There was a study completed recently about college-aged women and condom usage, and the results were that the women used condoms less frequently the more time they spent in college. This was true for both women in monogamous relationships and women who engaged in casual sex.
Of course, women often blow off condoms when they go on the pill or another form of birth control, but preventing pregnancy isn’t the only aspect of safe sex that is important. Condoms are the only way to prevent the spread of most STDs (HPV and herpes not included). Maybe this is just my perception, but it seems like in the last few years, there has been a huge de-emphasis in the importance of staying STD-free. There’s still a significant stigma against people who have them, but not a lot of talk about preventing the spread. I think it’s interesting that this study chose to highlight women’s role in condom usage, when ultimately, it’s up to the guy to agree to wear one (yes, female condoms are available, but they’re more expensive and more difficult to use properly, and they are not really discussed).
How many of us have been in a situation where we’re hooking up and the guy just slides in without much warning? Or how many of us have encountered men who are absurdly petulant when their partner asks them to put one on? They always have a litany of excuses or justifications — “It doesn’t feel as good”/”I can’t stay hard with one on”/”I’m clean, don’t you trust me?” This is the point where you should definitely extricate yourself from the situation, because he’s obviously a jerk and isn’t looking out for your best interests. Unfortunately, when you’re in the moment it doesn’t always feel that way, especially if neither of you have condoms handy.
While there is a lot to be said about moving slowly enough to take the time to confirm each other’s STD status, that’s often not how it happens. Which is…well, it is what it is. But that’s what condoms are for — avoiding the semi-awkwardness that comes with asking someone to show you their recent STD results before getting it in. I think that our society is neglecting to really make condoms seem imperative, so unfortunately there are going to be men out there who treat condoms like they’re completely unnecessary. And it’s hard to be that person who has to inform a grown man that they are, in fact, a must.
However, since we can only control our own actions, I think it’s really important for us, as women, to at least use the agency that we have to protect ourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a stock of condoms, and having a couple in your bag, just in case. So even if you’re in a situation with a guy who conveniently doesn’t have one on him, you’re prepared. If he still resists, take your ball, go home and resolve to find less lame guys in the future.
[Lead image via Dino O./Shutterstock]