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What Are the Risks of Sex without a Condom?

Sex without a condom greatly increases the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
STD infection could occur as a result of having sex without a condom.
Genital herpes and chlamydia are common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can be spread through unprotected sex.
Article Details
  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are two main risks associated with having sex without a condom. When sex is between a man and a woman, pregnancy is a very real possibility. In all cases, engaging in sex without a condom increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Condoms do not offer perfect protection against STD infection, but the protection that they do offer ranges from good to excellent, depending on the disease in question. The risk of contracting an STD is always higher when engaging in sex without a condom.

Condoms are, first and foremost, a form of birth control, and sex without a condom or other form of birth control can often lead to pregnancy. When latex condoms are used correctly and consistently, they are very effective in preventing conception. A typical healthy couple that engages in sexual relations on a reasonably regular basis has, on average, a 20% chance of conceiving every month, resulting in nearly a 100% chance of conception during the course of a whole year. When a couple uses condoms correctly and consistently, the chance of conception is 2% to 3%, which is a very significant decrease.

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The other major risk of sex without a condom is the possibility of STD infection. Over a dozen different infections can be transmitted through sexual contact. Condom use aids in the prevention of all types of STD but is most effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. HIV is a very fragile virus and normally spreads only when a bodily fluid containing the virus gains entry into a new host, generally through breaks in the skin or contact with mucous membranes. Correct condom use is highly effective in preventing this variety of transmission.

Other varieties of STD are more robust than HIV/AIDS and are able to infect new hosts more easily. The herpes simplex virus can infect a new host simply through skin contact, as can the virus that causes genital warts. Sex without a condom increases the probability that such infections will be transmitted because more skin is exposed, increasing the odds of infection being transmitted. Condom use is not, however, entirely effective in preventing the transmission of this sort of STD.

Male condoms are generally more effective in preventing the spread of STDs, as they offer a better barrier against the transmission of bodily fluids and infection than do female condoms. Female condoms, however, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. Both types of condom can break, most often when used incorrectly, but this risk is small, and the risks associated with having sex without a condom are much greater and more serious.

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Discuss this Article

Buster29
Post 2

I don't believe any of my female friends have ever mentioned using female condoms. I've seen them on store shelves, but I don't know who's actually buying them. It seems like a pretty good idea, since some men are reluctant to wear condoms during sex. I have to wonder if the installation of a female condom takes more time than putting on a male condom. That could be an important factor to consider.

Cageybird
Post 1
If I were single and dating in this day and age, I would never even consider having sex without a condom. There are just too many sexually transmitted diseases out there, and I'm not even sure if the younger generation bothers to get tested for any of them. People just don't like to admit they have medical conditions, especially sexually based ones.

I don't buy into the argument that condoms somehow diminish a man's sexual experience, either. There are brands available now that are so thin they're practically invisible. The argument about sensitivity may have had some merit years ago, but condom companies have made a lot of improvements since then. I've seen where brands like Trojan condoms offer different sizes now, which is a vast improvement over a one-size-fits-most philosophy.

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