The Four Condom Commandments

22 Mar

My last post was about Plan B, but now I think I was getting ahead of myself.  I really should have been helping you save the $50 (we are college students, after all,) and been promoting proper condom use. Anyone who has taken a comprehensive sex education course knows that condoms are 98% effective when used correctly, but only 85% effective with typical use.  What few sex ed teachers fail to say, emphasize and/or repeat, is what “correctly” means, and that one simple word may lead you or your partner to seek out Plan B, STD testing and pregnancy testing.

I am about to say what most sex-education teachers would kill to say:  condoms are bad-ass. They prevent unwanted pregnancies, protect against almost all STDs (herpes, for example, can still be transmitted,) they are cheap, easy to come by, they are discreet and they come in an array of colors, shapes and styles.  But without proper handling, a lot of the inherent bad-assness of condoms is lost.  I bestow upon you four condom commandments that, if followed, will keep your male condoms at that 98% efficacy rate:

  1. Thou Shall Not Be Stingy. Reliable brands, like Durex, LifeStyles and Trojans, are said to be safer.  Also, if you plan on using lubricant either buy lubricated condoms or a water-based lubricant.  Oil-based lubricants, like Vaseline, wear away at the latex, making condoms thinner and more likely to tear. Some water-based lubricants are KY, Astroglide, Probe and Wet.
  2. Handle Unto Them With Care. Do not keep condoms in a warm place.  This can include, but is not limited to, wallets, glove compartments and microwaves. Check the expiration date printed on the back of each condom.  Make sure they are not damaged when you use them—squeeze the middle of the package to feel for the air bubble inside.  If the condom is flat and airless there could be a hole poked in the condom (a nasty but not uncommon prank.)  Also, although we can all agree that it is sexy, do not open a condom with your teeth.  You can easily tear the latex.
  3. Adorn Thyself Properly. During your typical Health class, this is when the teacher would pull out the banana or, if you were really lucky, the plastic penis model.  This is often so amusing that the essentials of the lesson are quickly forgotten, so pay attention.  Only put a condom on an erect penis.  First, pinch the tip of the condom that looks like a little pouch.  This is what holds the ejaculate and so should be as airtight as you can make it.  Continue by holding the condom tip with one hand and rolling the condom down the length of the penis with the other.   Smooth out any air bubbles.  Once it has reached the base of the penis, give the tip of the condom another pinch to double check. Also, never wear more than one condom at once.  They wear away at each other and break.
  4. Thou Shall Not Lie In Your Lovers Arms Right After. This one important rule is often forgotten but can easily lead to pregnancy.  Right after the guy ejaculates withdraw the penis while holding the base of the condom to the base of the penis and dispose of the condom.  If the penis goes soft the condom can slip off inside of you or your partner.  Once you’ve removed the condom and disposed of it, then you can cuddle all you want (or until you have to go to class.)

These rules are for male condoms, not female condoms (which are designed to be worn inside the vagina.)  If you or your partner prefers female condoms, read more about them at avert.org/femcond.htm.  Male condoms are available at most college Health Centers.  Most R.A.’s have condoms in their room, and you can always pick up a pack at CVS or any gas station.  Also, not all condoms fit everyone perfectly. Guys – try different kinds and see what’s most comfortable for you. Condoms are still not guaranteed to be 100% effective, but if you follow these rules they will be pretty damn close.  Good luck and happy humpin’!

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