Category Archives: Safer Sex

Free condom samples

Image from UndercoverCondoms.com

Image from UndercoverCondoms.com

Finding a great condom is best done through trial & error. But that can get expensive. Here, we offer sources to ease those test runs- Free Condom Offer Links. The internet has bred so much competition among condom manufacturers, thus leading to many suppliers offering free condom sample packs in the hope that you will come back for more.

Flavors, sizes, shapes- you might as well try them all, so here is a list of places in North America that we found to get free condoms.

Lucky Bloke:

 

TheyFit Condoms (UK)
Follow them on twitter @TheyFitCondoms and check out their website for latest offers.

Beyond Seven:
They ask you to fill out a survey first, but it is a totally free sample of a condom in their range. Click here to go to their form.

Relax Condoms
I think these are only available in Canada as they are Licensed by Health Canada. Anyway, they will send you a completely free sample. Click here for more.

NYC Condom
Residents of NYC can get free male and female condoms and lubricants by visiting various establishments in the city or calling 311. Organizations can order online here.

Condom USA
They offer a range of Durex and Japanese condom 10 packs for free, but you have to pay for delivery, unless you order other stuff with them. Delivery is typically around $5, which is still cheaper than buying a 10 pack from the pharmacy. Click here.

Often you can also get free condoms at Planned Parenthood. See their website for more details.

This list is by all means not a full comprehensive list and we will be looking at expanding it whenever we find a new way to get condoms for free.

Please let us know of any free condom programs, or if any of the links above no longer work.

Thanks for reading.

How Many Times Can You Change A Condom To Latex Free?

Well, if you are Durex Avanti you can be transformed at least three times.

As the world’s most widely distributed condom brand, Durex have a lot of strings to their pleasure bow: offering consumers an abundance of various shapes, textures, lubes and sex accessories to choose from. When it comes to latex free options, however, the company puts the onus on just one condom, yet even this single choice is not without confusion. Durex Avanti, previously the name of their latex-free rubber, is in fact a latex condom. The non-latex option has been recently rebranded Avanti Bare Real Feel™. In fact, this latex-free option has been through a few rebranding rotations. DurexNonLatexArticle

In 2008, it was replaced from being made of polyurethane to synthetic polyisoprene. Polyurethane is a type of soft plastic; polyisoprene is the latest latex-free technology, chemically similar to rubber latex but without the proteins that cause allergic reactions (see our article about the differences). In Europe, the product’s current name is simply, and explicitly, “Latex Free”. The North America version, however, is not so straight forward.

Michael Gesek, from Durex Consumer Relations Canada, explained to Condom Monologues, that when multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser took over Durex in 2011 they lost supply of the materials to make Avanti Bare and thus it was discontinued in North America. Recently the polyisoprene product was secured again and is renamed Avanti Bare Real Feel. Besides the (longer) new name, nothing is different about this new polyisoprene rubber. It’s now rolling out on store shelves.

However, few consumers know that Durex did not offer latex-free condoms for a period in the midst of company turn over. In fact, Avanti Bare went from being made of polyisoprene to becoming just a standard latex condom. Yet despite this very dramatic product change, Durex kept the name and package similar to the latex free version- as if condom shopping isn’t confusing already!

As expressed by Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, this move was irresponsible and “a major packaging fail!” In response, Lucky Bloke listed a consumer warning on their site. It’s unclear what Durex’s strategy was for informing the public about this change. One may assume that when Durex lost supply of the polyisoprene condom, they may have sent a notice to selective distributors with the expectation that sellers would inform consumers. To the best of her knowledge, Melissa White does not recall any advanced warning from Durex.

So, please be aware that Durex does offer a latex-free condom now, just make sure not to pick up the former Avanti Bare and read packaging extra carefully!

This article is meant to clear up confusion around Durex’s non-latex options. We include a link to our affiliates at Lucky Bloke which may earn us a small commission.

STI vs STD: Is it important?

The term “STD” (sexually transmitted disease) is increasingly replaced by “STI” (sexually transmitted infections). Is this change (which started as early as the late 1990s) a matter of political correctness? An effort to reduce stigma affiliated with disease? Or are there real distinctions between infection and disease, hence adopting a more medically accurate term?

