Do Men Really Care About Contraception?

You will never guess what the CDC recently revealed about single American men in the US. Recall that this federal agency monitors and prevents the outbreak of disease, from influenza to Zika, and maintains nationwide health statistics. They do good work and, like me, are keenly interested in men’s health. I applaud them.

So what are sexually active young American men up to these days? Taking control of contraception, that’s what! Check out the latest stats (2011 to 2015):

  • Almost 60% of unmarried men used male contraception with intercourse. This has increased from almost 50% a decade ago. Nice!
  • The flat out #1 choice for men is condoms, which are chosen 30 times more often than vasectomy (1.4% of men). Makes sense that men are worried about more than just unwanted pregnancies when lighting things up.
  • Surprisingly, pulling out (withdrawal) is “in” again with a two-fold increase in use from a decade ago (now 19% of men). Hey whatever works–withdrawal isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be.
  • It is good to know that 95% of unmarried, sexually active men ages 15-19 use some form of contraception. And the vast majority (87%) choose condoms. It is a similar relief that teenagers, who have the highest risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, realize that barriers are best.
  • Interestingly, a huge percentage of never-married, single, sexually active men use male contraceptives (75%). They are probably scared out of becoming accidental dads!

While it is good news that men are proactive in pregnancy prevention, women still rule the day when it comes to birth control. A separate CDC report found that 65% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 use contraception. Predictably, that figure is much higher for unmarried women who do not wish to become pregnant.

Although a good male birth control pill could help to narrow this contraceptive gender gap, it is unlikely that men will outpace women on this issue. Nonetheless, let’s give men credit for trying! And for making more responsible and wiser sexual health choices as they meander into adulthood. And hats off to you for using more contraception than you ever have before. See, you really can teach both young dogs and old dogs new tricks.