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Commentary & Opinion

Teens Should Teach Adults About Safe Sex

November 23, 2010

"... An Indiana University study published last month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine examined the habits of almost 6,000 people ages 14 to 94. Forget the 'teens gone wild' stereotypical thinking. The statistics that give pause are unmarried adults:

  • 91 percent of men older than 50 do not use condoms for sex with a date or casual acquaintance.
  • 70 percent of men over 50 do not use condoms when having sex with someone they just met.
  • Some men and women over 50 didn't use condoms even when they knew that they or their partner had an STD. By comparison, 80 percent of sexually active teen boys and 69 percent of teen girls' partners used condoms during their most recent encounters. Researchers say this proves kids are getting the 'safe sex' message.

"Why such reckless behavior among older people? According to Debra Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, Boomers didn't come of age with pervasive messages about condoms. ...

"Public campaigns on condom use and safe sex should begin to target older folks. But Herbenick says health care providers can also play a role by asking patients about all aspects of their sexual lives.

"University of Texas psychologists David Buss and Cindy Meston have conducted several studies, including 'Why Women Have Sex,' which looked at the habits of more than 1,000 women ages 18-86 from every racial group. With women over 30 expressing a greater desire for sex, Buss noted it's possible that the onus for increased condom use, as with birth control in the past, may fall disproportionately to women. ...

"... As hard as I've preached to my 18-year-old son Brandon about behavior, condoms, abstinence, and the stigmas associated with STDs, it's a tad awkward these days as he somewhat jokingly returns the advice to his post-divorce mom. Turnabout is fair play, especially when adults aren't taking their own advice."

The author is a freelance writer in Dallas.

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from:
USA Today
11.19.2010; Joyce King

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Grown-Up, But Still Irresponsible
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More Viewpoints on HIV Prevention for Young People

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