Blinded By Desire? The Real Reason Men and Women Skip the Condom

The Real Reason Men and Women Skip the Condom.

In a perfect world, getting your partner to use a condom would be easy. They’d just wrap it up and get on with it. But condoms have been stigmatized through the media, pop culture, hearsay, gossip, you name it. And sadly, this leads to a wide variety of negative assumptions circulating in our society about why our partners might want to use condoms. And when those assumptions get mixed in with desire, love, relationship potential, and other emotional needs it can make staying safe harder to navigate than it should be.

Which leads to the issue of condom use. Most adults are aware that using condoms are the best way to protect against STDs and HIV. So why would we forgo that protection with new or casual sexual partners?

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research sheds light on why men and women would choose to have sex without a condom.  

The study focused on three main groups: women who have sex with men (WSM), men who have sex with women (MSW), and men who have sex with men (MSM). Because sexual safety practices differ for women who have sex with women, they were not sampled for this particular study.

Participants were presented with a hypothetical new sexual partner and asked a series of questions to gauge their likelihood to use a condom.  

The results varied across gender groups and sexual preferences but MSM and WSM were more likely to forgo a condom when they felt there might be relationship potential with a new partner.

There are lots of reasons why #relationshipgoals might make some pass on condom use. A number of participants reported that it could imply promiscuity on their part, meaning they didn’t want to suggest that they had multiple sexual partners. Others said that they wanted to show their potential partner that they trust them, or they were worried that a condom might “distance” them from a potential partner.

Unfortunately, these reasons seem valid. And that’s the problem. Many people still associate condom-use with negative stereotypes.

If you want to use a seat belt in your car, should we assume you’re a bad driver? No. You’re simply making a decision to protect yourself against dangerous scenarios. Safety precautions should only imply one thing: safety. A condom should only indicate that you want to protect yourself and your partner from something that could be potentially harmful.

As long as we perpetuate these ideas that condoms are something that distance us from potential partners, we’ll never get to a point where condom negotiation is simple or straightforward. It’s time to change the way that condoms are perceived. If you care about someone, you should want them to stay safe and vice versa. We need to start normalizing condoms until using them becomes as routine and judgement free as using a seatbelt. If we start assuming less and talking more, we can take the judgement out of playing safe.

About: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1,000,000 people in 43 countries. We are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the world.