5 Ways to Have Hot (and Super Safe) Sex with Your Partner

Photo credit: Khanh Hmoong

Photo credit: Khanh Hmoong

Think you know everything about condoms? Just check the expiry date, unwrap and roll on…

Well, according to Lucky Bloke’s Global Condom Review, most people aren’t equipped with important condom know-how. The result? Most people are using the wrong condom. As Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke explains below, the majority of people who dislike condoms are wearing the wrong size, unaware that condoms come in at least three different sizes.

Contrary to popular belief, safer sex doesn’t mean compromising pleasure.  In this article, Melissa White offers simple techniques that will surely satisfy.

Amazing sex that is safe and worry free! What can be hotter than that?

This post was originally published on YourTango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

We truly believe that you can have steamy, hot sex with condoms.

Condoms and pleasure … not possible, you say? Through our Global Condom Review, we’ve proven that safer sex is even hotter than unprotected sex, and we’re ready to bring our expertise to your bedroom (or couch or dining room table).

Here are five easy ways to make sex with condoms even sexier:

1. Use the right size.

Quality and fit are as essential to condoms as they are to any other type of apparel. Could you imagine if bras were available in only one style and only one size? No way!

Don’t worry; if you didn’t realize that condoms come in multiple sizes, you’re not alone. In fact, most condom users have no idea and people who really dislike condoms often wear the wrong size.

Not sure what the perfect size is for you or your partner? All you need is an empty toilet paper roll. By inserting the erect penis into an empty toilet paper roll, you can figure out the perfect condom size by using the following guidelines:

2. Get creative with sex positions.

Putting on a condom is only awkward if you let it be. Instead, make it a hot sex move. Give your partner a sexy back view by climbing on top into a reverse cowgirl position and rolling the condom on yourself.

If you’re looking to spice things up further, use your mouth. Dab your lips with lube, then lightly suck the condom into your mouth with the nipple-end facing inward. Make sure you carefully wrap your lips over your teeth. Place your mouth at the head of his penis, push your lips against the ring of the condom, slide it down his shaft and unroll the rest with your hand. Voilà!

There’s no doubt that your partner will be impressed with your skills.

3. Don’t be afraid of lube.

Most condom users don’t realize that using lube with condoms dramatically increases pleasure for both partners.

Before you put on the condom, place two drops of lube inside. This increases sensation at the supersensitive head of his penis. Apply lube generously to the outside of the condom for increased pleasure. Once condom users experiment with lube they rarely go without.

Not sure which lube to choose? Try a lube sampler, which allows you to try out some of the world’s top lubes without investing in a whole bottle.

4. Make a V with your pointer and middle fingers, then place it between your legs.

Press it against the base of his penis as he thrusts. This gives him more stimulation where the condom is tightest, or most numbing.

5. Try a vibrating ring.

Many drugstores carry vibrating rings in their condom aisle; however, this is also an item you can pick up at an adult boutique. A vibrating ring is a plastic band attached to a buzzing nub. Place the band around the base of the condom, with the nub facing your clitoris, and enjoy the pulsating ride. Not only will you receive extra stimulation, but the vibrating sensations will also tease and tantalize your partner!

Ready to improve your sex life with condoms? Head on over to theCondomReview.com where you can buy the best condom samplers available, featuring the top-rated condoms from our recent Global Condom Review. (Based on the findings of 1100 Participants in 21 countries!) Curious about lube? We’ve got amazing lube samplers, too!

Unsure what size

7 Condoms that even a Condom Skeptic would Love

Photo credit: Onyana Rose

Photo credit: Onyana Rose

These Sexy Condoms Will Completely Revolutionize Your Time In Bed! Guaranteed. 

Are you someone who hates condoms or has a partner that struggles with condom use? You’re not alone. In her Global Condom Review, Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, found that most people are unaware that condoms come in different sizes and shapes. Hence, many are wearing the wrong condom.

She argues that condom pleasure boils down to knowing what size you need and experimenting with different types and shapes.

Basically, if you dislike condoms it’s because you haven’t found the right one yet.

In this article, Melissa White recommends seven top-selling boutique condoms based on condom size needs. Take her advise and everything you thought you knew about condoms will improve.

This article was originally published on Your Tango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

Sure, contraception gets a bad rap. And, sometimes quite deservedly so.

However, to date, Lucky Bloke has matched over 45,000 happy condom users (in 28 countries) with a condom they love.

Isn’t it time that you and your partner launch over condom mediocrity and spend your future days (and nights) in condom nirvana?! Yes, with a little savvy and a few tips you’ll be there in no time.

Do you know what size condom you need? This is the first step to condom bliss.
And this handy trick will help you determine your partner’s condom size in no time. No measuring tape required.

Next read up on these seven condoms –all have something special to offer and each are worth a test drive:

1. Okamoto | 004

Okamoto (the leading brand in Japan, as well as the makers of Crown and Beyond Seven), continue to rock the condom world with stellar advances in latex technology. While, Japanese condoms are known for their ability to be ultrathin without compromising on strength and durability, the Okamoto 004 (Zero Zero Four) pushes all pleasure boundaries. It’s rumored to be the very thinnest latex condom available in the US. Until we are shown otherwise, we absolutely agree!

Because of the classic shaft this condom works best for the 50% of men who require a standard sized condom.

2. Unique Pull Condoms

Aptly named, their innovation is guaranteed to be nominated for the Pleasure Hall of Fame. When using UNIQUE PULL for the first time, many say they have to check to see if the condom was in place because they really could not feel it during sex. The thinner the condom, the greater the pleasure. Made from high-tech synthetic polyethylene resin, odorless, non-latex condom UNIQUE is 3x stronger AND 3x thinner than conventional (latex) condoms.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom, as well as men who need a larger condom.

3. SKYN | Intense Feel

Last year, when the good people at Lifestyles told us (on the down-low) they were going to introduce this new masterpiece in condom innovation: SKYN Intense Real Feel, it was hard not to shout about it from the rooftops. A bit dramatic you think? Well then, you’ve likely never tried a polyisoprene* condom. New condom materials (read: non-latex condoms) are the next direction for increased safer sex pleasure. And mind you, you don’t need a latex sensitivity to begin enjoying polyisoprene condoms.

