We all had a jolly good chuckle the other day, didn’t we?
About that study? You know the one, saying how guys don’t like condoms because our penises are too small?
Hehe. Daft bloody men and their diddly little winkles.
Apparently 83% of todgers are shorter than your typical over-the-counter condom.
Well, duh, if 83% of penises were bigger than the typical condom they’d all split.
Anyway, something in the subtext of that story really stuck in my craw.
This notion, apparently a given, that men don’t wear condoms because we’re not good enough for them – as opposed to the other way around – is stupid.
Yes, yes, #fragilemasculinity #whatever.
The truth, sad to relate, is that condoms are a little bit rubbish.
The sexual act is a magical thing.
In this fretful, tech-warped, paranoid age, the tender union of bodies in intimate congress is among the few remaining simple human pleasures.
It feels a bit of a shame, in my opinion, to smother it in a smelly sheath of latex.
Now, under certain circumstances, a chap damn well should put on a condom – the classic drunken one-night-stand scenario, let’s say – and he should not wait to be asked, or cajoled, or persuaded.
He should just wear one without asking questions.
But pause a second… I’ve had a fair few one night stands in my time.
Sometimes the young lady insisted I forego the condom, because, she said, sex is so much better without one. I admit I did not waste time arguing that point.
The morning after those carnal sessions, I’d go straight to the clinic, sometimes with the girl, and swallow some pills – bish bash bosh.
I pay my taxes after all.
However, with those fair maids who preferred I rubber up, naturally I’d comply, even though if I’m honest, it dampened my sensitivity and overall fun.
A woman has a right to protect herself against the threat of HIV/Aids.
So do horny guys, for that matter.
I had an HIV scare once, years ago, and believe me it’s no joke.
Pregnancy is of course the other elephant in the room.
If she doesn’t use, or prefers not to use, the contraceptive pill or implant or a coil, that’s her choice.
I have a kid, and I love him, but I wouldn’t wish parenthood on my worst enemy if the circumstances weren’t right.
Official advice on condoms from Terrence Higgins Trust
- Condoms are still the best way to prevent STIs
- Last year (2016), there were approximately 420,000 diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in England
- Never use a condom with oil-based lubricant, including Vaseline, as it can cause them to split
- Smaller condoms are marketed as ‘snug’, ‘trim’ or ‘close fit’ while larger ones are often described as ‘XL’
To be absolutely clear – getting laid with a condom is still better than not getting laid at all.
My main point is this.
Let’s not kid ourselves that stopping mid-foreplay to wrestle open a foil packet which stinks out the room and makes your dick taste weird is in any way ideal.
Luckily, many top minds (including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, no less) are investing heavily in futuristic tap-that-ass tech, such as condoms made from natural-feeling collagen or silicone.
The challenge they face is government regulators who insist on treating condoms as a medicine, meaning they must submit to the same rigorous clinical trial process as, say, a new cancer drug – a prohibitively expensive endeavour for most start-ups.
As a society, we need to think long and hard about that.
Until then though, we must rely on the tools at our disposal as caution is absolutely the right approach.
Cary James, Head of Programmes at HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is adamant that ‘condoms are still the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
‘Penises come in different sizes so condoms do too – it’s definitely not a case of one size fits all.
‘But the right condom is out there for every man. Big, small, wide, narrow, there will be a size which will not only fit, but increase sensation and pleasure.
‘If your condom doesn’t fit, it’s more likely to break or slip off, which puts both partners at risk of STIs and pregnancy. It’s worth finding the condom that works for you.’
So gentlemen, take heed: if she – or he – wants you to wear one, obviously wear one.
Ladies: if you want him to glove up, stick to your guns and don’t let him wheedle out of it.
But know this – he’s not complaining about it to be selfish.
He doesn’t want to riddle you with STDs.
And he most certainly doesn’t want to get you pregnant.
He’s griping because condoms are a bit rubbish.
They could – and should – be better.
For more information about looking after your sexual health, including condoms, head to www.tht.org.uk
Find out which condom you should be wearing by using the condoms fitter at startswithme.org.uk
National HIV Testing Week kicks off on Saturday 18 November with loads of opportunities to get tested for HIV. It’s quick, easy and confidential.