Condom Confidence Boosts Women's Sex Appeal

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Carrying Condoms no longer taboo as women today twice as likely to carry condoms than their mother's generation.

Myth-busting new research for the Condom Essential Wear campaign by ICM reveals that women who take control in the bedroom by demanding safe sex are more attractive to English men.

Men like nothing better than a woman who knows what she wants, with the majority of men polled (68%) believing that women who carry condoms are confident and 'in control'. Furthermore, more than a quarter of men (27%) would actually prefer their partner to be the one who suggests using condoms.

Female attitudes and behaviour in relation to sex, and roles and responsibilities, have changed significantly over the last 30 years, and "double standards" which used to exist for men and women around carrying condoms are disappearing.

Women in the noughties are twice as likely as women of their mother's generation to carry condoms - with 31% of women aged 18-24 carrying them on nights out compared with 17% of women of a similar age in the 80's and 14% of women of a similar age in the 70's.

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Men no longer have the monopoly on carrying the condoms. The vast majority (81%) of men think women should feel comfortable carrying condoms. Women have responded to these changing roles and are far less likely to rely on a man to provide the condom than they were in previous generations (87%).

As levels of confidence and a general sense of female empowerment have grown, so too has the amount and frequency of sex women are having - far more than in previous generations. Long term trends - as indicated by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind - indicate how sexual behaviour has changed over past decades, with women having more sexual partners and experiencing different and in some cases more risky types of sexual activity1.

However, there is another side to more liberal attitudes and greater levels of sexual activity. The UK has some of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) amongst young people in Europe. One in twelve people under 25 who are tested by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme are found to have Chlamydia which often lacks visible symptoms and can have serious consequences such as ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

Sarah Hedley, Cosmopolitan's Sexpert and renowned commentator on women's issues, said:

"Many young women who get treated for a (STI) have had unprotected sex because they didn't have a condom to hand. They're often worried they'll be seen as 'easy' for carrying or suggesting using one. This research clearly shows however that perceptions are changing for the better.

"Condoms offer the best form of protection against STIs and women planning nights out should make sure they're prepared. More women today are carrying them than in previous generations which is excellent news, but there is still progress to be made. Taking a condom on a night out should be as normal as taking a phone, keys and purse. There's never been a better time for women to be condom confident and enjoy a healthy, active sex life."

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