all things condoms

Archive for the ‘Distribution and Availability’ Category

Taking a look at how condoms are made available to the public

Female condoms on the move

Posted by Condomologist on March 9, 2010

Good to see Washington DC taking the lead on some dicey issues: sexual health types like myself get excited when a big city officially goes gay marriage and female condom on you at the same time. I’ve heard rumblings that the campaign to distribute female condoms — which in more politically correct circles go by a gender-neutral name (such as receptive condom) because they can be used anally by men — is not adequately targeting the gay community, and also that it misrepresents itself as the first city to put forth such an effort. And both those gripes probably have some validity. But no matter. It’s pretty bad ass for an American city to make such a bold move.


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Condoms Fit for your Penis

Posted by Condomologist on June 23, 2009

I was a bit skeptical when I first came across TheyFit condoms, precisely because — as you can see — they have a website with no content, and a website in 2009 with no content doesn’t engender much trust. But the condom-selling site Condomania is promoting them, sizing kit and all, which is promising and worth mentioning. From what I hear, there’s almost more of a concern finding condoms for smaller penises than larger ones, so it’s a bit upsetting that they don’t appear to have their smallest length in stock. Still, something to keep an eye out for.

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Sensis condom testers wanted!

Posted by Condomologist on June 16, 2009

As I wrote about awhile back, there’s a new condom on the market called Sensis, which promotes its QuickStrips technology as a foolproof way to put on a condom without the fumbling and bumbling associated with other condoms. I’ll admit that putting on a condom is not the easiest of tasks, so while I mocked it a bit in my previous post, I’m willing to give these condoms their props if the people respond. If you’ve used one already, please give me your feedback. And if you want a free sample, I’ll happily send you the one I just received in the mail. Just shoot me an email. I’ll leave you with the write-up from the insert that came along with my sample.

Because of the new Quickstrips technology, condom application is quick and secure every time. The tabs mean no more fumbling to figure out which side is correct — a true benefit since 30% of the time users initially put condoms on incorrectly and then have to flip it, at which point it’s contaminated. Given your hands don’t even have to touch the condom you avoid nicks and breaks plus the lubricant stays on the condom — no messy hands. As one user said, “This is great because even drunk in the dark, I can get this on!” Like we said, “Quick, easy, safe, secure.”

I’ll simply point out — especially in the wake of the withdrawal effectiveness debate — that studies have shown that pre-cum does not contain sperm, despite what most people in the sex ed world will tell you, unless the sperm comes from a previous ejaculation where the man has not cleared his urethra by urinating. So the chances that putting a condom on upside down, then quickly realizing the error and putting it on correctly, will lead to pregnancy is slim-to-none. But like I said, if folks want Quickstrips for ease of use, then let them have Quickstrips.

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Distribution and Availability, Education, Marketing, Research and Study, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Rethinking Flavored Condoms

Posted by Condomologist on May 23, 2009

After taste-testing about 10 different flavors of lube at the office the other day with a bunch of co-workers, then watching as a woman on our mobile testing unit got very excited about mint-flavored condoms today, and now reading about Ethiopia’s efforts to promote condom use by marketing coffee-flavored condoms, I’m not completely sold on spending money on this stuff that I’ve previously argued barely gets used (my argument being almost no one uses condoms for oral sex). BUT, I will say that anything that gets people excited and talking about condoms is a good thing. And if these Ethiopian jawns taste anything like my beloved Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream, I’m tracking them down and trying them myself.

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Condom Use Worldwide

Posted by Condomologist on May 21, 2009

The Guardian takes a look at WHO data reflecting the prevalence of condom use around the globe. China comes in atop the list around 90%, with the UK a good ways behind in second, and the US lagging even farther back at 72.8%, behind Vietnam, Iran and others. Check out the data here. It doesn’t take into account myriad factors — presence of other contraceptive methods, China’s one-child policy, condom availability…the list goes on — but it’s interesting nonetheless.

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Posted by Condomologist on May 14, 2009

No more COINED (Condom-induced Erectile Dysfunction) if the makers of a new stiffer erection-inducing condom have their way when the product makes its way to shelves sometime next year. Futura Medical’s new erection-boosting condom, to be manufactured by SSL, makers of Durex condoms, claims some bed-shaking technology: In the teat of the condom will be a pharmacological dose of a gel called Zanifil, resulting in  “increased local blood flow which in turn will lead to increased rigidity, tumescense (swelling) and duration of an erection.” (Can’t wait to hear the disclaimers and warnings for these commercials: Please calmly admit yourself to the Emergency Department when your boner remains stiff for more than 12 hours.) The launch of the condom has been delayed about a year due to a change in the location of the manufacturing plant (and thus new regulatory obstacles), but once on the market, the prospects for men (and women) whose sex lives and condom use have long been dictated by an inability to stay hard with a jimmy on…well, let’s just say they’ll have less of an excuse if this new condom — which will be under the Durex brand — is the real deal. And if successful, the company claims they’ll follow up with research into the possibility of using the gel on the outside of a condom to stimulate vaginal lubrication. As a colleague added, What about using the gel on its own for those of us who don’t use condoms? All questions I eagerly anticipate being answered in the not-too-distant future.

