Sex Without Condoms

Why more and more people are trying this dangerous trend.
- Carrie Seim, BettyConfidential.com

You've been bad, Betties. According to a new study, more and more of you are getting it on without using protection.

The newly released study, sponsored by Wet intimacy products (the company has a vested interested in understanding how men and women wrap things up when they get wrapped up in each other), found that only half of people surveyed always use some sort of protection during sex. A shocking 18 percent say they never use protection.

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Also interesting? More than half of the men and women admit to not knowing the full name of someone they slept with. (Whether or not they knew their f-buddy's Twitter moniker was, sadly, not measured.)

But back to the no condom thing. It's hard to understand how, in 2010, we're still not taking the risks of unprotected sex seriously. Somehow, many of us are sliding into irrational but powerful pull of no-condom sex. Correspondingly, the CDC says STD rates in the United States are on a frightening climb, despite decades of prevention research and education.

How to reconcile with what we know we shouldn't do with what we actually do?

I asked a group of intelligent, mature men and women to share the reasons they sometimes forgo protection during "special moments," even when they know it's dangerous and potentially deadly.

Can't Fight The Feeling
The most common answer - for both men and women - was that condoms don't feel as good as no-condom sex. "I can totally feel the difference - I just feel closer to him without a condom," one woman admitted, adding that she always uses condoms until she and her partner agree to monogamy.

Another guy demonstrated the difference in feeling by lightly tracing a line up a volunteer's arms - first on top of the volunteer's forearm arm (condom on) and then on the more sensitive underside of the forearm (condom off).

However, most respondents acknowledged that with the right size condom and the right amount of lubrication (natural or store-bought), the increase of sensation was negligible. And many of the guys quietly murmured that the slightly dulled sensations of condom-sex helped them sustain the festivities for a longer time.

Right Here, Right Now
Another reason to risk condom-free sex? "It's more spontaneous," answered several of the men and women BettyConfidential interviewed. "I feel like a real grown-up when I don't have to even think about condoms," explained another woman.

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Really? Is ending up with an STD the best way you have to feel grown up? Why not take up knife-throwing? Or a risky mortgage?

She's Not That Kind of Girl
Many of the people we spoke to said they avoid awkward conversations about STDs because they feel embarrassed. Instead, they make superficial guesses about the kind of girl or guy they're with.

"I assume she's smart and educated and it's going to be fine," said one guy sheepishly. "But I know my luck probably can't hold out forever."

Everyone assumes this - and yet, doctors suspect roughly one in four Americans have herpes. Call me crazy, but I don't think 25 percent of Americans walk around looking like STD machines to be avoided at all costs.

Make Love, Not War
Finally, many women offered this reason they sometimes don't use condoms: They want to avoid a fight about condoms. And they want to make their partner happy. "Sometimes it's like a little gift you can give him," one woman told BettyConfidential, "to make him feel special."

Next time, try warm cookies and milk or a massage.

More Study Results
In another frightening finding, the Wet survey found only 69 percent of respondents say they're completely honest about their sexual history with a new partner. That means about one-third of men and women out there are lying. Scary! And another great reason to insist on condoms.

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If you promise to use condoms next time you have sex, I'll share one secret happy fact from the sex study. When asked who they're most likely to fantasize about while masturbating, 10 percent of respondents named a celebrity, 12 percent named an ex, 13 percent named a porn star and 20 percent named a co-worker. But a whopping 45 percent named their current partner. Awwww….there's hope for us yet.

Tell us: Have you ever had sex without using protection?

Carrie Seim, Betty's L.A. Correspondent, is a writer and comedian keeping it real in L.A., New York and @ carrieseim.com.

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