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US teens more responsible about condoms than adults

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Every high school kid knows you can contract disgusting, embarrassing, if not debilitating, sexually transmitted diseases. Apparently, we all forget that fact after graduation. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior by Indiana University study of Americans sexual behaviors — the broadest of its kind since 1992 — reports that condom use is the norm for sexually active teenagers ages fourteen to seventeen. It also had some interesting facts about women and orgasms, as we wrote about earlier in the week.

According to the study, eighty percent percent of boys and sixty-nine percent of girls surveyed said they used a condom the last time they had sex. The study only considered vaginal sex. It's good to know kids are playing in safe, in spite of this country's overall disregard for comprehensive sex education.

“I think that just as teenagers quickly develop an expectation that they’re going to learn to drive no matter where they live,” said a co-author of the survey, Dr. J. Dennis Fortenberry, “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.”

How did adults fare? Not so well. Less than half reported using a condom during their last bout of casual sex.  Black and Hispanic men reported using condoms at a higher rate than men of other races.

Surely, monogamy is a factor in lower condom usage overall among adults. But why aren't those of us having casual sex keeping it, uh, under wraps? Maybe because most heterosexuals use other contraceptive devices and often consider unplanned pregnancy the most threatening sexually transmitted disease. Word to the wise: It's not.