More Teen Boys Than Ever Using Condoms, CDC Reports

A guy and girl kiss.
A couple in the bedroom. (Image credit: Anton Zabielskyi, Shutterstock)

A higher proportion than ever of teenage guys are using a condom the first time they have sex, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

According to the report, which compared 2006-2010 data to numbers from 2002, eight in 10 teen males used a condom during their first sexual encounter, an increase of 9 percentage points since 2002.

The study also found that 16 percent of teen males used a condom in combination with a female partner's hormonal method, a 6 percentage point increase from 2002. [Read: The History and Future of Birth Control]

Teens and contraception

Teen pregnancy rates have been on a 20-year downward trend, and experts are optimistic that preventing teen pregnancy is a "winnable battle." The new study finds that about 43 percent of never-married teen gals and 42 percent of never-married teen males have had sex. Those numbers have remained stable since 2002.  

Overall contraceptive use has also remained fairly stable since 2002, with 78 percent of teeange girls and 85 percent of teenage boys reporting that they used contraception the first time they had sex.

However, use of condoms as contraceptives during first-time sex did increase since 2002, as did using a condom in conjunction with another birth control method, usually hormonal birth control. Non-pill versions of hormonal birth control also became more popular among teens. Between 2006 and 2010, 6 percent of teen girls used injectable hormones, the contraceptive patch or some other pill alternative, compared with 2 percent in 2002.

Despite long-term improvements in pregnancy risk behaviors among teens, differences still exist among Hispanic origin and race groups.  Non-Hispanic black males have the highest percentages who are sexually experienced, and Hispanic males have the highest percentages using no contraceptive method at last sex.

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.