on Men and Women from the National Survey of Family ." National Centers for Health Statistics. 06 Oct 2006. Centers for Disease Control. 

"Unintended Pregnancy Prevention: Contraception." Department of Health and Human Services. 28 Sep 2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases." CDC’s National Prevention Information Network. Jan 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"HIV/AIDS among Men Who Have Sex with Men." Division of AIDS/HIV Prevention.

July 2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Lee, Christina, and R. Glynn Jones. The Psychology of Men's Health. Philadelphia: Open University Press, 2002.

Troth, A., and C. C. Perterson. "Factors Predicting Safe Sex Talk and Condom Use in Early Sexual Relationship." Health Communication 12(2000): 195-218.

Marston C, King E. Factors that shape young people's sexual behaviour: a systematic review. The Lancet Vol. 368, Issue 9547, 04 Nov 2006: 1581-1586

"Use of Contraception and Use of Family Planning Services in the United States: 1982-2002." National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Continue Reading