SKYN Intense Real Feel is what happens when LifeStyles takes their already fantastic non-latex condom, SKYN, and adds a wave pattern of texture — Intensely deep studs on the areas along the condom that (studies have shown) maximize stimulation and pleasure.

*Polyisoprene — a scientifically formulated non-latex material that offers the strength of latex while delivering ultimate sensitivity — provides a softer, more natural feel than latex. While polyisoprene condoms are ideal for people with latex allergies or latex sensitivities, many couples prefer them to latex condoms altogether.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom. If your man needs a larger condom, try SKYN Large.

4. ONE | Tantric Pleasures

Ah, Tantric Pleasures. Of course, you want a condom that’s interesting, that feels great inside and out. Meet ONE’s answer: Tantric Pleasures, the first condom in the world created with tattoo-inspired texture for increased pleasure and an easy-rolling flared shape for added comfort. Pleasure shape meets pleasure texture. Pleasure, indeed. There are 3 separate designs: Maori, Tribal, & Titan.

When choosing ONE you’re helping people in need, as a portion of every purchase supports HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in Africa.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom, as well as men who need a slightly larger condom.

5. GLYDE | Slimfit Strawberry

When creating the tastiest flavored condoms (and dams) in the world, GLYDE ignored cheap chemical concoctions and sourced the highest quality food-grade natural and organic fruit and nut extracts on the planet. Combining this with a red premium secure fit condom, GLYDE Slimfit Strawberry surpasses international quality standards with ultrathin comfort and increased sensation for any connoisseur in the mood for vegan, sugar-free strawberry deliciousness. It also smells absolutely divine!

This condom works best for the 35% of men who require a tighter fit, more secure condom. If you need a standard fit, try Strawberry Ultra.

6. Durex | Performax Intense

Durex Performax Intense condoms are perfect for the couple that needs support matching both of their needs. They feature a body heat-activated, desensitizing, 5% benzocaine delay lubricant on the inside for him, which helps to delay climax and prolong sexual excitement for longer lasting enjoyment. And then, there’s ribs and studded texture on the outside to insure maximum mutual pleasure for the receiving partner. As with the original Performax, the fitted shape insures that the delay lubricant stays safely on the inside.

PERFORMANCE TIP: Gentlemen, DESENSITIZING CONDOMS are highly recommended if you require additional stamina support — you will likely be pleasantly impressed by their effectiveness. On the other hand, if you don’t truly require this type of condom, numbness and a difficulty to climax are more likely to be your experience.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom. If your man needs a tighter condom or larger condom, try Ride Rock Delay Spray.

7. FC2 | Female (“internal”) Condom

The FC2 Condom offers an advantage for women who want to ensure birth control and protection from STDs. The internal condom is a strong, thin and flexible nitrile sheath inserted into (just going to get medical here) the vagina prior to sex. It has a flexible polyurethane ring on one end, a soft nitrile ring on the other and is absolutely latex-free. It is pre-lubricated with a slick silicone-based lubricant, but additional lubricant can be used as well.

The female condom can be used no matter how your man is endowed. The female condom offers a fantastic advantage for couples where a partner has a latex sensitivity. This is the only non-latex condom option for guys requiring a smaller condom (we like to call this a “tighter” or more “tailored” fit).

No matter the size, many men find the female condom more liberating. It is still “there” yet, he does not feel the same restriction, as when he is wearing the protection. Give it a try if you are (or he is) a traditional condom hater.

Once you’ve made it to the end of this list, if you’d appreciate personalized attention, Lucky Bloke offers an absolutely free Condom Concierge Service, via email. Contact us at getlucky@luckybloke.com and Lucky Bloke will assist you in identifying the condoms and lube that are right for you. (No purchase necessary!)

Unsure what size

I’m Trans. Do I Need Birth Control?

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

All pregnancies require 4 things to get going: a uterus, an egg, a sperm, and for the egg and sperm to come together.  

Just like cis-gendered people, not all trans people use birth control to prevent pregnancy. There are important things to consider before waging your chances of getting pregnant. As Juno Obedin-Malvier, MD, explains, pregnancy depends on “what equipment you’ve got, what you’re doing with it, who you’re doing it with (and what they’ve got), and whether pregnancy is a goal or not”.

Here are important points about the possibilities of getting pregnant for trans people:

  • Testosterone isn’t both control. For many trans men, taking testosterone may halt the menstrual cycle. However, testosterone doesn’t complete end egg production from the ovaries and some trans men have gotten pregnant even without a period.
  • Birth control methods available for cis-women are equally effective for trans men.
  • Likewise, estrogen is not birth control. Trans women who take estrogen and have a penis and testicles can still get their partner(s) pregnant.
  • Condoms are a great option for trans women. Plus they are the only form of protection that helps prevent STIs and pregnancy.
  • There are many health care providers that specialize in the trans community. Check out the resources at the bottom of this article.

This article by Juno Obedin-Maliver was originally published at Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Do trans people need to use birth control? Well, it all depends. It depends on what equipment you’ve got, what you’re doing with it, who you’re doing it with (and what they’ve got), and whether pregnancy is a goal or not.

For any readers who aren’t familiar with the terminology, here’s a primer. Briefly, being transgender (“trans” for short) is about living in a gender that is different than the sex you were born with. Being cisgender is about having that sex and gender line up. Whether one needs birth control depends on what sex you were born with and what sex your partner was born with.

Transgender folks and cisgender folks come in all shapes and sizes. But everyone—no matter whether they identify as a transgender man, transgender woman, man, woman, or another identity—is born with only one set of gametes (if any). Gametes are the cells from two different people that come together to make a baby. For humans, gametes come in two types: the sperm type and the egg type. And all pregnancies require at least four things to get going: a uterus, an egg, sperm, and for the egg and sperm to come together.

Trans men

(FTM, or folks who were assigned female sex at birth and identify on the male gender spectrum)
For those guys who were born with a uterus and ovaries (where eggs are made), if you still have those parts, you can get pregnant. So, if you’re doing someone who has a sperm delivery system (a penis and testicles) you have to think about the possibility that you could get pregnant.

