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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Condom use is higher among black and Hispanic Americans than among white Americans and those from other racial groups, according to findings from the largest nationally representative study of sexual and sexual health behaviors ever fielded, conducted by Indiana University sexual health researchers and published last week in a special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The study helped both the public and professionals to understand how condom use patterns vary across these different stages in people's relationships and across ages, noted Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, which conducted the study. "Findings show that condoms are used twice as often with casual sexual partners as with relationship partners, a trend that is consistent for both men and women across age groups that span 50 years."
One new feature to the study was the inclusion of teens — the study found that many teenagers actually practice abstinence. "Many surveys of adolescent sexual behavior create an impression that adolescents are becoming sexually active at younger ages, and that most teens are sexually active," noted Dennis Fortenberry, professor of pediatrics in the IU School of Medicine, who led the adolescent aspects of the study. "[But] many contemporary adolescents are being responsible by abstaining or by using condoms when having sex."
Another key finding highlighted in the collection of papers addressed intimacy health among older Americans, finding that many older adults continue to have active sex lives; however, adults older than 40 years have the lowest rates of condom use.