With cuffing season upon us, the Trojan team wants to ensure that you are equipped with the facts before you kick the condom to the curb in you new relationships. The CDC reports that 20 million new STDs occur every year and are rising, yet a new study from Trojan Brand Condoms found that nearly 40% of people who didn’t use a condom during their last sexual experience did so without a word about it. yeahstub.com had the opportunity to meet with author and relationship-expert Matthew Hussey as he spoke on behalf of Trojan and the implications from the new research, which found:
· Only 21% say that they and their partner discussed whether they had been tested for STDs before they decided not to use a condom.
· Among those with a repeat partner who don’t use a condom all the time, close to 50% stop using them regularly by month one, jumping up to 62% by month two.
· Half of those people say that they didn’t stop to discuss the decision before stopping use.
· Despite perceived importance of condoms from respondents only 35% say they always use a condom.
· Nearly half of all women surveyed say they cannot fully enjoy themselves during sex without a condom due to worrying about STDs and/or pregnancy.
Matthew was able to speak on this research and importance of couples having an honest conversation about their sexual health and birth control status before removing the condom from the equation. Read the full interview below:
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): How did you begin to work with Trojan?
Matthew Hussey: “I had made a radio show episode where a live caller asked me my opinion on condom use. Trojan heard the episode without me knowing and realized my thinking was completely aligned with a new sexual health campaign they were creating to promote safe sex. They had already conducted a study which backed up the views I had, so it became a natural fit to be a spokesperson for the message.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Are you ever utterly surprised/shocked by some of the results from the studies?
Matthew Hussey: “I’m not shocked, but it is alarming when you have your fears confirmed in real numbers. To find out that 62% of new couples have stopped using condoms in month two of their relationship, with 40% of them never even discussing it is scary. One of the things that shocks people most about this study is that it’s not about one night stands.The problem is actually occurring on a major level with couples that are having sex with each other regularly, which means they lose sight of how dangerous it can be. It’s easy to mistake a sense of connection with someone for actual safety.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): As a relationship expert, what is your advice to couples or single people who are sexually active to go about discussing STDs without completely killing the mood?
Matthew Hussey: “If your partner says they don’t want to use a condom just before you’re about to have sex, it’s the wrong time to have the conversation. Instead tell your partner that you are ready to jump them right now and agree to table the conversation for later that day or tomorrow. When you do come back to it (which you absolutely should), tell them “I’ve been thinking about what you said about not wanting to use them, and completely understand. I care about you and I want to feel as close to you as possible, but right now it’s important to me that we keep using them. It has nothing to do with not trusting you, it’s just important for me to feel comfortable because then I can really let loose and have an amazing time with you”. The key rules of communication here are: stick to your standard, make it about yourself not about him, and stress the positives.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Do you advocate for couples in a committed relationship to stop using condoms, and when do you think is the right time for couples to stop using condoms?
Matthew Hussey: “I’m all for using condoms for as long as two people can do it. Not only does it guarantee safety from STDs more than any other method of contraception, but it is still an extra barrier against unwanted pregnancies – something that truly affects the lives over the long term of people who fall prey to them. The right time can only be when both partners have been to get tested (preferably together) and can move forward with a joint clean bill of health.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Whose responsibility should it be during sexual intercourse, that a condom is used? Do you think that responsibility should fall on the man?
Matthew Hussey: “It always falls on both partners, regardless of gender. Women may claim it is not their responsibility to buy or carry condoms, but it will very quickly become their responsibility if they discover they have an STD, or are pregnant. Why not just accept responsibility at the easiest part of the process? We need to redefine what is seen as attractive by the opposite sex. Women must learn than carrying condoms is not the job of men alone, and men need to learn that a woman carrying condoms is a sign of maturity and self-respect, not promiscuity.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Why do you think people are practicing unsafe sex in today’s generation?
Matthew Hussey: “Part of it is education. People too often think about unwanted pregnancy being their major concern without thinking about STDs with the same fear. Part of this is that people who have never had an STD haven’t felt the consequences of one, and so don’t attach the appropriate level of respect to avoiding them. Other problems are cultural. We are still living in a generation where many parts of society see condoms either as a barrier to fun, too flippantly shun responsibility for the effects of unprotected sex, or are following the rules of their religion and the beliefs that have been passed down to them by older generations. We need to prevent people from ever getting to the stage of having to regret the decisions they’ve made. The only real way to do that is to educate them on the genuine consequences of their habits, so that we can bring the sense of regret forward to before the act has even taken place.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Lastly, what upcoming projects are you currently working on?
Matthew Hussey: “I’m continuing to produce fresh content every week for my website, my radio show and my live tours, but I’m focused right now on helping Trojan spread this message as their spokesperson. I hope to be able to visit more parts of the US to bring the message of increased condom use to more people, and find creative and emotional ways to have the message truly hit home, instead of sounding like some boring public service announcement. It’s not boring, it’s part of enjoying one of the most exciting things on earth. Sex.”