The correct answer: all of the above.

In the days before "STDs" there was only "venereal disease", and sex workers were the culprits. Image from the DailyMail.co.uk

In the days before “STDs” there was only “venereal diseases”, and sex workers were the culprits. Image from the DailyMail.co.uk

Medical Jargon

Usage can be confusing because the medical distinctions between infection, illness, disorder and disease often overlap. In general, however, “infection” is only considered an illness or disease when symptoms occur. Many sexually transmitted bacteria and viruses are contagious without causing symptoms (or may have asymptomatic periods). Just a handful of these include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes simplex, HPV, hepatitis and HIV.

Most STIs are treatable. Some strands of HPV can be wiped out by the immune system alone (but not always). But some STIs are not curable, like herpes and HIV (as of today). Contrary to popular confusion, it is not correct to differentiate STIs as “curable” and STDs as “incurable”.

The major distinction is that all STDs are caused by infections. However, not all infections develop into illness or disease. Also, a disease is always associated with symptoms; an infection is not so consistent.

Does this mean it’s wrong to use “STD” in the twenty first century? I would argue no. In many instances, STI and STD are used interchangeably and refer to the same thing.

Why I Say “STI”

I think it boils down to semantics and meaning. Some people feel that dropping the word “disease” only reinforces stigma. Why not just face the fear head on? The more we speak of “disease” the more normalized it becomes, right? Well, not necessarily. “STD” eventually replaced the more euphemistic term “venereal disease” by the 1980s, yet stigma firmly remains.

Personally, I prefer the term STI for two reasons. Firstly, “STI” is a broader term thus more inclusive. Secondly, using the term STI helps raise awareness that physical symptoms are not a reliable way to determine your status. A person can be infected with no symptoms and pass on the infection to others without having a disease.

Serious point here: According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people who are living with HIV today in the United States do not know their status (CDC 2013). In fact, people who do not experience symptoms and/or are not tested are the ones most likely to pass on infection to others. There are serious consequences when STIs are left unknown and untreated. It increases the risk of infection for other STIs and disease. In short, ignorance (RE: stigma) of getting tested and assuming you won’t get an STI is the greatest cause of infection.

Resources: Here are just a few smart spaces we recommend to learn more about STIs and prevention, stigma and facts. Visit Planned ParenthoodThe STD Project, the SexEd Library, the NMAC (National Minority AIDS Council), the Guttmacher Institute, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

The fabulous sex educator, Andrea Renae (@theandrearenae), recommends the Judgement Free Health Care Providers directory, which is inclusive of LGBT and Queer people, Asexuals, Demisexuals, Polyamorous relationships, sex workers and people living with HIV. There is also the safer sex video Pleasure Rush initiative (NSFW) by GALAEI.

Ask questions on the InformedAboutSex forum.

Specifically for teens and young adults: Scarleteen, GYT (GetYourSelfTested) and Laci Green.

Understanding Consent

Follow @Condommonologue and @Radsexpdx

To share this poster, simply copy the HTML embed code below and paste into your blog post, tumblr or anywhere else that uses html:

Let us know how and where you share the poster and we’ll swing by.

This poster is inspired by one of the most progressive pieces on consent yet. “The Consent Post” by Elena Kate exposes the inherent problems of the “No means No” approach and re-frames consent as “Yes means Yes”. What’s more, she goes beyond simple definitions by acknowledging nuances and complexity. It is contrary to what most sex education programs teach (if consent is mentioned at all!); consent is not a single uniform act of permission. Elena writes that consent is an on-going, “cooperative investigation of options, and a careful, considerate selection that is approved and preferred by all parties involved”.

What do you think?

Check out more illustrations by the Condom Monologues collective!

Condom Sizing

The Importance and How-To of Condom Sizing

If you don’t pay attention to condom size, the little rubber can be rendered useless and result in the spread of infection or pregnancy. Slippage during use is very common because many guys are putting on the wrong size.  A condom should fit snug and stay in place- but of course, not so sung that it is painful!  Condom size varies from brand to brand and also from texture to shape, so it also pays to test as many as you can over a period of time before you settle on one specific condom (if ever!).

How do you work out condom sizing?

