I grew up in a small town and came up through the Ontario Catholic School’s sex education program where abstinence was the only kind of safe sex, and “condom” was a dirty word.
When it came time for the Fully Alive chapter on sexuality, hysterical laughter ensued as we opened our booklets to labeled illustrations of the male and female reproductive organs. Our teacher, Ms. Pursa had a strategy to stifle the giggling, instructing us to repeat the terms to make us more comfortable. The chorus eleven year olds began, “Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.” For all intents and purposes, it was pretty effective and educational.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to get up close and personal with those once abstract body parts. Drawing from my experiences as a straight woman who most certainly does not practice abstinence, I’d like to continue in my grade school teacher’s tradition on sex education.
So let’s all say this together, “Nobody likes condoms. Put it on anyway” I repeat, “Nobody likes condoms. Put it on anyway.”
Maybe I shouldn’t generalize. If I’m missing a demographic of folks out there who get their thrills from correct, safe, and consistent condom usage, I apologize. Also, fucking good for you.
However, I am not driven into an erotic frenzy when I hear that distinctive crinkling of the Durex package, nor am I writhing with pleasure as that latex sheath rolls up his member. And yet, I have found I am theone who is asking for the condom. Even more than that, I have been in situations where my partner is actively trying not to use a condom. I thought I was alone, but when I brought this up with my female friends it seems this is not abnormal. One friend exclaimed, “Oh, I hate that!” Me too.
These instances include: Things are hot and heavy with a guy and then all of sudden he just tries to go for it with YOLO intensity, and I’m the one that has to stop the action, as I fumble around in my purse and he mumbles that he, “doesn’t like condoms” yeah, because this is the best moment for me too. One articulate gentleman asked me, “Can I just stick it in?” Great try buddy, you almost convinced me. And don’t get me started on the much-referenced game of, “Just the tip.”
I don’t like that game.
As a person with a vagina and uterus and everything (which I can label if need be. Thanks Ms. Pursa!) condoms are my friend. They protect me from pregnancy. They protect me from STI’s ranging from the inconvenient sort like gonorrhea or Chlamydia that can be taken care of with a dose of antibiotics, to a life long (albeit manageable and too often stigmatized) diagnosis of HIV or Genital Herpes. Either way I’d just rather not take the risk.
I care about my body and my safety. I care about protecting the bodies of my partners. So to all the men who try to get around using a condom my question is, “Why don’t you?”
Especially if this is a hook up or one night-stand. It’s like, “I just met you and this is crazy, but let’s have unsafe sex even though I could ruin your whole life, maybe?”
No. I don’t know where you’ve been. You don’t know where I’ve been.
“But I can’t feel anything.” You might say. “I can’t come with the condom on.” You protest. Well, okay there are other things we can do, that I can do to get you off. Let’s stop acting like I’m trying to punish you. I have to credit sex columnist Dan Savage for pointing out a contradiction: how can it be that the same man that claims there is little to no feeling with the condom, but then not even notice when it slips off or breaks? You didn’t even notice, and yet somehow putting it on is a death sentence for pleasure? Dan articulates the point better than I, and if you aren’t reading his articles or listening to his podcast, you should be.
I get it. I don’t have a perfect record in this regard. I’ve been caught up in the moment. Condoms don’t especially add anything to my experience either. But waking up in the morning wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake, dragging my sorry ass to the doctor explaining how I know better but here’s what happened, and waiting for test results imagining the worst outweighs our night of fun. I’ve been lucky. I haven’t had to deal with worst-case consequences. And I intend to take the steps necessary to prevent any harm coming to me.
So instead of making me the only one responsible, let’s try to remember that we both hate condoms and put it on anyway.