Andrew Smiler, Ph.D.

America's leading expert on the masculine self

Condom conundrums: Screwing around without protection

Sexuality, ParentingAndrew Smiler

A study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that nearly 90% of guys in their teens and twenties don’t want kids right now, yet most of them use condoms inconsistently or not at all. Preventing pregnancy isn’t a matter of luck, it’s a matter of behavior. If you don’t want to get someone pregnant, use a condom. Every time. It’s that simple.

Condoms are about 98% effective when used correctly, and they’re pretty simple to use. The biggest problem is not the “how-to” of putting a condom over the tip of an erect penis and unrolling it down the length of the shaft. (See directions at bottom on how to use a condom.) If you’re worried about doing it correctly or with just one hand, then practice when you’re alone. The biggest problem is that most guys don’t like wearing them.

Preventing pregnancy isn’t a matter of luck, it’s a matter of behavior. If you don’t want to get someone pregnant, use a condom. Every time.

The dudes who are the least likely to wear condoms are the guys who come across as the most macho (at least on surveys). They often get called “The Man,” at least by teenage boys and young adult men who see promiscuity as central to masculinity. Today, they’re mostly called “players,” but you’ll also hear them called “Casanovas,” “Don Juans,” and “studs.”

Statistically, they start dating and having sex at younger ages than other guys and have more dating and sexual partners than other dudes. In and of itself, that level of promiscuity isn’t necessarily a problem. I’m not saying it’s good, just that promiscuity alone is not inherently bad.

The problems start when you begin to consider how these guys think about women in general, and thus the women they’re having sex with. They tend to be more sexist than average. They’re also likely to endorse a variety of ideas that suggest when a woman gets raped, it’s her fault, that she was somehow “asking for it.” Perhaps it’s no surprise that players often believe that (most) women are whores, so it’s perfectly acceptable to lie to one or “spit game” in order to get her into bed.

That leads to conundrum number one: If a guy think a woman is a whore, why sleep with her? And why not just hire an actual sex worker anyway, instead of spending half the night spending money on some random woman without knowing if he’ll actually get laid?

Part of the answer is bragging rights. There’s no doubt the sex is important. Who doesn’t like a good orgasm, after all? Sure, he might randomly find someone who does something that completely blows his mind. But if a guy’s goal is a good orgasm time after time, he’d be better off with a longer term partner who’s interested in learning exactly what he likes and doesn’t like. Or maybe he should just pay a sex worker; why use an amateur when there are professionals available?

For one, a player can’t brag about a prostitute to his friends. What exactly would he brag about? He didn’t need to make her believe some outrageous lie or somehow convince her to do something she wouldn’t otherwise do, so there’s no “seduction” story. Nor do Americans really approve of sex workers, so publicly admitting he’s used one isn’t cool. Besides, his rep is as much about the ability to seduce nearly anyone as it is the actual sex.

The typical player is relying on her to protect him, even though he doesn’t respect her, may think of her as a “whore” or “bitch,” may have spent the evening lying to her, and may have been trying to get her drunk in order to “get past her defenses.”

Ok, so that means our player has got to screw someone he’s just met. And someone he doesn’t respect. In this scenario, you’d think that making sure there’s no lifetime reminder of this night would be a priority. No kids, no diseases. A fun night and good memories, yes. Seems obvious.

That’s where we run into conundrum number two: our player probably believes birth control is her responsibility, condoms ruin the moment, and condoms will substantially reduce his own pleasure.

That’s right. The typical player is relying on her to protect him, even though he doesn’t respect her, may think of her as a “whore” or “bitch,” may have spent the evening lying to her, and may have been trying to get her drunk in order to “get past her defenses.” Yet she’s supposed to make sure he doesn’t come away with a disease or they don’t get pregnant. Seriously?

Yes, seriously. Players’ inner worlds allow them to think she’s piece of crap he can lie to and yet expect her to be honest with him about her health and her use of the pill. They don’t seem to consider the possibility that she’s playing a game too. Maybe she can’t wait to tell her friends how much she got him to spend, how stupid his game was, and how lame his cockwork was. Maybe some other lothario seduced her and gave her a disease and now she’s seeking revenge on every player she can find.

So gentlemen, if you’re one of those guys who is just screwing around and trying to get laid, use a rubber. You have the ability to make sure this is a one time event, with no child or disease to help you remember it forever. Although you might think condoms ruin the moment, it’s only a momentary pause in the action. A crying infant or a herpes sore will ruin the moment a lot more thoroughly. And herpes sores can hurt, as about one in six American adults under age 50 can tell you.

If you’re not a player, keep using condoms anyway, even if she’s using protection too. The pill prevents pregnancy, not disease. If you love her and you plan to be with her forever, you can stop using condoms when you’re married or ready to get pregnant. What’s the rush?

Respect your self and your future. Your health, happiness, and financial status depend on it.

photo: 3Geezy/flickr

Directions for proper condom use:

1) Always have two condoms with you. Always. (Why? Changing partners, changing orifices, in case one is expired, etc.) Make sure hands are washed and consent is given.

2) Check the expiration date. (The lubricant in condoms contains chemicals that DO expire. It can crystallize and cause microscopic tears in the latex.)

3) Check to make sure there is an air pocket. When you gently press the package between your thumb and forefinger, you should notice a slight pillow of air. If there is no air, the packaging has been compromised, and so has your condom.

4) Gently push the condom aside and open it with your fingers. Watch for long nails. Never open a condom with your teeth or scissors.

5) Check to make sure the condom will unroll correctly ON YOUR FINGERS. Place the condom on the tip of your finger and unroll it a little bit to make sure it is going the right way. DO NOT DO THIS ON THE TIP OF YOUR PENIS. As the article suggests, you can just “flip it around”, but that is not the case. Pre-ejaculate (a substance that is slowly secreted by the penis during sexual arousal) can contain millions of sperm cells and viable STI cells. If you flip over a condom like that, everything that was on the outside of your penis is now on the outside of the condom, which is what you were trying to avoid all along.

6) While pinching the tip of the condom to make sure no air is trapped, slowly unroll the condom onto the penis. There should be some slack condom at the tip this is normal, the ejaculate needs a place to go.

7)When you are finished, hold the base of the condom while pulling out of your partner to make sure it stays on and does not spill out.

8) Tie it up, throw it in the trash.