The first thing you need to work out is your penis size. From there you have a definite size guideline to buy condoms and you reduce the risk of wasting money.

Published with permission from thebadchemicals.com

Published with permission from thebadchemicals.com

How do I measure my penis?

Measuring your penis is easy but you have to do it right.  You need either a soft measuring tape or a piece of string and a ruler to measure the string against. First you need to measure the length of your ERECT penis. Put the measuring tape or string at the very base of your penis and measure up to the very tip making sure it’s central and straight. Jot that length down.

Then you need the circumference. This is very important as done by measuring all the way around your penis at the mid-point of the shaft. At this stage, you could also measure the circumference at the head (the widest part).

Condom Size Guidelines

Now to get the correct size you can follow these general guidelines. To understand what condom width fits, divide your penis circumference by 2.25. How did we get this number? This post explains our formula and research.

According to a recent study by the Kinsey Institute, most male condoms in North America are made to fit the “average” guy who measures 5.57″ long and 4.8″ girth. Thus, size “regular” condoms tend to be 7.5″ long and 2.0-2.2 base width. Base width is the condom lying flat.  It is not the circumference.

Generally, if you measure less than 4.8 inches in girth, go with snugger fit condoms.  If you are thicker than 5.2 inches go with larger condoms.  For more suggestions and details, for example on shape and material, go to our post titled What Condom Size Am I? (can you tell we get this question a lot?).

You can also head over to our Condom Calculator and view the dimensions of over 100 condoms.  We also have an ill-fitting solutions chart that offers suggestions to specific condom fit problems. Finally, for guidelines converting penis girth to proper condom width, view the table in this post.

Talking Sex With (teen) Siblings

Reflecting on their own experiences, authors Ams and Lara discuss ways to allieviate awkwardness when talking to sibilings about sex.

First of all, for anyone with a sibling, a cousin, a close friend who you wish you could speak more openly about sexual health and pleasure with, we’d like to make clear that this article isn’t restricted to only siblings. However, we will be focusing on our own sibling experiences of sex education and empowerment.

As people with siblings (Ams has a twin sister; Lara is a middle child) both authors speak from personal experience when we say that even though we talked with our siblings about sex, there were still those weird moments. Like climbing into bed with your sister one night and pulling her vibrator out from under you. Princess and the pea made incredibly uncomfortable in both the physical and mental sense. Or when you innocently ask your older sister what a blow job is and she directs you to talk to dad about that instead.

But all this shouldn’t deter siblings from talking about sex or sharing experiences and questions. There are ways to convert awkwardness into positive dialogue.

Why Siblings?

So why are we focusing on discussions between siblings in the first place? One of our readers wrote in that she wanted to be able to talk constructively with her 15 year old sister about sex but was not sure how to begin a discussion without making both her sister and herself embarrassed or sound judgmental.

We do not recommend this approach to talking to sibilings about sex and sexuality.

We do not recommend this approach to talking to sibilings about sex and sexuality.

In close relationships, particularly with people around the same age, learning from one another’s experiences and being reflective together of common issues, fears, and pleasures is sometimes much more enjoyable than the kinds of sexual education classes offered to young adults. Not only this but it includes a kind of comradery that you don’t often receive at school or often from parents who may be supportive but would rather not know too many details of their children’s sexual activity.

Furthermore, talking to siblings about safe sex practices and healthy relationships shows that you care. It’s also a way to pick up on risky behavior (“But my girlfriend said she can’t afford to get tested”).

Bonus* If you have a sibling who identifies with the opposite sex from you, speaking with them is a great way to learn more about the way gender pressures people to flirt and perform sex differently.

Respect Boundaries and Trust

Now, sibling relations are complicated and multifaceted. Shared family experience can forge strong bonds of understanding of which no other relationship can match. Alternatively, unhealthy circumstances and family politics may breed painful relations. Not every brother or sister establishes a framework of sharing and support. So if you are concerned for your sibling but do not have a sharing and trusting relationship with him or her, that’s OK. There are still ways to initiate sex talk without crossing comfort zones.

Lara can speak to this issue from her own upbringing. She and her younger sister (7 years difference) are not close in the sense of knowing each other’s secrets, social circles, or crushes. They were brought up in separate households by different guardians and went to different schools. Both were exposed to different attitudes towards sex. In some ways, they are more like strangers to each other. Despite their physical and emotional distance, there is still that unexplainable sisterly love, and being older, Lara felt a need to look out for her younger sister’s well-being.