Many, but not all, trans men use testosterone (T). For most, that stops the monthly visit from Aunt Flo. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get pregnant. Some trans men have gotten pregnant even when they weren’t having their periods and were still taking testosterone. How is that possible? Well, testosterone doesn’t completely stop egg production, so some guys will still release eggs even on T and even without a period. In other words, T isn’t good birth control.

So if getting pregnant isn’t in your plan, what are your options? All the methods that cisgender women may consider are also good options for trans guys. You should talk about them with your health care provider, who can help you tailor the method to your needs. If you want to get pregnant, you should also talk with your provider because there are things you can do to make sure you’re as healthy as possible before you do.

Trans women

(MTF, or folks who were assigned male at birth and identify on the female gender spectrum)
For those gals who were born with a sperm delivery system (penis and testicles)—if you still have those parts and your partner has a uterus and ovaries, you can get them pregnant. Many trans women think that if they are on estrogen they can’t get another person pregnant, but that’s not true. Though it may be harder to get an erection, make sperm, and ejaculate when you are on estrogen, it’s not impossible.

So if you and your partner have the equipment to get pregnant but don’t want to be, you’ve got to think about birth control. All the things that cisgender men think about for contraception are on the table. Condoms are especially cool because they protect against both sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

If you want to have kids and you’ve got sperm, you should talk with your health care provider—ideally before starting estrogen—about saving those spermies for a rainy, pregnancy-desiring kind of day.

Finding good care

If you want to talk to a health care provider about any of these issues and don’t already have one you trust, check out the providers on this list. If you’re in one of the following cities, you can go to a health center that specializes in care for the trans community:

Baltimore : Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Boston: The Fenway Institute

Chicago: Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, the Howard Brown Health Center

Cleveland: The PRIDE Clinic at MetroHealth Medical Center

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles LGBT Center

New York: Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Philadelphia: The Mazzoni Center

San Francisco: Lyon-Martin Health Services, the Tom Waddell Health Center, the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Washington, D.C.: Whitman-Walker Health

There are also Planned Parenthood clinics—like the ones listed here under “What health services”—that have providers who can help trans folks with general health questions, as well as birth control questions.

condom ad condoms too loose

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Which of These 4 Types of Female Condoms Is Right For You?

Image by Condom Monologues

Image by Condom Monologues

There are hundreds of condom options for penis protection available today, ranging in condom size, material, texture, flavors and more. When it comes to the receptive partner, however, there is only one option. The FC2 is the only internal or female condom approved by the FDA and available for purchase. (We use the common term “female condom”, while recognizing that this barrier method can be used by all genders.)

As part of their weekly Q&A series, the folks at the CSPH (The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) explain what is the female condom and why it may be the best safer sex option for you. They also give some insight into three other internal condoms available in the future. There is certainly a lot to look forward to!

The benefits of the female condom include:

  • Female condoms protect against both STIs and accidental pregnancy.
  • Because female condoms form to the receptive partner’s body, they are a great option to solve condom size issues.
  • Female condoms are the only barrier method that can be worn by the receptive partner.
  • Female condoms can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
  • Female condoms protect the skin around the anus and vagina, reducing the risk of skin-to-skin transmitted infections.
  • Because the FC2 is made of synthetic rubber it is compatible with both silicon and water-based lube.

This post was originally published by the CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

Each week, The CSPH answers questions that have been submitted through our website and social media outlets like TwitterTumblr, and Facebook. This week’s question:

What’s the best female condom?

Female condoms, also known as internal condoms or FCs, help prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although these products are frequently marketed with the terms “female” or “woman,” the CSPH prefers to use “internal condom” when possible, because it better reflects the truth about gender identity—that being female or male cannot be defined by having a prescribed set of genitals. Besides, this fantastic prophylactic is an effective safer sex option for good times all around, both within and beyond the vaginal walls as it can also be used during anal sex by persons of any gender. Please note that some of the language in this Q&A may be triggering due to the fact that many brands of internal condom still market themselves using “female” specific language; however, we have included it as part of our resource set due to the fact that they are quality barrier methods even if the language they use is problematic.

Internal condoms are unique because they are the only barrier method that can be initiated by the receptive partner, which may empower that individual to feel greater control over their personal health and protection. Additional benefits of internal condom use include the potential for advance insertion (up to eight hours before sex), protection of the skin surrounding the vagina or anus, and its thin, synthetic rubber material—compatible with both silicone- and water-based lubes—that may better preserve sensation.

The Fc2

Assuming that you live in the United States, the answer to your question is simple: the FC2 is the “best” option. Why? Because it is the only internal condom approved by the Food and Drug Administration and, therefore, the only one available for purchase.  Although there are hundreds of brands on the market for penis protection—in assorted colors, textures, and flavors—there are limited condom choices for receptive partners. The good news, however, is that this could change in the next few years, as there are some exciting products under development.

Seattle-based nonprofit PATH has designed a new model, the Woman’s Condom, with input from heterosexual couples in the developing world. Despite the numerous benefits associated with internal condoms, not only can they be challenging to insert, but their  physical appearance can also be uninviting, somewhat akin to a slippery windsock. To address these ergonomic and aesthetic concerns, PATH scientists gathered most of the seven-inch polyurethane pouch into a capsule about the size of an OB tampon. All you have to do is insert the compact capsule, and then the pouch unfurls while foam supports adhere lightly to the vaginal walls to stabilize the condom. The Woman’s Condom, also branded as O’lavie, has been available in China in limited distribution channels since late 2011 and clinical trials were recently completed in the United States.

Other promising advances in the world of internal condoms include the following models, which, like the “Woman’s Condom,” have been designed and tested specifically for vaginal intercourse:

The Cupid

Available in both natural and pink colors, it is the only FC that is vanilla scented. If these qualities alone do not motivate you to stockpile your shelves, consider the more user-friendly insertion method: the Cupid uses a non-biodegradable sponge, meant to be compressed between the fingers, to push the condom into the vagina. The sponge  also holds the condom in place during use, much like the inner ring of the FC2. This FC was pre-qualified in June 2012 for bulk procurement by the United Nations, upon recommendations from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Female Condom Technical Review Committee. It is currently available in India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Origami

Made of silicone to provide flexibility and durability during vaginal intercourse, this product is folded “origami style” and inserted by pushing the folded material into the vagina. While the design is intended to minimize its size for ease of insertion, after insertion, the condom will deploy to its full length during intercourse. The Origami has the potential to be a viable, reusable condom, due to its high-grade silicone material. This possibility of re-use, if found to be feasible, could lower manufacturing costs significantly. Clinical trials will commence in the U.S. in 2014. Furthermore, if these condoms become available in select animal shapes—like frogs, swans, or tigers—I predict a new contraceptive trend!

