An Ode to the Humble Condom

When I hear people talking about how bad condoms feel or how ineffective they are, it bums me out, because condoms do not deserve the scorn that they receive.

Oct 26, 2011 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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Before I even started having sex with my boyfriend, I dragged my best friend on a 40-minute drive, at 11 at night, to find a pregnancy test somewhere far enough outside of our small NJ town that I would be able to avoid anyone who might know me. I was convinced that SOMEHOW an errant sperm had managed to make its way onto his hands, past my cervix, and into my uterus where it could potentially make me PREGNANT.

At midnight that night, in the (surprisingly spotless) bathroom of a McDonalds near my house, I confirmed the obvious -- that I was not pregnant -- and my life was allowed to continue. The moral of this story:  I’m neurotic, yes. The other moral to this story is that, despite the fact that I’ve only had one sexual partner my whole life (for the last three years) and we’re both completely STI free…  we’ve still used a condom every. single. time.  

Condoms are comforting to me. When we’re done doing our thing, I know that I can always squeeze the gross, lube-y end of the condom for a little bit of tactical and visual confirmation that the hazardous, baby-making materials are still where they belong, OUTSIDE of my vagina.

When I hear people talking about how bad condoms feel or how ineffective they are, it bums me out, because condoms do not deserve the scorn that they receive. Crummy (or nonexistent) sex education in American schools means that a lot of people don't know how to use condoms properly, let alone how to use them in a sexy way, and that's honestly sad to me. 

Aside from being a condom enthusiast, I am also a safer sex educator on my campus, peddling the little latex (or non latex, if you need) wonders (alongside lube, dental dams, and other goodies) though my on-campus job while also educating students on why safer sex should matter to them. 

Fun at parties!

Through this job I've heard almost every excuse in the book for not using condoms (or some other form of protection). From, "My monster penis is no match for your itty-bitty condoms!" (this is why we have XL and Magnums) to, "My partner can dejaculate, she just pushes the semen back out when we're done." (For the record, this is not a viable form of birth control or STI protection.) What it usually comes down to, is people don't like condoms because they weren't taught how to use protection well, which leads to bad experiences and a distrust of condoms. 

On a daily basis, I explain to people that, “No, snugger-fit condoms do not mean you have a tiny penis.” They’re actually just cut to fit closer to the penis, like a tiny little skinny-jean for your penis, instead of a boot-cut or whatever the other condoms in the analogy would be. Also, “Make sure you ONLY use the flavored ones for oral sex, or else your partner might end up with a yeast infection!” Plus, your vagina can’t taste so what’s the point?

The most important thing I explain, though, is how to put them on: First you need to check the expiration date, and make sure the air bubble is still present in the package (so you know the condom hasn't been punctured) by pinching a corner and squeezing it; if you feel a pillow of air, you're good! This can take you out of the heat of the moment unless you check beforehand. Just make sure you're regularly up to date on the state of your safer sex stash & you'll be fine.

Next, remove the packaging (with your fingers, because teeth can tear!) and roll the condom down once on your thumb to make sure it's not inside out. Finally, PINCH THE TIP of the condom to leave a little bit of room for sperm as you roll it down your (or your partner's) penis with your other hand. 

If you do this perfectly each time, then you have just a 2 percent change of experiencing breakage and a potential STI or pregnancy scare. (And if that happens, you'll likely know in time to go get Plan B and get yourself tested, since broken condoms are almost always pretty obvious.)

I'm aware that this all sounds very clinical, but it doesn't have to be. Safer sex can totally be sexy! Try giving your partner a bit of a hand-job as you roll the condom down, or roll it down together. I know some people like to roll it down with their mouth, which you can totally do, as long as you make sure that you're using your LIPS and not your TEETH to get the job done! 

I don’t have a penis, so I’m not so sure about that end of things, but for me at least, condoms don’t mess up the experience. In fact, the right condom can actually enhance the experience; if you use enough (water based) lube it hardly feels like anything is there. Plus, some condoms even come in FUN COLORS! Or GLOW IN THE DARK! Maybe I’m just easily pleased, but that sounds like MORE fun than regular, purple-condom-free sex to me. 

I am told that a little (seriously guys, WATER BASED!) lube INSIDE of the condom can make the experience much, much more pleasurable for the bepenised one in the equation. Lube in general just makes the situation better, inside and out, by reducing friction and the potential for breakage. 

You can even cut the top off of a condom and place just the base part (the part that looks like a rubber band) over another condom to McGuyver a cock-ring if you are so inclined. (Seriously, I have a million of these!) If you want to hear some really awesome things to do with condoms, I recommend checking out Maria Falzone's hilarious program, Sex Rules! Your mind will be blown.

I could go on all day about safer sex, and condoms barely scratch the surface. (For instance, did you know that you can use non-microwavable saran wrap in the place of a denta dam? Do you know what a dental dam is? I didn't, until college!) but I think that's enough for now. Safer sex is the way to go (at least in my opinion) and I’d love to talk about it on here... please, tell me your magical condom tricks, or whatever else you'd like to talk about.