She explains, “Our particular relationship has boundaries of trust which make it uncomfortable to discuss emotional aspects of sex and sexuality or discuss specific sexual activities in detail. Nonetheless I wanted to make sure that my 13 year old sister knew how to be sexually safe and how to access safety tools on her own. To me, the bare fundamentals of sex education are 1) Understanding consent and being self-aware of emotional risks 2) Knowing about your body and what sexual acts put you at risk of certain STIs and pregnancy 3) Knowing safer sex methods and how to access barriers and contraceptives, and 4) Knowing how to get tested for STIs.

“I knew I could not have an in depth conversation with my sister about all four points. But I could recommend resources and keep the door open for future conversations. So my approach was to be matter-of-fact. I didn’t feel that beating around the bush would alleviate any awkwardness. In fact, using vague phrases like “Have you done it with him?” can convey feelings of embarrassment or stigma around sex. So I made a point to use frank language.

Talking Point: Ask About Their Sex Education

“Luckily for me as a sexuality scholar I talk about sex A LOT, so I knew the opportunity would inevitably arrive.  I did rehearse in my mind what I would say to my little sister because I think it’s better to be thoughtful and proactive rather than reactive. “One day over the phone I explained to her that I was writing an article about public school sex education. Then I asked her about the education she’s received and what she and her peers think about it. This opened the door to discuss the importance of knowing about your body and safer sex. Furthermore it allowed my sister the freedom to share because she was not pressured to necessarily state her opinions and questions, but was sharing under the guise of what other peers think and feel about sex. I was able to respond with statements like: ‘Oh, the teacher didn’t talk about oral sex or dry sex? That’s something I think is often overlooked in sex ed., but those acts do come with different risks and there are ways to protect yourself against those risks.’

“Throughout the conversation I carefully picked my words and consciously listened and validated what my sister was saying. In the end, I learned that she had a good grasp of what STIs were most prevalent and knew how to use condoms but never heard of sex dams. She was also curious about the diveristy of sexuality and I was able to offer her some really great online readings and videos to explore in her own privacy.

The point is, even if the relationship is not close or is limited by the degree of privacy each other can share, there are ways to work respectfully around those boundaries while offering advice and showing that you care. Another thing: sex talk does not have to be THE sex talk- a crucial, once-in- a-life event.  In reality, people’s sex education is ongoing and transforms as circumstances and age call for it. Ams’ relationship with her twin sister illustrates this.

Be Open and Non-Judgmental

The other thing about sibling relationships (and human relations in general) is that they are forever changing as we grow older. It has taken many years for author Ams to have an open relationship of sexual disclosure with her fraternal twin sister.

“I was the first of the two of us to become sexually active. My sister asked me questions and was fairly non judgmental but my experience wasn’t going to be the same as hers. In many ways, our sex talks seemed pretty commonplace mirroring many of discussions I had with peers. Things became more complex in later years when from time to time one of us would call the other crying about some sort of ‘mistake’ we had made.

“For example, I found one of my high school journals the other day. What I had written about myself seemed horribly abusive. I had called myself a ‘whore’ for kissing a boy at a party when I was single, and made it out like no boy would ever want me again because of that. My sister had a similar incident a few years later. She told me she thought she had cheated on her boyfriend at the time. She gave me all the details but all that stayed in my mind was that she had cheated, and so she was at fault. I was terribly non supportive and I actually went out of my way to call my sister and apologize to her years later.

“What I should have realized then was that it is not up to me to make any moral accusations about anyone including myself, especially when those accusations are based off of a social system that hates women’s sexuality and punishes us for it. Worse though, my sister had been blackout intoxicated the night she ‘cheated’ and we both came to the conclusion that she had been sexually assaulted. In her time of need, I had dismissed her story- and I’ll always have to live with that.

“Now a day’s both my sister and I try our best to call one another on preemptive judgments. We also are very helpful with each others birth control choices, sexual safety and pursuit of pleasure. I actually ended up buying my own vibrator after uncomfortably sleeping half the night on my sister’s. Great investment. She taught me that safe casual sex is nothing to be ashamed of for womyn. I hope I’ve taught her something too.”