Panty Condoms

The Natural Sensation Panty Condom® offers sexy snatch protection with a discrete design that MacGyver would envy.  A reusable cotton thong, the Panty Condom® includes a replaceable pantyliner that contains a condom made of synthetic resin. The condom can be inserted by a penis or a finger, and the panty itself can be reused with another condom for additional acts of intercourse. One great benefit of this product is that you can wear it all day and, like a Girl Scout, be prepared. Additionally, it covers the entire vulva, which eliminates direct contact with the genital area and reduces the potential for sexually-transmitted infections such as herpes or HPV. Natural Sensation is available in parts of South America and Europe, though it has not received FDA or WHO approval. This FC is under review by the WHO Female Condom Technical Review Committee, and clinical work on function and acceptability is due to be undertaken in 2013.

If you wish to support the development and distribution of these fantastic products, consider joining the National Female Condom Coalition, or donating to PATH.  Unlike traditional condoms, FCs are considered a new “medical device” by the FDA and must undergo rigorous testing and research before widespread distribution, requiring funding and advocacy. Of the products that have already been approved, much of their availability is dependent upon donor organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, especially within the developing world.

For more information about the positive impact of FCs worldwide, check out the video submissions to PATH’s film contest, Female Condoms Are ________.  According to global citizens everywhere, from Bolivia to Kenya to the United States, “female condoms are sexy;” “female condoms are freedom;” “female condoms are for everyone.”

condom ad condoms too tight

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

How to Safely Have Sex with a Yeast Infection

yeast infection“My girlfriend sometimes has yeast infections.  Is it bad to have unprotected sex?”

This question was posed to the CSPH (the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) as part of their weekly Q&A series. It is a common misunderstanding that sex causes yeast infections. The fact is that sex alone is not the culprit. However, shifting from oral or anal sex to vaginal sex without changing protective barriers (or not using barriers at all!) can initiate the spread of bacteria and cause an infection. As explained below, there are multiple reasons why a yeast infection occurs. Also, vaginas aren’t the only ones susceptible to infection. All genitals, as well as the mouth, can experience yeast infections.

Here are the must-know basics about yeast infections:

  • Yeast infections are incredibly common and almost every woman will experience at least one in her life time.
  • They are caused by a number of factors including stress, diet, menstruation, hormonal changes, autoimmune diseases, some medications.
  • While they are incredibly uncomfortable to endure, yeast infections are easy to treat.
  • Sex alone, including sex with multiple partners, does not cause yeast infections.
  •  They can pass between partners during unprotected oral and penetrative sex. So it’s important to use barrier methods when one is experiencing a yeast infection.

This article was originally published on the CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

Yeast infections, sometimes known as “thrush”, are the result of an overgrowth of the candida albicans fungus.  Although Candidiasis can occur throughout the body, the infection is prone to occur in warm, moist areas, such as the mouth.  In particular, vaginal yeast infections occur when yeast, which already exists within the vagina in small amounts, overgrows, resulting in an infection.  Vaginal yeast infections are actually quite common, occurring in as many as 75% of vagina owners throughout their lifetime. They are also easy to treat, usually only requiring an antifungal cream, vaginal suppository, or oral medication.

Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include burning, itching, redness around the vagina and/or vulva, pain when urinating, pain during sex, and a thick, white discharge like cottage cheese.  Many factors can raise the risk of yeast infections, such as stress, illness, lack of sleep, poor dietary habits, pregnancy, menstruation, hormonal changes, certain medications (such as oral contraception, antibiotics, and steroids), autoimmune diseases, and poorly-controlled diabetes.

You can help avoid vaginal yeast infections by practicing habits that result in a clean, healthy vagina.  These habits include:

  • Avoiding douches, which disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina
  • Avoiding scented hygiene products, such as perfumed genital powders, sprays, pads, and tampons, which disrupt the vagina’s natural balance of bacteria and can result in irritation, especially in those with fragrance sensitivities
  • Changing tampons and pads often during one’s period, because menstrual products can be a breeding ground for bacteria.  Changing tampons often also helps prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • After using the toilet, wiping front to back in order to prevent the spread of fecal bacteria into the vagina
  • Avoiding underwear made of synthetic fibers, which provide poor ventilation and trap moisture
  • Wearing cotton underwear and pantyhose with a cotton crotch, which will allow one’s genitals to “breathe”
  • Changing out of wet swimsuits and exercise clothes as soon as possible, because warm, moist body parts and clothing are perfect hosts for bacteria
  • When switching from anal sex to vaginal sex, always using condoms and changing condoms between acts to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria into the vagina
  • Unless the product is glycerin-free, steer clear of using flavored condoms and lubricants in/with a vagina.  Glycerin (also termed glycerol) is a sweetening agent that, when introduced to the vagina, can trigger yeast infections, especially among those who are prone to them.

Yeast Infection As an STI?

Although yeast infections are not known as sexually transmitted diseases, it is in fact possible for yeast infections to pass between partners during unprotected oral and penetrative sex; this is why yeast infections are often discussed alongside STIs in classes.  Furthermore, it is important to note that any type of genitals can get yeast infections, not just vaginas.  Therefore, I recommended that someone who has a yeast infection use barrier methods when engaging in sex play.  These barrier methods include external condoms, internal condoms, dental dams, and even gloves, which are ideal for manual stimulation.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that sex itself is not to blame for yeast infections, nor is there a relationship between the number of sexual partners and the occurrence of yeast infections.  That said, those who are prone to vaginal yeast infections may find that oral sex without a barrier method is a contributing factor.

