Here young people talk about their experiences of using condoms.
Condoms can protect against both sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. If used properly they are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy (NHS 2023), but average use has an 18% pregnancy rate (Centre for Disease Control 2015).
When people start having sex they are often more concerned about pregnancy than sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but condoms can protect against pregnancy and STIs including Chlamydia, HPV and HIV.
Explains that his main reason for using condoms is not to leave the girl pregnant.
Explains why she has always practiced safe sex. (Actor)
Advises others to wear condoms to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
One woman, who had caught chlamydia and genital warts after unprotected sex with her boyfriend, said that she was now really careful to avoid any genital contact without a condom.
Condoms are free from GP surgeries, sexual health clinics, school and college nurses, and many young people’s/community centres. They can also be bought from shops. There is a condom card (c-card) scheme in many cities, that young people can sign up for, which allows them to get free condoms from participating chemists.
Explains that her main motivation as a teenager was to avoid pregnancy rather than STIs – but…
So why don’t people use condoms every time they have sex? Sometimes people think it’s OK not to use them each time or forget about the risks of STI or pregnancy after drinking alcohol.
Indicates that initially she was very aware of the need to use condoms and that later on she…
Explains that under the influence of alcohol young people have a false sense of security.
Having sex without condoms could also be due to a lack of awareness about STIs and HIV and pressure from male partners to have sex without a condom.
Indicates that sometimes girls are pushed into having unprotected sex. (Actor)
Many people use condoms at the beginning of a relationship, but stop using them when they know each other better, or when they’ve both had an STI check-up. People we interviewed who were in their 20’s were more confident about discussing sexual history and using condoms than younger people.
Explains why it is important to discuss the possibility of another sexual partner and the need…
Some people we interviewed remember being embarrassed asking for condoms from their GPs, family planning or Brook clinics when they were teenagers. Other said that they didn’t like the feel of the free condoms which they thought were ‘too thick’ or ‘too boring’. Wider ranges of condoms are now usually available free from clinics and youth centres.
Thinks that condoms provided by the NHS are boring and those you buy at chemists are more fun to…
Says that he feels embarrassed to buy condoms from a chemist and that he prefers to get them from…
Explains that there are a variety of condoms available in the market and that in comparison free…
Many buy their own condoms, but find them expensive. Cost is another reason why people may stop using them.
Makes the point that condoms are too expensive. (Actor)
Many people have experienced a condom splitting or falling off, and in such cases they usually get emergency contraception.
A father of two said that he doesn’t mind using condoms at all, although he knows that other men have very different attitudes. Some people don’t like condoms and say that they are a ‘hassle’, ‘a pain’, or that they spoil the moment.
Indicates that he and his partner use condoms as their main form of contraception, that men are…
There are many different types of condoms (non-latex, different textures, sizes, colours, and flavours as well as the female condom) available so there’s usually one to suit.
Female condoms are also widely available but are not often used.
Victoria thinks that it is a good idea to always use a condom even when not engaging in…
Other barrier methods
These include diaphragms, caps, sponges and spermicide. See the NHS website for more information on these.