Teenagers who do not use condoms during sex believe that protection may ruin sexual pleasure, according to a new study.
What's more, the study found that teens are concerned that their partner would not approve condoms use.
During the study, researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Centre and three other institutions surveyed more than 1,400 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 21 who had unprotected sex in the previous 90 days.
They found that teenagers who did not use condoms were significantly more likely to believe that condoms reduce sexual pleasure and were also more concerned that their partner would not approve of condom use.
"It's clear that we have to address these attitudes, fears and concerns that many teens have regarding condom use, if we want to reduce their risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection," said lead author Larry K. Brown, MD, of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Centre.
"The good news is that these attitudes may be easily influenced and changed through clinical and community-based interventions," he added.
In addition to concerns about reduced sexual pleasure and partner disapproval, teens who did not use condoms were also less likely to discuss condom use with their partners.
The researchers suggest that clinicians carefully monitor and routinely assess the sexual risk behaviours of adolescents and address some of the common attitudes and concerns influencing condom use
"These kinds of interventions, including community-based programs, can play a major role in increasing condom use, particularly among high-risk adolescents, and promote their sexual health," said Brown.
The findings appear in the September/October issue of Public Health Reports.