May 9, 2011

How to Carry a Condom

We all know that safe sex is a foregone conclusion, right?  I mean, regardless of your birth control status (if you or your partner is on one, or if you’re in a same sex situation and that’s not an issue) you still have to be concerned with STDs.  Remember those?  You know, those gross pictures you saw on the walls of the high school nurse’s office and your local Planned Parenthood examination room?  Yeah, they still exist, and anybody who’s sexually active needs to be concerned with them.  Sure, most of them can be cleared up with treatment, or managed with long term medications.  But, let’s all admit to ourselves that we don’t want to have to do that if we don’t have to.

Treating an SDT is an ordeal, and there’s a real sense of shame associated with contracting one.  That shame is one of the reasons why they’re not reported as soon as they should be to get effective treatment.  Truthfully, if we could get over the fear and stigma of having something wrong “down there”, conditions like the Blue Waffle wouldn’t exist.  (Trust me, if you have a weak stomach, don’t google that.)

There really aren’t any rules about carrying protection.  Sure, there’s care and feeding of your rubbers to consider.  However, ladies, if you expect your partner to be packing, you may just be sent home frustrated some night.  Gentlemen, just because you don’t have the safety equipment doesn’t mean that you’re excused from using them.  We’re well into the era where both partners have had their liberation movement, let’s get real and care about what we’re putting in our bodies, over and over and over again.
Any material used to prevent the spread of STDs is light sensitive.  Much like your favorite micro brew, UV rays can damage them, so that’s why they’re generally in packaging that doesn’t expose them to light.  The same can be said of stressing them, so while carrying them in your wallet that you keep in your back pocket seems like a great idea, you’re just potentially setting yourself up for one to break.  If you’re using them for birth control as well as STD prevention, that’s risky business good sir.  You get an A for effort and intent, but C- for execution.  Let’s work on that, shall we?

Also, condoms expire.  Nobody likes to have that happen to them since it can be a bit sad.  But, you can still find a use for them.  If you have toys, use your expired condoms on them to help make cleanup easier.  Or, use them on an appropriately shaped item to help ensure proper application in the future.  One of the biggest complaints about condoms is they take the spur of the moment out of sex.  Well, if you're good at putting a condom on, then that's less likely to be the case.

Condom manufacturers have branched out from prophylactics recently.  Watch infomercials at 2:00 AM and you’ll see that Trojan has a full line of vibrators that will “blow your hair back” apparently.  (What does that even mean?!)  Oh please.  Personal massager?  Yeah, it’s a vibrator.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  

My point is, if you’ve looked in the family planning isle at your local hyper mega gluttony mart these days, you’ll see a huge variety of items, one of which is a handy condom pouch.  Heck, you can even get a 2 pack that comes in its own plastic wallet case.  They’re somewhat discreet, and work well to protect your license to thrill.

Those of you with a latex allergy, I hadn’t forgotten you.  Truth is, I’m not sure what to tell you.  If you’re seeing someone pretty regularly, I think this is something that you should bring up pretty early on.  I mean, it’s good to know in case something happens to you and your date has to tell the EMTs to use the nitril instead of the latex gloves.  That knowledge would just carry over into your bedroom antics.  But, if you’re out casting a wide net, might be best to roll your own.  

If you’re worried about expense, think about this.  Most Planned Parenthoods will either give out or charge a very nominal fee for condoms.  The local STD clinic offices will also provide them.  If you have a medical flex spending account, most of them will pay for condoms as well.  In my case, I have to buy them up front and submit a claim to get it back.  Sure, I have to wait a couple days for my reimbursement, but it’s worth it.  If the idea of buying condoms in person is absolutely mortifying, there are dozens of alternatives online.  Many places even offer variety packs if you want to try different styles, sizes, and textures.  Plus, depending on your partner and your tastes, you can buy an personal lubricant that you may want or need.

A word about lube.  There is a huge variety out there that were meant for intimate use.  Astroglide is my personal favorite water based lube. It doesn’t get sticky as fast as KY does.  Plus, I’m told that strippers shave with it, so there’s that.  Wet is another good brand that also makes a silicone based lubricant.  You could fit a Cadillac in a phone booth a week after putting it on the door.  Wet has staying power.  Keep that in mind when using it.  Joy Jelly is flavored and has a mild anesthetic property that suppresses gag reflex.  You know where I’m going with that.  KY has scented options you can use for both personal massage and sexual lubricant.  Your choices are vast.  So, let’s stay away from the Vaseline, mineral oil, or cooking spray. (I’m not kidding, I heard this as a “do not do” on a PSA in my lady doctor’s office last year.)  Those are not only horrible ideas for lube, but they’ll break down the latex and are more likely to cause failures and breakage.

Personally, I carry my two with me at all times in a little Tiffany and Co suede pouch.  It's just the right size, and the content now as equally as valuable as what was in it when I got it as a gift originally.  Works for me.  How do you carry yours?

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