Why People Still Don't Use Condoms, Even Though They Know They Should


In some ways, HBO's Girls reminds me of the bullied student trope. No matter what it does or direction it takes, everyone picks apart and attacks Lena Dunham's seriously entertaining and intriguing series, and one of the many things season two was criticized for was its unprotected sex scenes

When it comes to condom-free situations on Girls, Marnie hooks up with Booth Jonathan, Hannah has sex with a teenager in the woods, and Marnie and ex-boyfriend Charlie get it on in a private room at his work party. Some said it was unusual for a series taking place in educated (but infected) NYC to seemingly promote unprotected sex, and while I'm not about to tear the show to shreds for this, I know it's important for young people everywhere, especially in New York, to be more careful than that.

The truth is, it's just too easy to blow off the awkward, potentially mood-killing act of putting on a condom. Young women on the pill or another form of BC are already protecting themselves from pregnancy, and when they're in the middle of things, they can just shrug off the possibility or getting an STD because they're preventing conception, which can be a scarier fate for some.

There's also the reality that condoms simply don't feel as natural or pleasant as unprotected sex. Bill and Melinda Gates are trying to change that by promising $100K to anyone who can enhance the condom experience, and while a new and improved condom could definitely resonate with young people, some simply don't have the patience or think clearly in the heat of the moment, and that's never going to change. 

With teen pregnancy rates in decline and multiple ways to prevent conception (some better than others), it's easy to see why young people don't feel the need to use condoms. As scared as we all may be of becoming parents before we're ready, we should be just as afraid of contracting STDs, because without your health, you really have nothing. 

Chances are, you'll have unprotected sex with a non-exclusive partner at least a few times in your life, and if you're lucky, you'll leave your pap smear or STD testing appointment with no red flags. That doesn't mean you shouldn't "crack the whip" and insist on using condoms, though, so no matter how immersed in the moment you may get, remember that you've got a long life ahead and wouldn't want to put it at stake for a dashing individual you just met.