Lastly, I want to stress the importance of using barrier methods during sexual activity.  Not only are barrier methods useful while a partner has a yeast infection, but they’re also great at offering protection against STIs as well as preventing pregnancy.  This protection can be especially meaningful to those whose concerns about STIs and pregnancy are distracting during sexual activity, hindering full enjoyment.  Furthermore, barrier methods, along with sexual lubricants, can add variety to one’s sex life due to the vast array of textures, slickness, and flavors available.  I suggest using lube not only outside the condom, but also placing a drop of lube inside the condom, which can add/heighten sensation for the penis-owner.  That said, I recommend steering clear of spermicidal lubricants, which shorten the shelf-life of condoms and can result in irritation and micro-tears that increase the risk of STI transmission.

Finally, I want to share my personal favorite condom trick, which I learned during Megan Andelloux’s Study Sex College Tour: how to put an external condom on with one’s mouth!

1. Make sure the condom is safe to use by checking the expiration date and pinching the middle to feel for an air bubble, which will ensure the package has not been punctured.  When the condom is opened (with one’s hands, not with teeth or scissors), the condom should not be sticky or brittle.  If it is, throw it out and get a new one.

2. Sit the condom on the tip of one’s finger.  Do not unroll it.  The condom should look like a little hat, with the brim curling outwards.

3. Put the tip of the condom in one’s mouth and hold it in place by lightly sucking on it.  Use one’s tongue and the suction to keep the semen reservoir flat, as to not trap in an air bubble.

4. Place one’s pursed, closed lips against the head of the cock, and slide one’s head down.  Feel free to use a hand or two to aid the process and unroll the condom fully.

condom ad condoms too loose

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

Disabled People Need Sexual Health Care Too

Image by Maria Iliou. From the Disabled Artist Guild.

Image by Maria Iliou. From the Disabled Artist Guild.

BY ROBIN MANDELL | ReadySexyAble.com

Most safer sex guides take it for granted that all of us are going to have the manual dexterity (ability to move our hands) to unwrap and use a condom, that getting STI testing is as easy as booking (and keeping) an appointment at a free or low-cost sexual health clinic, and that communicating with a partner about safer sex is as easy as having a few face-to-face conversations about it. For those of us who have any sort of physical, cognitive, or psychological disability, these and other “basic” safer sex strategies may not be so easy.

It doesn’t help that disabled people are assumed to be nonsexual, or to have more important things to worry about than the “luxury” of sexual feelings or a sexual relationship, or any number of other myths about sex and disability all of which miss the mark in one way or another.

People with disabilities who are sexually active, or planning to be sexually active, need to practice safer sex, and get regular sexual healthcare, just like anyone else.

A Quick Overview of Safer Sex

If you’re disabled, know that you have the right to whatever expression of your sexuality you want to have, and you have the right to be safe when expressing your sexual self, both alone and with partners.

Safer sex is about taking care of your sexual health, and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Preventing unwanted pregnancy is known as birth control, not safer sex, but it’s still part of your sexual healthcare if pregnancy is something that can happen to you or someone you’re sexually involved with.

Safer sex includes using barriers (such as condoms or dental dams) for genital contact with a partner, and getting regular sexual healthcare, including STI testing.

Let’s look at a few considerations around safer sex specific to being someone who has any kind of disability. You can get more safer sex info by reading through the other articles on this site.

Sexual Health Care

Most sexual health services aren’t set up to meet the needs of disabled people. In the U.S., many providers don’t get training in working with patients who have disabilities. Coupled with assumptions about disability and sex, this can lead to you not getting the sexual healthcare you need. That might be a healthcare provider who doesn’t ask you about sex, or asks in such a way that assumes you’re not having it.

Or, it means examination tables that don’t accommodate people whose bodies don’t move in the ways expected for traditional exams. This includes staff unable, unwilling, or untrained to assist with positioning your body on the table.

Or, it means reams of forms to fill out, and informational pamphlets and brochures that are only available in print.

Even one step into a building- or doorways that are too narrow- can keep you from seeing a healthcare provider of your choosing.

Healthcare providers aren’t immune to the myths about disabled people and sex, which can result in them assuming their disabled patients aren’t having sex and consequently not asking questions about sexual health, evaluating someone’s need for birth control or STI testing, or even conducting routine genital exams.

Sometimes healthcare providers can fall into the trap of thinking that any problem a patient presents with is related to their disability; or, it may be assumed that what would be a problem for some people (such as fertility problems or the need for frequent STI testing)) will not be a priority or even a problem for disabled people.

Steps you can take to get the sexual healthcare you need if you have a disability:

  • Look for a sex-positive healthcare provider.
  • Find a provider who can meet your disability needs. Members of the Gimp Girl community have put together this list of accessible gynecologists. The list is short, but can give you an idea of what sorts of accommodations you can ask for, and expect, from any private medical practice or clinic.
  • Be prepared to ask for the sexual healthcare you need. Sadly, preparing yourself might also include being ready to fend off judgment, condescension or surprise.If your provider doesn’t bring up sex, you can. You can ask for STI testing, or to discuss birth control options.
  • Be sure when you’re discussing birth control, or if you are being treated for an STI, that the treatment won’t interfere with any medication you take and that any possible side effects won’t trigger physical or psychological symptoms of your disability.

Some assumptions you might encounter:

  • “Oh, I guess we don’t have to talk about birth control, do we?” Quickly followed by the next question in the provider’s list.

Possible response: “Yes, actually, I do need to talk about that. I’ve been wondering what method would be easiest to use considering the problems I have with my hands.”

  • “Is there someone who can help you with your birth control pills?”

Possible Response: “No, I want to keep that private. Maybe I need a different kind that will be easier for me to use on my own.”

  • “I know it’s hard for us to do a pelvic exam on you. Let’s skip it this year.”

Possible Response: “I know it’s hard to examine me, but with what I told you about my sexual history, is a pelvic exam advisable medically? I don’t want to skip any steps I need for my health.”

Sometimes, if the provider assumes the answer to a question, like that you don’t need to have birth control, or of course you’re not sexually active so there’s no need to talk about that and they can move right along with the questions, their words are accompanied by nervous laughter. You might want to drop through a hole in the floor when hearing that, but just because they’re nervous doesn’t mean you have to be. As disabled people, we’re often encouraged to help people feel less nervous around us. This is your healthcare provider, though; it’s their job to meet your healthcare needs and to deal with whatever feelings they have around doing that on their own time. So, just take a deep breath and set them straight about what you need from them.

