Originally appeared on Mamamia.com. Republished here with permission.
All the women I know like condoms. They buy a box at the supermarket; they keep them conveniently stashed in a bedside table. If they’re in bed with a guy, they politely ask him to wear a condom before anything, uh, gets put anywhere.
Know what I’m talking about?
Let me paint a picture for you.
Girl meets boy at a party, girl and boy have a few drinks, boy comes home with girl, clothes come off, “entry” is attempted…and then the girl is all “Hey, shouldn’t we use a condom?” Boy, somewhat reluctantly but not entirely surprised, puts one on. Entry: recommenced.
Stop and let that sink in:
The women ask. Not always, but nearly always.
But why should women have to ask? Why is it so rarely the guy who says “Let me just grab a condom?”
It’s as if it’s the guy’s job to try and get as far as possible without one, only stopping when the girl says no. As if men aren’t affected by the consequences of unprotected sex, just like women.
There’s a great scene in the first season of HBO’s Girls where Adam admits to Hannah that “girls never ask me to use condoms.” Hannah, shocked—as she herself ALWAYS uses condoms—asks “What do you do?” to which Adam replies “I do what I’m told” (and starts making thrusting movements).
Writer Emily McCombs has written about this experience for XO Jane. In her piece, Emily talks about the fact that condoms haven’t always been present in her sexual encounters; in fact, they’ve often been completely absent. Emily used to blame herself for this, wondering why she couldn’t just “get it together” or what was wrong with her that she would repeatedly make the same mistake. Then she realized it wasn’t all her fault.
I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve been with who even volunteered to put on a condom. Most at least attempted to enter me without one, and while I usually managed to say “No,” or “We should get a condom,” they’d respond with “Shhhh,” or “Just for a minute,” or worse, wordlessly carry on like I’d never said anything.
I hear you, Emily.
Of course there are exceptions, but I’m continually astonished by the completely laissez-faire attitude toward contraception by men in their 20s.
It’s perplexing why men seem to care so little about condoms when HELLO, THEY ARE THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT STIs. And STIs are embarrassing and painful. Some, like herpes, have no cure. Others, like chlamydia, have no symptoms and if undetected can cause infertility. INFERTILITY, people. These concerns are not the sole domain of women!
I’ve been trying to figure out why this is and using an extremely scientific method of consulting my male friends (all guys in their 20s) I present to you:
“Why Men Don’t Use Condoms and Why Their Reasons Are Stupid”
1. Men don’t have as much to lose as women if they don’t use a condom, because they can’t get pregnant.
Yes, sure, men can’t get pregnant, but that doesn’t mean getting someone else pregnant won’t have a huge impact of their lives.
2. Guys believe girls won’t have an STI as they’re vouching on the fact their partner hasn’t had a lot of sexual partners.
It’s 2013. Your female partner may have had 10 times the amount of partners you’ve had. FACT: You can’t tell how many people someone has slept with because of how they look, how they speak, or how educated they are.
3. All that testosterone rushing through their bodies renders them incapable of making a rational decision.
I don’t even need to debunk this one because “testosterone” is the weakest excuse ever. It’s not even an excuse.
I can completely understand why condoms are just sort of forgotten from time to time. Yes, they can be awkward. You don’t want to feel like the fun police. Things are getting hot and heavy and stopping to put one can kind of kill the spontaneity, no one is denying that. They’re not perfect, but they’re the best we’ve got.
Myvawny Costelloe is in her final year of a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she also majors in Gender Studies. Find her on Twitter at @myvawny.