Condoms ‘most popular contraceptive’

Condoms now just as popular with women as the Pill

Condoms have caught up with the Pill as the most popular contraceptive with women in a sign that the safe-sex message may be getting through.

New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that condoms are the first choice of contraceptive for one in four women, the same proportion that favours the Pill.

The same annual survey of more than 2,500 people found that 34 per cent of sexually active men who were not in a steady relationship said they had increased their use of condoms in the past year.

When the survey began eight years ago they were the choice of only one fifth of women. Condom manufacturers have also targeted women in recent years, choosing to package their products in ‘female friendly’ colours, including pink, turquoise and silver.

British company Durex, which celebrates its 80th birthday this month, reported a ten per cent rise in sales in 2008. Its Play range, which includes innovative items like Pina Colada and cherry flavoured lubricant and Orgasmic ‘O’ gel for women, showed a 27 per cent growth in sales.

But it’s not all good news. The figures also showed that condom use is still low among groups judged to be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Fewer than half of those who had more than two sexual partners a year used condoms regularly, while one fifth of this group never used them.

Chlamydia increased by 150 per cent between 1998 and 2007. During the same time period cases of herpes increased by 51 per cent and gonorrhoea by 42 per cent. Syphilis cases also increased.


Reading now