Condomologist

all things condoms

Posts Tagged ‘condoms’

Condoms aren’t the only answer

Posted by Condomologist on March 9, 2010

I respect Serra Sippel and CHANGE, the organization she heads up, and I’m particularly grateful for their bringing me to a wonderful training in DC last year focused on increasing sexual health lobbying efforts. And they do wonderful work around female condoms and promoting them around the world. But let’s not oversimplify the end to the AIDS epidemic: condoms alone won’t solve our problems. A few days with teenagers in the work I do now, or a few days with the (mostly) men I worked with last year in Philly makes it pretty clear that simple condom availability is not the panacea we’ve long been seeking. There’s a whole lot of HIV happening to men and women who have access to free condoms. She briefly mentions stigma — though curiously does not elaborate — and certainly various forms of stigma lead to unsafe sex: asking to use a condom can lead to men accusing their female partners of promiscuity or lack of trust; the stigma and homophobia towards gay men leads to far too much secretive, anonymous, drug-fueled sex — to give two examples. But more than anything, people don’t like to use condoms much because it doesn’t feel good. Also, there is a lot of ignorance about the ill effects of not just HIV and AIDS, but the long-term effects of chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example; we don’t see the devastation it causes until it’s personal, and so we don’t take the precautionary steps we know exist. And then there are just far too many myths to count that lead to people the world over not believing HIV — or even pregnancy, for that matter — can happen to them.

Yes, let’s push for more political support for condoms. But contrary to what Ms. Sippel says, that’s not “it.” It is far more complex than that.

Posted in Activism, Policy | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Situation uses condoms

Posted by Condomologist on March 2, 2010

Who ever said Jersey Shore had nothing valuable to offer society? Nothing but safer sex messages — and amazingly, they’re better advocates than The View’s Sherri Shepherd, who perpetuates the myth that hot water from a hot tub will kill sperm. (Unless her misinformation is quickly corrected  in a later part of the video not shown here.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I think this is real…

Posted by Condomologist on March 2, 2010

But yet this advice on how to pick out a condom brand kept reminding me of my man Smoove B from The Onion — which means I was laughing hysterically. The internet can be brilliant, life-saving, hilarious, and completely asinine.

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Humour | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Surprise: Guys (and gals) have condom-fitting issues

Posted by Condomologist on February 23, 2010

It’s about damn time sexologists start researching and asking the tough questions about condom fit and guys’ perception of how condoms feel in terms of size, and then how that relates to breakage, slippage, pleasure and a number of other intercourse-related outcomes. The good folks at Kinsey did an internet-based study that found not only did almost 45% of these  vaginal intercourse-having men deem the length or width of their condoms too short, long, wide or narrow, but of those reporting ill-fitting condoms, there were much higher percentages who had erection problems, irritation issues, condom and breakage incidences, reduction in pleasure, etc. than those who reported an “OK” fit. Basically, if you don’t like how your condom fits, you’re gonna not have as safe or good time in the sack.

All this makes general sense to me, but I’m left a bit empty their conclusion: “Men and their female sex partners may benefit from public health efforts designed to promote the improved fit of condoms.” That’s all well and good, and I’d appreciate more substantial, thoughtful messages from the often simple-minded, hand-out-a-million-condoms-and-all-will-be-well public health advocates across the globe.  I fear, though, they have missed the point: There’s a mighty good chance that the fellas who reported ill-fitting jimmies wouldn’t like the fit no matter the most massive public health effort we’ve ever seen. The report failed to address the possibility that their cause and effect are all backwards. Take me for example: I don’t really like any condom I’ve ever worn, so chances are I’m not going to like the fit regardless. Or furthermore, I’ve tended to enjoy condoms more the better the sex has been, and when the sex is kinda blah (forget downright bad), I don’t think too highly of the plastic sheath rubbing against my sensitive penile skin. On a related point regarding breakage or slippage: I wonder whether, in the aftermath of a broken condom, one would then be more likely to report an ill fit than had it not broken. After all, we have to point to some reason — crappy material, improper use, no lube, and so on — so when asked the question, I may very well respond that the size wasn’t quite right either.

Seriously, I don’t mean to bash the study, and take a listen to the podcast  done by Drs. Waugh and Yarber (from Kinsey) discussing the study, and you’ll hear Yarber note rather emphatically that “public health has real, real challenges” and in particular, we’d do well to find out why it is that those who reported an “OK” condom fit felt as they did and how they differed from their ill-fitting counterparts. (You’ll also, if you have a decent sense of humour, find it laugh-out-loud-while-alone funny to hear two older distinguished gentlemen — one British for whatever it’s worth — discuss two people “going pretty hard at it” and “how vigorous the sex should be” and the “speed…of pelvic movements.” All in the context of the study, of course. Call me immature, I know this is serious stuff, and I aspire to be these dudes one day, but trust me that it will crack you up.) So clearly those behind the study know there begs further research.