Once you’ve found a provider you’re able to work with, talk with them to make sure you’re getting the best care you can. The following resources might help you and them. (Unfortunately, most of the writing and research on this topic has been geared towards patients who have what medical people have defined as female genitals. If you don’t have a vagina/vulva, your healthcare needs will be different but your provider can still work with you to find creative solutions to disability-related problems that might come up during examinations.)

Table Manners and Beyond: The Gynecological Exam for Women with Developmental Disabilities and Other Functional Limitation, and Reproductive Health Care Experiences of Women With Physical Disabilities: A Qualitative Study are both resources you and your provider can read through together to help problem-solve any accessibility challenges you’re having with your healthcare.

Accessing Safer Sex Supplies

Transportation problems, inaccessible buildings, worries about being judged, or lack of trusted help can keep you from getting safer sex supplies. Perhaps you’re in a wheelchair and need to ask a store employee to reach your preferred pack of condoms. Or maybe you have a visual impairment and need to ask for help reading the wide variety of lube bottles. Being in these situations may make you feel vulnerable to being asked intrusive questions or judgmental comments. Considering that people ask visibly disabled strangers how they have sex, these fears aren’t unfounded. How can you get supplies while maintaining self-respect and privacy?

Many resource centres on college campuses and sexual or reproductive health clinics provide free condoms. If you get your healthcare needs taken care of at a private practice, and you have a good rapport with your provider, consider asking them if they can obtain condoms, gloves, or other safer sex supplies for you.

You also might consider asking a trusted friend to pick supplies up for you- they can find somewhere that offers them for free so no one has to pay -and handing them over when you see each other.

Many reputable suppliers also sell safer sex supplies online at decent prices and provide clear , detailed information on what you’re buying.

Communication

Do you have the words to talk about sex, and about your body? A lot of us, whether we’re disabled or not, don’t grow up learning the right words for our body parts, or clearly understanding how our bodies work.

When you’re talking to someone you are (or want to be) having sex with, making sure you can communicate accurately and clearly is important. You can’t consent to take part in a sexual activity if you can’t understand your partner, or if they can’t understand you. It’s hard to agree on safer sex practices if, say, one or both partners are unable to speak clearly, are hard of hearing or deaf, or has trouble paying attention to written or spoken words for more than a moment.

You and your partner might want to have a few ways you communicate with each other about sex, both when you’re discussing it and when you’re doing it.

Your communication toolbox can include talking or signing, gesturing, writing notes back and forth, or any other way you can both understand each other. If verbal communication is difficult, or doesn’t happen at all, you’ll want to agree ahead of time on how you’ll communicate things during sex like “I need more lube” or “let’s get the dental dam.”

If talking and writing are both difficult, you might try reading through safer sex information together, and using words or body language (such as nodding your head, shrugging, looking confused, and so on) to indicate when you’ve read something you want to start doing, or that you want to learn more about.

If you use any assistive or augmentative communication devices, you might find the following list of sexual vocabulary words and phrases useful. These can also help you when you’re communicating with a healthcare provider or caregiver.

A Word On Coercion

Disabled people are at an increased risk of experiencing sexual assault. Sometimes that abuse can take the form of sexual coercion, someone talking you into sex you don’t want to have, or attempting to convince you to ditch the safer sex practices you’ve made it clear you want to use. Some people with disabilities are told—sometimes by partners, sometimes by family or friends–that they should be grateful for any sexual attention they get even if it’s not precisely what they want or need.

I call BS on that!

If someone is trying to talk or force you into sex that isn’t safe for you in any way, and they’re trying to use your disability (or anything else) to convince you, that’s just not okay. A person’s disability is no excuse for abuse.

More Resources on Sex and Disability

The following are some sex-and-disability resources that you may find useful:

ROBIN MANDELL is a healthy sexuality and disability rights advocate based in the Washington D.C. area.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies from Queen’s University in Canada and a Professional Writing Certificate from Washington State University. Over the years, Robin has amassed extensive experience working with people at vulnerable times of their lives, both as a crisis hotline worker and a sexuality and relationships education advocate with Scarleteen.  Robin has discovered over the years that disability issues receive significantly less attention in academia and social justice movements than they’re due. She has developed a passion for starting dialogues on sex, disability and accessibility, and has come to the realization that, as much as she just wants to be like everybody else, she can use her visible reality as a blind woman to start these dialogues. Robin blogs on disabilities, sexualities, and the connections between them at ReadySexyAble.com and has published articles on various sexuality and sexual health topics at Scarleteen and Fearless press.

Best Lines of Defense Against Partner’s Excuses Not to Practice Safer Sex

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This post is for anyone who has ever complained about condoms/dams, or has faced complaints from a sex partner; or you are new to safer sex (or you’ve been out of the game for a while) and want to start practicing. In many ways, this post is actually for everyone! We’ve pooled together resources from Condom Monologues and Lucky Bloke to help prepare you with the best lines of reasoning and defense to common excuses against protective sex barriers.

Note: Negotiating safer sex is not confined to heterosexual relationships in which the female is making the male do something. This is an issue that happens in all types of relationships and power dynamics across genders. Knowing how to assert health boundaries is a tool for everyone (of all genders) to have:

Partner: “Condoms never fit me.”
You: “If you’re too big to fit any of these different sizes than you are too big for me.”

There is a deluge of condoms on the market today, all in a variety of smells, tastes, materials, and yes, sizes. There are condoms that are as small as 1.25″ in diameter and ones as large as 2.3″ in diameter. You would be hard-pressed to find a sexually active man who didn’t fall in that range! Need help determining his condom size? Find it here: http://www.luckybloke.com/choose-size

Partner: “It doesn’t feel good.” “I can’t feel anything”.
You: “I can’t enjoy sex if I don’t feel safe.”
“The safer I feel, the hotter the sex.”

or

Partner: “I want to be closer to you/feel you.”
You:“I can’t feel close to you if I don’t feel safe.”

Condoms, dams and lubes have come so far that, in a lot of ways, sex can actually be enhanced with these safety tools. Most importantly, you can feel safe knowing that you have greatly reduced your risk of catching STIs or getting pregnant when you aren’t ready to. Think of protective barriers as sex accessories.

