And young women feel especially awkward about asking a partner to use a condom.
“Girls find it difficult to talk about using condoms when they're making out with a boy,” says Erwin Fisser of sexual health organisation SOA AIDS Netherlands. “Although they’re far more convinced than boys that they should use one.”
Boys are more likely to want to take a risk. “They usually wait, thinking, ‘If I don't say anything, maybe we can do it without one.’”
Girls might be wiser when it comes to safe sex, but they hardly ever carry a condom with them just in case, the survey of 16 to 25-year-olds found.
“You see from the interviews we’ve done with girls that they're worried about being called a slut – not so much by boys but by other girls,” Erwin says. “They're worried that other girls will think they’re just out to have sex, when that's not the case.”
As a response to the survey, SOA Aids Netherlands launched a campaign aimed at helping youngsters pick the perfect moment to raise the matter of condoms. The campaign commercial’s advice is that it’s different for everyone – but if you bring up condoms while you’ve still got your underpants on, you can’t go wrong.
The campaign slogan has certainly got people talking. It’s a catchy rhyme in Dutch which translates literally as ‘Not in your pussy without a cover’.
“It’s not exactly a refined way of putting it, I agree,” says Erwin Fisser. It wasn’t his idea, he’s quick to stress. The organisers asked young people to come up with a slogan and this was the one that got the most votes.
How do you feel about raising the matter of condoms? Comment below or share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.