Couples in committed relationships are less than committed to using condoms.
According to a new study, couples in casual relationships regularly used condoms only 33.5% of the time, and only 14% of the time in serious relationships.
Dutch researchers surveyed 2,144 men and women, and asked them about their sexual activities with their four most recent sexual partners. They found that condom use among heterosexual couples is influenced more by the type of relationship they have than other factors such as gender.
Irregular condom use was more common as relationships progressed and people were together for longer periods. Interestingly, the more highly-sexed couples were, the less likely they were to use condoms, whether in serious or casual relationships. For instance, couples who experimented with sex acts like sex-related drug use and anal sex were more likely to report irregular condom use. Couples of the same ethnicity were also less likely to use condoms.
The researchers believe that public health messaging for condom use could improve by focusing on what type of couples are less likely to use them, Reuters reports. But the study was criticized for not defining the parameters of "irregular use."
The study is published in the journal, Sexually Transmitted Infections.