Not Limited to Sibling Relations

This conversation shouldn’t just be about siblings though- nor should sexual advice from a sibling necessarily replace information garnered from other sources. No one is perfect. People faulter. And in today’s system and world, creating a sex positive, pleasure-oriented education system is still very hard work. Myths, stereotypes and harmful lies (#exposeVACPCs is one example) are all around us cutting us off from safe, confident and guilt free sex. That’s why a healthy, open relationship with someone you trust is so crucial. Here’s our round-up for what to keep in mind and how to initiate sex talk with your sibling, cousin, friend or anyone you care about.

Sex Talk Summary

1) Be fact-based and frank. This is really helpful but might be difficult if you feel shy or embarassed to say words like “anal”. Your own discomfort will show and make the discussion awkward for everyone. Thus, interconnected with the matter-of-fact approach is to…

2) Check in with your own attitudes towards sexuality. Why might you feel weird about saying “vagina” with your sibling?  Read Soraya Chemaly’s piece about how family attitudes towards sex are extremely influential. Obviously,we are partial to the “responsible sex is good” advice than the “scare them shitless” camp.

3) Be respectful and non-judgmental. Youth in particular are often condescended to and told that they are “too young and immature.” Don’t do this.  Approaching sex talk in a fact-based manner will help but it’s important to be accepting and welcoming. That includes actively listening to what the person is saying and validating their feelings. Respect also includes being realistic about the extent of trust already established by your relationship. Even if your relationship does not allow for sharing private experiences there are still ways to bring up sex and safety while respecting personal boundaries.

4) Inform– Share outside sources like the ones we offer below. This will help put the pressure off you and allow your sibling (or other) to explore the information privately and possibly take up the discussion with you later about specifics.

5) Be self-reflective. This allows for more nuanced understanding of each other and how one fits within greater social structures and norms.  Use your own experiences to breach a subject, or even a book or television show. Or, try asking about their sex education and what their peers think about the curriculum. Reciprocate by sharing what your sex ed was like and what you found helpful or wish you were taught in retrospect.

6) Write a letter or text message. This might be a good option to open the conversation if, say, you are worried about a romantic relationship the person is in but are still unsure when to approach her or him about it.

7) Always remember that just like you, your sibling deserves, happiness, pleasure, safety and freedom to be a sexual being- help create that safe space for them to grow in.

Sex Talk Resources

There are loads of awesome resources out there! Here are some important places to start and follow.

Laci Green Sex+. Armed with quirky cleverness and shameless rapport, Laci Green has been a major voice for youth against fears towards sexuality, abstinence-only sex education and slut/body-shaming. From challenging notions of virginity, to answering questions about foreskin, her YouTube channel is a trove of sex positve knowledge. A must see resource!

Scarleteen. A grassroots teen sex education site with indepth, comprehensive articles about all things sex and sexuality in a way that is relevant to people’s diversity.  It runs a bully-free Q&A message board and an SMS service where teens can annonomously ask questions and get help from qualitfied sex educators- all for free! In addition to all their advice articles, the site provides legal information about personal rights, access to health care, how to talk to physicians, and also help teens find local, in-person health services, LGBTQ, shelters and other youth-focused services.

Come As You Are. The only cooperatively run sex shop in the world is in Toronto! They run in-store sex workshops. Their site offers free printable pamphletes on lubes, condom, bdsm, bondage, caning- you name it, they have it!  They also provide guides to everything from swingers clubs to emergency numbers, shelters, and sexual health resources for sex and disability, HIV/AIDS, reproductive assistance, STI testing, sex workers’ support, LGBTQ communities and more. A great place to start is their sex info guide on how to choose and use sex toys.

Advocates for Youth. If you are interested social change from a public policy perspective, this is an organization that can overwhelm you with openly available research publications and development sector jargon. They run a giganitic online hub of sex education initiatives including youth activist movers and shakers, AmplifyYourVoice.org. Their site keeps tabs on what government officials are- and are not- doing to make sexuality education in the US positive, effective and non-discriminatory.