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Free condoms doesn’t mean unlimited condoms

Posted by Condomologist on April 30, 2009

Twice in the last two weeks, I’ve been made to feel guilty about denying someone from taking an excessive amount of condoms from my organization (which advertises, in so many words, as providing free condoms). Which got me thinking: How many condoms should one reasonably be allowed to take from a free supply? 10? 50? 100? Does it matter if they insist they will make use of them? Or, as it happened last night, is a sex worker entitled to 10 times as many as someone off the street, because they’re ostensibly having more sex? I’m torn. How do we say no to a request for condoms?  But as a colleague unprofessionally explained to her, “Girl, you’re working,” implying that she’s got the money to buy her own. That’s unfair, especially since many sex workers do not choose their profession — though some certainly do — but what about clearly voluntary sex parties? Should we supply endless condoms to gatherings for which participants often pay a fee — assuming some of this fee could go to rubbers — or pony up hundreds of condoms a month since they may otherwise be unavailable? I don’t know. Limited funds plague the non-profit world, and it would be regrettable if we couldn’t serve 10 people because we gave too many condoms to one person. Right, right: Fight for more money and more condoms. Easier said than done and not always feasible. But how do we set a somewhat arbitrary cap on condoms and then stick to it regardless of the condom seeker? Does a sex worker get more condoms because (s)he’s having more sex? How about a sex addict? Should we dole them out based on target populations, giving more to those whom either we specify as groups we’re funded to serve or who we know are at greater risk for contracting HIV or other STDs? I don’t know. The fact is that we condom distributors vary our giving based on a number of factors, amounting to little accountability, probably even less rationality, and a whole lot of bias; I’ve seen it, felt it, done it, observed it time and again. More condoms go to those who ask more nicely, less to the disrespectful repeat customers. More given out at once when outreach workers want to go home sooner, less when word’s come down from above that we’re going through too many too quickly. More to the macho dudes proclaiming multiple sexual encounters a day — and not because we like them, but we worry about their multiple partners. More to the young, less to the old. I don’t even want to get into race and gender of the giver and receiver.

And when it comes time to take stock of our supply, all we know is how many total condoms we’ve distributed in a given period of time. Too often there’s chatter in the non-profit world of just fighting for more funds. Need more of this and that. If only we get such-and-such contract. And yet the evaluation side of the equation — whether the existing jobs are being performed adequately — is a joke. And when, in the case of condom distribution, there are few to no standards or goals, evaluation cannot exist in the first place. I say this not at all as a direct criticism of the agency I work for — which is as good as I’ve seen — but just one of the many obstacles common to non-profits everywhere.

Just my rant for the day.

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A West Philly Connection

Posted by Condomologist on April 21, 2009

Today, in the dreary rain at Superfresh grocery in West Philadelphia, while handing out condoms in the parking lot outside our Mobile Testing Unit, I had a surprisingly refreshing 10-minute conversation with a 40-something passerby. When it began, it could’ve been any other quickie interaction: He refused the condoms I offered, because I didn’t have his preferred brand and style. But then it got deeper.

First, he made clear that the reason for eschewing the Lifestyles XL, Durex XXL, Lifestyles Vanilla and Mint, and Mazzoni Center Joe Lube condoms I had to offer was that he used only Lifestyles His n’ Her Pleasure because of the importance of both partners receiving stimulation from the condom. We then engaged in a stimulating dialogue about the larger societal and structural issues affecting black youth in his community and the fact that poverty, single- and no-parent households, low self-esteem and high incarceration rates of young black men — leading to fewer partner options for young women, and thus a decreased ability to negotiate safer sex with the men available on the outside — all play significant roles in the alarmingly high rates of HIV and other STDs in his community. These issues seldom come up even at the workplace, so it was that much more surprising and rewarding to delve into them with a stranger. We agreed that my handing out condoms was but a small piece of the puzzle, that our condom distribution efforts alone could make but a dent in a battle that often appears overwhelming. We shook hands, I told him I truly appreciated meeting and chatting with him, he said he’d pray for me. Thank you, stranger. I hope we meet again.

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I want to be a superhero

Posted by Condomologist on April 20, 2009

I never read comic books as a kid, so I never developed an appreciation for or infatuation with any real superheroes. But I want this costume of Condom Man to wear for every Halloween the rest of my life. (Don’t worry: I’ll hand out candy to the kids, not condoms.) And speaking of cool gear, I don’t need the lady’s t-shirt that says, Got Crabs? but I do want this t-shirt from Midwest Teen Sex Show — you know, in case anyone wanted to get me a random gift.



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My Greatest Fear

Posted by Condomologist on April 15, 2009

Okay, maybe not my greatest, but certainly a very real fear of mine: my kid will grow up to be a mean, offensive, ill-mannered douche bag. I love kids to death, but if you wanted to scare me into not having any, you’d give me decent odds they would go astray somewhere and make the world a worse place. Still, I’ll take my chances, but striking and not surprising to me that a condom company would play on these fears in marketing their product, as European retailer Doc Morris Pharmacies does here. Pretty dark stuff, but would at least make me think twice — and I’m almost always adamantly against the fear-based messages.


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