Native speakers use articles without thinking about it, most of the time.
I have read and agree that the final stages of fluency for an English learner are when articles are used entirely naturally.
I can't speak for well-educated English men, but this well-educated American woman uses articles without conscious thought the vast majority of the time. I can also tell you that moderately and even poorly educated people correctly use articles without conscious thought most of the time. We don't learn and apply complex grammatical rules to our speech -- we just speak.
Yes, there are times when we do debate whether to use a "the" or no article at all, but there are also times when it just doesn't make a difference.
Student or Learner