"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.
The truth is that condoms can indeed (absolutely and totally) suck. I won't begin to argue. I agree wholeheartedly.
But if this is the stance you cling to like a sinking ship, you're absolutely using the wrong condom.
A lot of guys are apparently so invested in disliking condoms that they're simply unwilling to broaden their perspective -- perhaps for fear of being proven wrong -- by finding a condom they love.
What guy isn't up for a little experimentation in the bedroom? Apparently, the line was previously drawn at condom test drives.
Through our own extensive global condom reviews and studies, we know for a fact that not all couples hate condoms. In fact, quite a few couples like them -- even before taking part in one of our international initiatives, which have resulted in 97% of participants finding a condom they love.
With percentages like that, condoms can't universally suck. So why would you want them to?
We've found that when men dislike condoms it is because they are:
1. Wearing the wrong size condom (yes, here is how you find out your condom size)
2. Relying solely on free or cheap condoms
3. Honestly clueless about how to find the right condom for them (not to mention
Guess what? Under those assumptions, you're totally right. Poorly chosen condoms can only be a let down of craptastic proportions.
But that's no excuse for ignorance. The fact is, there are many pleasurable, premium condoms on the market. And chances are, if you're in the League of Condom Haters, you haven't tried any of them. Luckily, it's not too late to save your skin -- and self -- from a sexually transmitted disease.
So, unless an STI is on your holiday shopping list this year, it might be time to shift away from negative thinking surrounding condoms.
So, where do you start?
1. When you're with a new partner demand they use a condom.
No guy is worth turning 25, 35... or 50 only to learn you've caught a STI. Lucky
for us, the majority of guys would rather have sex with a condom than not
at all. But sometimes you do have to take a stand.
2. Have your own condoms. Respect your body, health, and future.
And if you are dating/sleeping more than one person, get yourself a condom
sampler with a variety of condom sizes.
3. Make sure your partner is wearing the right size condom.
(Read this: How do I find out my partner's condom size?)
4. Explore condoms in your partner's size. It is actually a lot of fun.
There is no need to buy an entire box. You can buy single condoms or
5. Use lube. Try it just once and it will improve your life with condoms
forever. Just like condoms, you can buy individual packets and lube
samplers before investing in a bottle you might not like.
It may take an army of strong, sexually savvy women to turn the tide on STIs, but guess what: we're too smart not to turn it. And with the right condoms, safer sex will be hotter than ever.
We'll know we've made progress when the next Miley Cyrus isn't licking construction equipment, but instead opts for her favorite flavored prophylactic.
Melissa White is CEO and founder of Lucky Bloke: Global Condom Experts & International Purveyors of Superior Condoms –- who recently launched the theCondomReview.com, a website with straightforward reviews and opinions on every brand of condom worth using, based on our ongoing independent global condom and lube reviews.
Recognizing widespread condom myths and aiming to empower couples to enjoy more satisfying experiences in safer sex, Melissa founded Lucky Bloke to make it easier for couples to find condoms they love to use, by providing an accessible collection of the best performing and most pleasurable products. Lucky Bloke offers guidance and education on condom sizing and fit, along with a thoughtfully curated assortment of strictly superior condoms and lube from around the world.