It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. Where complex, Judith Butler-like concepts of sex, sexuality and gender are broken down into simple, easy to read articles and infographics. Watch the site founder’s entertaining TedTalk on the complexities of gender.

Queering Sexed w/ Planned Parenthood Toronto. This project is aiming to build a sexual health resource specifically for LGBTQ youth who are systematically disadvantaged by public school sex education and medical practitioners at large. Watch online videos, read infographics, and get in touch with them for social support.

The STD Project. A website aimed at dismantling STDs stigma by raising awareness, listening to people’s stories, and increasing access to information. A really great resource for everyone to make more conscientious decisions.

The Body.com. This is not teen or youth specific but it is a trusted resource by medical experts in the field of HIV/AIDS. From social support to activism, this site is a good starting point for everyone to know about HIV/AIDS-related issues.  It offers up to date information about testing, transmission, treatment, serodiscordant couples (to name a few topics) which unforunately not many people (young and old) are knowledgeable. This site also publishes critical articles addressing the pertetuation of stigma.

Our Bodies Our Selves. One of the most important girls’ and women’s health sites in North America. This site promotes evidence-based information on female reproductive health and addresses the intersection of social, economic and political conditions that impact access and quality of health care.

Answer. One of the only online sex education resources that addresses issues specific to boys and men. Though it’s not all free, they do offer webseminars, online workshops and publish a youth-run sexuality magazine, Sex, Etc.   

Do you have any advice or resources to add to this?  How do you feel about talking to siblings about sexual health?

Have a Merry Masturbation!

What better way to summon the season of twitterpating than by celebrating May Masturbation Month! Here are some fun facts about Annual– now International- Month of Masturbation and some great links to help you…participate.

Dr. Jocelyn Elders. Image from US National Library of Medicine

Dr. Jocelyn Elders. Image from US National Library of Medicine

1) The true poster child of Masturbation Month is former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders. Following a speech at the 1994 UN World AIDS Day, Elders was asked about masturbation as a way to discourage youth from engaging in partnered sex. She responded, “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught” (EmpowerHer, 2010). Gasp! The result: Elder was forced to resign from government.

But this sex shaming and conservative wrath backfired with a whole month dedicated to public talks, workshops, dancings, plays of all thing Masturbation! Thanks to Good Vibrations, the guru of sex toy shops. National Masturbation Month aims to encourage people to talk freely about it, to end the guilt associated with it and dispel the notion that it is “second-best” to “real” sex (Good Vibes’ official statement).

2) The celebration of #radical self-love has taken place every year since. The ever-so-climatic Masturbate-A-Thon is its biggest fundraiser. It encourages people to collect pledges and raise funds for sex-positive non-profits. Masturbate-A-Thon was originally hosted in San Francisco by Good Vibration and has spread to other cities like Portland OR, Washington D.C., London, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark. For it’s 14th Anniversary, the Thon will be held in Philly, PA, and funds will be used to benefit local LGBTQ inclusive sex-ed organizations, Pleasure Rush! and ScrewSmart. These guys established a CrowdRise fundraiser to help raise $3,000 from 1 May to May 27th, 2013, in order to help pay for the end of the month party, festively named Creamium.

Both Pleasure Rush! and ScrewSmart believe that the Philly Masturbate-A-Thon 2013 has the power to deliver the following:
-Reduce stigma and shame around sexuality.
-Promote sexual health Create a community of dialogue around the importance of pleasure. -Give you an excuse to jerk off for hours!” (Crowdraise).

Masturbation Month Poster made and sourced from The Buzz, Good Vibrations Magazine, www.GoodVibes.com

Masturbation Month Poster made and sourced from The Buzz, Good Vibrations Magazine, www.GoodVibes.com

3) In honor of International Masturbation Month, the Center for Sex & Culture (CSC) in conjunction with Shilo McCade’s “I Masturbate…” photo exhibition (summary about the photo project), is facilitating a writing class on the power of masturbation. Participants will spend a few hours writing response to photos and sharing stories about orgasms, self-love, and other aspects of sexuality. Proceeds support the CSC.

4) Ever heard of Betty Dodson? She is only the Queen of Masturbation and a pioneer in sexual liberation. Here is a great article by a woman who attended one of Betty’s 5-hour masturbation workshops and learned new types and ways of orgasm.

