Condoms are one of the best ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but they are not an especially well-used form of birth control in the United States. However, new data indicates that 34% of men are using them, which is 14% more than in the past.
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics polled more than 20,000 15-44 year olds; about 24% of women and 34% of men said they used a condom the last time they had sex. The data, which was the latest available, encapsulated the years 2011-2015.
While those numbers remain low, that’s an increase for men. In 2002, just 29.5% said they used condoms. Condom use among women has remained consistent.
Less than 20% of women and men said they use a condom every time they have sex, and the rate of consistent use decreases with age. Close to 60% of women and 47% of men said they didn’t use a condom in the last year. Not surprisingly, using condoms is less likely when men and women are in committed relationships.
Even when people do use condoms, it doesn’t always go smoothly. Of those who said they used a condom in the last four weeks, more than 29% said they had a problem with it or it wasn’t used correctly. The researchers asked women if the condom ever broke or fell off during intercourse, and if the condom was ever used only part of the time during sex. Close to 26% said the condom wasn’t used the entire duration of sex, and 6.5% of women said the condom fell off or broke.