There’s also the very basic issue of what guys’ idea of a good fit should be. We’re talking the difference of millimeters here, so it seems a bit of a stretch to glean too much from this study. Let’s say I reported a condom was “too narrow” or “too long.” How much wider or shorter would I want it to be? I might want a wider condom ’cause I got good girth, but I wouldn’t want it too wide — or maybe a condom doesn’t even exist that would be wide enough for my liking. And no public health effort will remedy these issues. I’m just not so sure that fit is the right topic to tackle. It’s surely an important one, but condoms still suck to use, and we have to question that a bit more before getting stuck on size. I might be wrong, and I’ll stand corrected with proper study, but let’s take the TheyFit condom, which is made to fit different penis lengths and widths. It could be the perfect size, but if the latex feels too thick, you’re going to have unhappy customers. They’ve been around for awhile, but something ain’t quite right if they haven’t become all the rage.

And lastly, I’ll continue my broken-record crusade about lube. Promoting lube with condoms will do more for condom use than all the eroticization of condoms alone could ever do. Maybe I’m just biased because my sex life couldn’t function without it, but I have worked in the field a few years and anecdotal evidence bears out my conclusion, if only a little bit. Far too many people, teens to seniors, haven’t got the slightest idea they can purchase a $10 bottle of high quality (non-KY) lube at the store, put a few drops inside the condom, outside the condom, on your partner’s vulva or ass, and have their sex lives transformed. Instead they settle for dry, irritating, painful, condom-breaking sex because no one talks about this stuff openly and honestly.

So let’s keep talking about poor condom size and its ill effects on safety and pleasure, let’s let the people know they’ve got more than just Trojans, Lifestyles and Durex, and let’s promote condom experimentation. But let’s also be realistic and recognize that well hung guys still won’t be doing backflips over Magnums and our smaller fellas are not transformed by Snugger Fit Lifestyles. And let’s ask more extensive questions next time we do such a study.

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Research and Study | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AIDS-Condom-Genital-Shield Craziness

Posted by Condomologist on June 24, 2009

It’s hard to take a guy seriously who seems to have very little grasp on some of the basics of sexually transmitted infections, but Doug Sturlingh (see pic below) claims to have 2 patents that will make anyone willing to buy them “trillions in earnings.” So says the inventor of the bizarrely named AIDS-Condom-Gential-Shield — why the hyphens I have no clue — which involves a 2-part combination condom and molded scrotum covering that connect to one another and provide protection against skin-to-skin based infections like Herpes, Syphilis and HPV. The invention, like the Sensis and TheyFit condoms, is not a bad idea, but it’s hard to get on board with products that seem more the brainchild of money-hungry entrepeneurs than sexual health gurus — though I guess that’s how most products come to fruition. Seems like a gimmick to me, but at least reading an at-times incoherent interview with Sturlingh   provided me with some amusement. Before he’s going to sell any patents, someone needs to explain to him the difference between HIV and AIDS and the fact that his invention is no more likely to prevent against HIV infection than the thousands of other condoms on the market.

doug-sturlingh

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Distribution and Availability | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Go Kinsey, it’s your birthday!

Posted by Condomologist on June 19, 2009

The Kinsey Institute  at Indiana University has been awarded an NIH grant to study condom use, in particular why heterosexual men choose not to wear condoms or take them off mid-coitus due to lack of sensation. Much needed research, look forward to the results.

Posted in News and Current Events, Pleasure, Research and Study | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Lifestyles Lubes it Up!

Posted by Condomologist on June 17, 2009

I can’t get enough of lube. It’s not talked about enough, not used enough, not explored enough, and damn it people, why do we keep telling people that you can use only water-based lube with condoms? Silicone lube is mighty good for many folks. AHHH!!! So how refreshing to stroll into a condom shop on South St. in Philly — I’ll miss Philadelphia a lot when I leave in 3 weeks — and find Lifestyles and their new X2 condom, lubed on the inside and outside. As usual, I’m no condom tester, but I do like my lube, and one point I’m always stuck on is making sure guys (and ladies) know they can lube up their penis before putting a condom on — or just put a few drops in the tip of the condom. (I’m a fan of lubing up the penis.) It makes sex feel better, it’s causing less friction, it feels better…oh, said that already. So I’m excited by this new development, hope you all are too.

lifestyles x2

Posted in Condom Brands and Styles, Lubrication, Pleasure | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Trash Talk with Condom Ads

Posted by Condomologist on June 13, 2009

My partner in crime on the rap stage, dude named TWise living down in Mexico, put me on to this hilarious ad from condom company Tulipan, some pre-match intimidation prior to Argentina facing off against Brazil in soccer.

Posted in Condom Art, Condom Brands and Styles, Humour, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »