; "Men Need Better Fitting Condoms"

This article from BBC points out on of my pet peeves. And highlights what I think is lacking in sex education. My two sons were fortunate to go through a school system that provided comprehensive sex ed, however, their education was not as comprehensive as it should have been. When it came time to talk about birth control it was condoms, condoms, condoms and not much else. Don't get me wrong I am not against teaching kids about condoms, providing condoms, etc but condoms aren't magic - they must be used properly to be effective. And, back in the day, when I was in college (mid-70s) and went to the clinic to get birth control the message was that condoms weren't enough, they strongly encouraged us to use another method in addition to condoms because (duh) two methods are better than one.

My kids did not get this message in their sex ed classes. Even worse, they were given very little information on how to use a condom properly. When I asked them if they'd been given a demo (with a vegetable perhaps) they did not remember (now, they could have been not paying attention). When I asked them if they knew that condoms can break or fall of during intercourse, especially with sexually inexperienced kids they did not know this. When I asked them if they knew that condoms could break if the women is no adequately lubricated - they did not know this. So, even with so-called comprehensive sex ed kids aren't getting a whole lot of the info they need to have healthy sexual relationships. Luckily, I had this talk before they became sexually active and they are indeed using two methods of birth control when they have sex.

I know the safe sex message is an absolutely important one (in my day we did not know about HIV) but I think the kids need the much more info than they get. Think about it, if a condom breaks during heterosexual intercourse it is no longer safe sex and the couple faces both the STD and the pregnancy risk. If a condom breaks during homosexual sex - again, no longer safe sex and the couple faces the risk of STDs. Kids really need complete info - not as a scare tactic but as way to keep them safe and healthy! We do not let our kids get behind the wheel of a car until we are sure that they know everything it takes to be a safe driver, why do we not do the same when it comes to sex.

Especially, since, as reported in the article:"condom use is increasing in popularity, now rivalling the Pill as a form of contraception, according to a recent poll." If that means that people are foregoing the pill and using condoms only, that is not good.

Now, having said all this I do think that one of the things that prevents even those school systems that provide comprehensive sex ed from really getting into the nitty, gritty and really teaching kids about sex is the kooks from the anti-sex, abstinence only crowd. (I also think that there is a lack of teachers who are properly trained to do this - usually its the gym teacher or lacrosse coach.) If a school tried to teach a truly comprehensive sex ed curriculum those folks would go ballistic!

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Comment by Persephone Illinois on February 17, 2010 at 11:18am
I think the reason condoms are still pushed so avidly by parents and teachers is because of the double standard society has when it comes to girls and sexuality. For a fifteen year old boy to buy a condom, or to ask for a freebie at the local clinic, there's something of a glory surrounding it. He's becoming a real man, he's being responsible. For a fifteen year old girl to be prescribed the oral contraceptive, people tend to react rather strangely. The doctor prescribing, or the parent allowing it, is 'encouraging' her to have sex. The same goes for adults. a man having condoms in his wallet is fine; a woman having them in her purse is considered easy.

Of course, this all stems from the religious belief that a woman's virginity is sacred in some way, and that a woman who takes control of her sexuality is a whore. Ah, religion, is there anything it can't ruin?
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on February 16, 2010 at 9:37am
I have always practiced safe sex - from the age of fifteen when I started (1978). In that time I had one condom break and it resulted in a pregnancy, an abortion, and the loss of my relationship (mostly because she ended it despite my respect for her right to decide and my commitment to answer whatever consequences ensued.) In retrospect (even at the time) it became clear that she had had some kind of traumatic, sexually related experience before we met and 'needed' me out of the picture to deal with it. But that was a terrible time in my life as I had also just found out that my best friend was infected with full blown AIDs and, subsequently died in under a month.

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