Condom use during most recent vaginal intercourse event among a probability sample of adults in the United States

Stephanie A. Sanders, Michael Reece, Debby Herbenick, Vanessa Schick, Brian Dodge, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Introduction.: Correct and consistent condom use remains the most effective way to reduce sexually transmissible infection/HIV transmission during sex and is a highly effective contraceptive method. Understanding correlates of condom use is vital to public health programs. Aim.: To explore sociodemographic, event characteristics, and experiential correlates of condom use at last penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI). Methods.: Survey data were collected from a nationally representative probability sample of adults in the United States as part of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. Main Outcome Measures.: Condom use/non-use at most recent PVI was the main outcome. Logistic regression analyses predicted condom use from sociodemographic variables (i.e., age, education, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, health status, type of relationship with sexual partner) and event characteristics (i.e., location of sexual encounter, prior intercourse experience with partner, whether partner had other sex partners in the 6 months prior to sex with the participant; other contraceptive use, alcohol use, marijuana use, and for men, erection medication use). Logistic regression analyses examined evaluations of the sexual aspects of the experience (pleasure, arousal, erection/lubrication difficulty, participant orgasm, partner orgasm) in light of condom use. Results.: Condom-protected PVI was significantly greater among younger people, blacks and Hispanics, and those having PVI with a nonrelationship partner. Statistically adjusting for these differences, condom use was significantly associated with fewer previous intercourse experiences with the partner and not using other forms of contraception. The sexual aspects of experience were evaluated similarly regardless of whether or not a condom was used. Conclusion.: Public health programs among youths and minorities may underlie higher condom use rates among these groups. Condom use may be further improved by continuing such programs and also expanding outreach to older persons and whites, suggesting prolonging use as relationships develop, and highlighting that condom use does not necessarily interfere with the sexual experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-373
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Condoms
  • Penile-Vaginal Intercourse
  • Sexual Event
  • Unprotected Intercourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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