Let's Get Naked

“When it comes to condoms, put two on” -Asher Roth “I Love College”


Hello sexy readers! This week, I was going to do a little rant about songs that send horrible messages about sex and/or relationships. But I got distracted by my ire over one particular little gem from a few years back. As much as I’d love to rant about Bruno Mars (Seriously, his songs are like mini PSAs to never date him unless you want to be in some sort of abusive relationship... Listen closely to “Grenade” or “It Will Rain” or “Just the Way You Are” some time, and please explain to me how you could tolerate a relationship with that passive-aggressive crooner...But I said I wouldn’t rant about this, so I will stop), I think there’s a more productive conversation about condom usage to be mined out of Mr. Roth’s song.

I know, I know...Asher Roth’s mindless list of reasons he loves college is too easy a target. Of course it’s inane, of course nobody is hanging onto every word of the lyrics for advice.

But that doesn’t mean that we should just let it perpetuate this sort of dangerous condom-based myth. In the interest of counteracting the miseducation rampant in today’s music (Does the fact that I frequently shake my head and mumble “Kids these days...” mean I’m old?), I’d like to debunk a couple of condom-based myths. You’re welcome.

MYTH 1: “Double-bagging” (AKA taking Asher Roth’s horrible advice and wearing two condoms) is a good idea

I’m no scientist, but I know a thing or two about friction. And “double-bagging” creates friction between the two condoms, making both of them more likely to tear. That’s right, your attempt to be extra-safe by putting two barriers between yourself and your penetrative buddy will likely leave you with no barriers at all. And some ripped latex floating around. Not sexy.

MYTH 2: Since most sexually active females are on the pill, there’s no need to wear condoms

I’m disturbed by how frequently heterosexual men tend to have this mindset about what it means to have protected sex. You’re not just protecting the female from getting pregnant, young men, you’re also protecting yourself from getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection, not slinky testosterone impregnation in case you were confused). Or her from getting one of your STIs. It’s actually more likely for men to unknowingly give women STIs than the other way around, particularly since this whole aversion to condoms thing has been going on for a while. Also, men are less likely to show symptoms for many STIs, and when you go in to get tested for STIs

the really contagious and incurable things (like genital herpes) aren’t part of the standard arsenal of tests they run. Why would you assume that your female partner has been more careful with her previous partners than you’re trying to get her to be with you now? I know the risk of unwanted pregnancy isn’t as immediately scary for male-bodied individuals as it is for us female-bodied individuals (Pregnancy doesn’t happen in a man’s abdomen, after all...), but pregnancy isn’t the only thing condoms protect against. I get that wearing a latex sperm-catcher over your most sensitive of manly appendages can be annoying. Really, I do. But unless and until you’re positive she’s taking her hormonal birth control correctly (You’d be surprised how common it is for young women to forget to take that tiny pill at the same time every day), and you’ve both been tested (thoroughly!) for STIs, it’s worth the extra couple of seconds to roll that protective barrier over yourself.

MYTH 3: Condoms are foolproof ways to avoid pregnancy and STIs

Not to be an alarmist, but the barrier protection method is not fool-proof. The only foolproof method is abstinence, really. Many people don’t use condoms correctly (not leaving room at the tip, not making sure it doesn’t have air bubbles

in it when it’s rolled onto the penis, not taking it off carefully right after ejaculation, not noticing it’s broken or expired before putting it on, using it with an oil-based lubricant which can degrade it or without lubricant which can result in tearing, reusing a condom, trying to put it on inside-out and then re-using the precum- contaminated condom anyway...). But even if you do follow proper condom protocol, you can still get plenty of things (including pregnant) having condom-protected sex. Herpes, for instance. Also, the human papilloma virus. Condoms are the best and only method we have for reducing the risk of spreading these viruses through sexual contact, but you shouldn’t think that just having a condom present absolves you of any responsibility to be smart and safe about your sex life. Get tested, everybody.

Any more myths? I’m all in a huff about the double-bagging thing... still. And Bruno Mars. I bet Bruno Mars would tell a new sexual partner that he loved her enough to wear two condoms, and go on to cry about how he thought he should get to wear none because he’d proved his love. And it would probably be catchy as all get-out. Just like herpes.