"I can't feel anything, it's like a paper bag."
"I'm too huge for condoms -- they always break."
"Other girls never make me use them."
It might be understandable if these excuses were coming out of the mouths of teenagers, but as most sexually active women know, you're just as likely to hear them coming out of the mouth of most any professional, college graduate and on any first, second or third date.
No matter how high the stakes, most adult attitudes surrounding safer sex are formed (and stuck) back in high school.
If you've been reading the latest mainstream articles about the growing popularity of the 'pull-out method' with the well-educated, or (who could miss) the fervor over the sexualized escapades of Miley Cyrus dominating media, you probably already get my point.
It doesn't take a genius to point out that we, collectively, are in a lot of danger. Especially when you begin counting the number of sexual partners we've each had individually... and then add in the number of sexual partners we're likely to have over the next decade. Oh, and then multiply it with the partners our partners have had.
So, we've heard sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are aggressive and on the dramatic rise (*yawn*). But, you might wake up when you hear that experts predict that soon, 1 out of 2 sexually active people have or will have a STI (so, on average, that's you or your future partner). And did you know that most people who have one feel healthy at first, maybe even for a quite a long time, and don't know they're infected? What kind of epidemic is it going to take to radically shift our collective thinking towards practicing protected sex?
When I'm at a cocktail party and 30, 40, 50-year-old men hear that I'm the CEO of Lucky Bloke (a purveyor of better condoms from around the world), the next thing to inevitably come out of their mouths, tinged with pride and bravado, is how they never wear condoms and how they excel at talking their way out of having to use them.
Stay classy, gents.
When you consider that in the last decade, AIDS cases in women over 50 are reported to have tripled (while heterosexual transmission rates in this age group have increased over 100%), you don't have to wonder what is on the horizon for those even more sexually active in their 30s and 40s.
Now, couple this with women confiding (at these same cocktail parties) that they feel slut-shamed if they carry their own condoms. They also share that invariably, when they are ready to have sex with someone new, these grown men arrive condom-less. In the best cases, they might manage a sheepish inquiry as to whether or not the women have condoms.
How do they get away with it? Well, because women let them.
Because we want them to like us.
Because their ubiquitous excuse is condoms suck.
Sadly, this concept is so pervasive that most anti-condom-users refuse to change their convictions. And most of us simply aren't prepared -- or lack the information and resolve -- to address that.