Heather Corinna explains it best: “Asking someone to care for you in any way is not a barrier to intimacy: it’s not asking that keeps space between you…sexual health or even just how to use condoms and use them in a way that works for both of you is not something that keeps people apart, but that brings people closer together.”

Partner: “You think I have an STD”. “You don’t trust me.”
You:“This isn’t about me thinking that here is something wrong with you; this is about both our health.”

You know what? Using a condom and other protective barriers shows that you both care about yourselves and each other! Having unprotected sex is not an act that builds trust. Instead, it is an act that can occur as a result of already-built trust. Knowing that your partner will be there for you if sex results in a pregnancy, and knowing that your partner is not exposing you to a sexually transmitted infection, are what enables you to trust them with the act of bareback sex. See how that works? Trust is earned.

Partner: “Just this one time.”
You: “We’ve got all these condoms/dams. Let’s do it more than once!”
“Once is one too much for me.”

Being prepared with a variety of condoms/dams will be a great help. It is everyone’s personal responsibility to take care of their own health. Don’t assume one partner will be prepared, unless you have talked and made this arrangement with them.

It’s best to prepare with a variety of shapes, textures and flavors, latex and non-latex, because you want to find barriers that suit both you and your partner best. Plus experimenting adds a whole new dynamic to play. There are variety sample packs, like the one’s curated by Lucky Bloke, that can help you on your safer sex discovery.

condom-monologuesCONDOM MONOLOGUES SexEd, Activism, Storytelling and More… Condom Monologues dispel harmful myths about safe sex and sexual stereotypes that permeate our ways of understanding what is “healthy sexuality”. They accomplish this through sex-positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality that affirm the diversity of people- genders, sexualities, kinks and relationships. Find them on twitter @CondomMonologue

Scarleteen’s: Condom User Manual

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Condoms have a lot of advantages. They are the most effective form of protection against many STIs. They are the only method the protects against both STIs and pregnancy. They are affordable and accessible. Also, condoms are one of the only birth control methods in which both partners can share responsibility.

While using a condom is easy once you get the hang of it, the first few times can be a bit tricky. Heather Corinna from Scarleteen is here with a helpful step-by-step guide to condom application as well as a ton of tips, tricks and valuable information to keep you safer sex savvy.

This Condom User Manual includes:

  • For people with penises, it can be helpful to practice condom application alone in a no-pressure environment.
  • Try out a couple of styles of condoms, multi-packs are great for finding what works for you.
  • Latex allergies should not keep you from condom use, there are several non-latex options available.
  • Lubrication is very important. Always use additional lube for pleasure AND safety.
  • Condoms are necessary for oral sex (both vaginal and anal).
  • Women should keep their own condoms on hand to be sure that they are protected. Don’t rely on partners.

Read the original article at Scarleteen.

BY HEATHER CORINNA | Scarleteen

condom2Using a condom is easier than it looks, but the first few times, it can be tricky, especially if you’re nervous about knowing how to use one, or have never even opened one before. It’s important to know how to use condoms like a pro, to assure that they work to help prevent unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or both, and because you want them to feel as good as possible for both partners. No matter what your gender is, or what your partner’s gender is, if one of you has a penis (or you both use a toy), knowing how to use a condom properly can make you safer and can make a big difference in your relationship.

Do yourself a favor — if you’re the person whose body part or toy a condom is going on, try it at home by yourself first, without the pressure of being watched, without worrying about losing an erection, or without the uncomfortable feeling that you’re being graded on your condom skills. You or a partner can also practice on a banana (silly, we know: but hey, it works!) with the same condom until you get it right. Either or both of you can put the condom on when the time is right, so it’s good for everyone to know how.

Condom use is just like tying your shoes: tying them all the time may be a bother sometimes, but if you don’t do it, you’ll trip and fall on your face. The consequences here can be far worse. A few STIs are incurable, and once you have them can create some health issues you may need to deal with for your whole life. A couple of them can shorten that life, and all of this also goes for your partners (and their partners, and their partners…). All of them can impact your health and the public health and cost you time, energy and money to deal with. If you’re in a relationship with an opposite sex partner, and condoms are your only method of reliable birth control, I don’t need to tell you why they’re important, even when you’re not the one who can wind up pregnant. One fantastic thing about condoms is that they are one of the only methods where both partners can share responsibility when it comes to birth control. They also make an excellent backup when using other methods. So, here’s how to do it right.

The Basics:

Copyright of Scarleteen. Re-published with permission.

Copyright of Scarleteen. Re-published with permission.

1) Use a good quality condom that is new, and well before the expiry date. Every condom has an expiration date on the package, so just take a look at it before you open one. be sure you’re also using a condom that hasn’t been kept anywhere where it can get worn or too warm or cold (it isn’t a good idea to keep them in your car, wallet or pocket for that reason).

When you first buy condoms, see if you can get a few different brands and styles for yourself. It can take some trial and error to find the kind that best fit you and feel best, so getting assortment packs, or a few small boxes of a couple different kinds is a good idea.

2) Open the condom wrapper carefully with your fingers, and roll it out a little so that the edge is rolled on the outside of the condom. That rolled-up edge needs to be on the outside, facing up, or the condom won’t roll down right. Put a few drops of water-based lube (such as Astroglide, KY Liquid or Liquid Silk) inside the tip of the condom: that not only helps with getting it on, it makes condoms feel a lot better during use. Only put a condom on AFTER there is a partial or full erection (after the penis has “gotten hard”).

3) Squeeze the tip of the condom with your fingertips to leave some extra space in the tip, and roll the rest down the length of the penis, while still pinching the top. The rim of the condom should be as close to the base of the penis as possible. When you’re down to the base, run your fingers from the tip all the way down to press out any air bubbles: this helps keep condoms from breaking.

4) Put some more latex-safe lube–lube that doesn’t contain any kind of oil–on the outside of the condom, and you’re good to go. While you are using the condom, neither you nor your partner need to hold onto its base: condoms are designed for hands-free use.

5) After ejaculation (or not, but you’re finished having genital sex — before you withdraw — hold the base of the condom (the rolled-up part) with your hand. If you withdraw without holding the base, the condom could slip off.

