The percentage of unmarried men using some form of birth control has crept upward, new government data out Thursday shows, but that’s due in part to increased use of the “withdrawal” method that has questionable effectiveness against unwanted pregnancy and zero protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Nearly 60% of surveyed sexually active unmarried men between ages 15 and 44 said that they use some form of male contraception, up from around 52% of men in this age group surveyed about a decade earlier, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers looked at data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a federal survey that collects information on family life, pregnancy and use of contraception, over three time periods: 2002, then 2006 to 2010 and 2011 to 2015. The report focused on men who had vaginal intercourse in the three-month period before they were surveyed.
Rates of two methods of contraception by single males—condoms and vasectomies—remained steady over the study period (at 45% and 1%, respectively). Notably, rates for using the withdrawal method rose across the survey period and nearly doubled from the beginning to end, going from 10% of unmarried men in 2002 to nearly 19% percent in 2011-2015.