Keep your hand there while you withdraw, and until the penis is all the way out of the vagina, anus or mouth. Pull it off with that same hand on the rim of the condom and your other hand by the tip. Pulling it off by the tip alone not only makes a big mess, you could drip all over yourself what you just worked so hard to keep out. Tie a knot near the base of the condom.

6) Throw the condom away in the rubbish bin – NEVER reuse condoms. And please don’t just toss them outside a car or in a park: not only is that just plain gross and uncouth, it’s unhealthy for the rest of us. (Plus, that also means that now and then, as happened to me when I used to teach Kindergarten, some poor teacher winds up with some little kid finding one, waving it all over everyone and everything, and then said teacher having to quickly come up with a very good story about what exactly the “slobbery balloon” is, knowing her wee ones have just been exposed to gawd knows what.)

Never put two condoms on at once to try and be “extra safe”. Both of them will most likely break due to extra friction, and it just doesn’t work or feel very nice for the wearer. One condom, used properly, is as safe as it gets.

If that isn’t safe enough for you, don’t have sex yet where you need one — stick to outercourse — or, if it’s about birth control worries, back up condoms with a second method.

Some extra tips:

• You or a partner being allergic or sensitive to latex does NOT mean you can’t use condoms. It just means you need to use condoms made out of another material. The female condom is nonlatex, and there are a couple brands of male condoms (like Avanti or SKYN) which are also not made out of latex, but which provide just as much protection for you and yours. “Lambskin” condoms, while nonlatex, don’t provide protection against STIs, so those aren’t the best choice.

• If you are uncircumcised, gently push your foreskin back — only to the point where it’s comfortable — while you’re putting the condom on. When the condom is unrolled about 1/3 the way down the shaft, with one hand pull the foreskin together with the unrolled part of the condom upward while with the other hand unroll the condom to the base of the penis. That way, the condom will allow the foreskin to move as it should. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is — just practice a few times first and you’ll get the hang of it.

• Lubrication is really important. Let me say it again: lubrication is REALLY important.Condoms have a high rate of success, but that rate drops when they aren’t used properly, and one of the easiest ways to break a condom is by letting it get dried out. Buy some lubricant when you buy condoms. Not only will it help them work better, well-lubricated sex is generally more enjoyable sex for both you and your partner. Even if a person who has a vulva is plenty wet on their own, our own lubrication doesn’t tend to work as well (or last as long) with condoms as the stuff made for condom use does. Even when a condom is already lubricated, it’s a pretty stingy amount of lube. Do NOT use butter, oil, body lotion, Vaseline or ANY lubricant other than lubricants intended for use with condoms. If you could buy it in a store aisle where food is displayed, it isn’t the right kind of lube.

• Condoms don’t have to be a pain. Don’t try and rationalize your way out of using one, or put up with a partner who does: you’ll both need to get used to using them for a good part of your life, and even if one partner lets you get away with it, you can be sure another one won’t. Bad attitudes about condoms also tend to form a self-fulfilling prophecy, making them seem like more of a drag than they are.

Condoms keep both you and your partner safe. They’re one of the least intrusive kinds of birth control there is for people of all genders when it comes to sexual side effects. And when you don’t have to worry about getting diseases or getting pregnant, sex is a lot more fun. Being a partner who steps up to the plate and just puts on a condom, without a partner having to beg, cajole, nag or argue, also shows a level of maturity and care most folks are looking for in someone they sleep with. Once you get used to using condoms, it’s a total no-brainer, and when you’re using good condoms properly, they really don’t make a huge difference with sensation.

• You should also wear a condom during oral sex just as much as during vaginal or anal sex, especially with new partners. Most STIs are transmitted through bodily fluids and mucus membranes… both of which exist in and on your genitals and your mouth. While there are more STIs transmitted via direct genital contact, and the risks are higher with vaginal or anal intercourse than with oral sex, there are plenty which can be transmitted orally.

• If you’re a woman who sleeps with women and you use sex toys together which cannot be sterilized through boiling, you’ll want to use condoms every time to cover those toys. While lesbian women have far lower risks of STIs, BV–bacterial vaginosis–in particular gets passed around a lot between women, and if you’re sharing toys, that’s an easy way that can happen. Keeping the toys clean, or covering them if they can’t be cleaned to the point where all germs are killed, keeps everyone safe and healthy.

• Not only do thinner condoms feel better, but because they cause less friction they’re also less likely to break. Yippee! Remember that you don’t have to stick to old-style, plain condoms. The thinner condoms, or those with textures, are just as safe as the plain ones, and many people enjoy the feeling of newer styles better. Want to read about the different styles of condoms to find out what might be just right for you? Check it out!

• When it comes to condoms, don’t scrimp. If you can’t afford them at all, check out your local Planned Parenthood, other sexual health clinics or even community centers or school nurse’s offices. They often give them out for free. And if you find when you go to use a condom you have that it’s broken, or was already opened, or has some other flaw, don’t gamble. Either get a new condom that IS in perfect shape, or if you only have that one, nix sex that requires condom use until you get working condoms.

• Hey, Women! Do yourself and your partners a favor by having your own stock of condoms: don’t be passive and rely on the guys to get them or always have them around. Condom sales studies show that the majority of the time, condoms are purchased by men, and we often counsel folks here through pregnancy scares because two people found they both were relying on the other to be in charge of condoms, and neither were prepared. If women and men alike take charge when it comes to having condoms around, it not only helps prevent finding yourself in a precarious situation, it also empowers both to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex together, which makes not only for better sex and relationships, but for feeling better about sex and shared, equitable responsibility.

heatherHEATHER CORINNA is an activist, artist, author and the director of Scarleteen, the inclusive online resource for teen and young adult sex education and information. She is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and was a contributor to the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She’s received the The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism (2007), The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region’s, Public Service Award (2009), the Our Bodies, Ourselves’ Women’s Health Heroes Award (2009), The Joan Helmich Educator of the Year Award (2012), and The Woodhull Foundation’s Vicki Award(2013).

scarleteenSCARLETEEN is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through the majority of its tenure.
Find Scarleteen on twitter @Scarleteen