5) The student run news source, The Interloper @ USC is running its first ever masturbation writing contest. Winner gets a vibrator. You can read the first story: You Are Sleeping Inside Me.

6) Think you’re a master of masturbation? Test your knowledge with this 14 question quiz!

Taboo History Brief: Why we should celebrate

Image from article by William Bell @ BlogHer.com

Image from article about Masturbation Month by William Bell @ BlogHer.com

Masturbation Month is growing in profile but it stems from a long history of societal hush-hush syndrome. In fact, masturbation didn’t receive any attention on prime time television until Seinfeld brought up the taboo topic in 1992. In the episode (wikilink), George Constanza is caught by his mother masturbating. He confesses to Jerry, Elaine and Kramer and the conversation results in the four entering a contest to determine who can go for the longest period of time without masturbating.
No one wins. What’s interesting is that while the topic is quite blatant and insinuates that everyone masturbates (often!), the word “masturbation” could not actually be spoken. NBC thought the topic wasn’t suitable for TV, so the taboo is described in a series of hilarious euphemisms.

As Good Vibrations writes, “Almost everyone masturbates, but all too few of us are willing to admit to enjoying this simple pleasure – mostly because of the taboo against masturbation in our society, which has its roots in historical misconceptions that have survived to the present day.” During the 18th, 19th, and 20th century in Europe and America, masturbation was believed to be a debilitating wastes on energy that could result in exhaustion, impotence, insanity, epilepsy, etc. People obsessed over ways to prevent and treat the destructive urge.

For example, Dr. John H Kellogg advocated that circumcision should be performed with no anesthesia in order to deter children from “self-abuse” (cracked.com). Yes, this is Kellogg of the Kellogg’s cereal. Grape-Nuts, and later Corn Flakes, were invented to prevent “fire in the blood”. As early as the 1800s, masturbation experts believed that certain foods stimulated the urge, so people were recommended certain diets that eliminated instigators like pickles, candy, and eggs, and designed non-stimulating alternatives like cold breakfast cereal.

For more investigation into the rabbit hole of bizarre anti-masturbation treatments, Cracked.com offers a great article that covers all methods from Boy Scouts’ cold showers, to leeches, and spiked penile rings, bondage belts, and clitoridectomy.

So Happy Masturbation Month Everyone!

Let’s be thankful that our notions and acceptance of the deed has evolved from spiked penis restraints to Masturbate-A-Thon fundraisers! It’s great that there are many more sex positive resources out there that help normalize masturbation for us all. In some ways, it is a political act. It’s the ultimate safe sex, it increases awareness of your body and own sexual response, it relieves cramps, and it’s fun! So celebrate!

Do you have any fun facts or masturbation resources to share? Please comment below.

It’s always nice to know if you like what you’ve read. Please let us know by tweeting this or liking us on Facebook.  

Special thanks to Good Vibrations, BlogHer, EmpowerHer, and Bitch Mag for the images and information.

 

Advice: Dealing with condom rejection

This post is for anyone who has a partner that always moans (in a bad way) about using a condom; for anyone who has experienced condom hating; and for anyone who refuses to wear a condom.  This is to equip you with reasoning and responses to possible excuses for not using condoms.

A fact we need to face:

When you insist on using a condom you are doing the right thing!  Condom usage is about caring for yourself and caring for your partner.  Many people get uncomfortable in the condom situation or give-in to not using one because the other doesn’t want to.  It is your right as a human being to assert your health needs with your partner.  As Heather Corinna puts it: “Asking someone to care for you in any way is not a barrier to intimacy: it’s not asking that keeps space between you…sexual health or even just how to use condoms and use them in a way that works for both of you is not something that keeps people apart, but that brings people closer together.”

In other words, caring for yourself should be a caring partner’s want.  If your partner can’t respect your desire to be safe than that is a relationship-red-flag.

Here are some responses you can give to whatever your partner dishes out.  Some of these scenarios are from sex educator, Laci Green.  For more advice, check out her post and watch her entertaining and informative video on how to deal with sex safety.

Responses to Condom Hate

________________________

Partner: “It doesn’t feel good.”  “I can’t feel anything”.
You:“I can’t enjoy sex if I don’t feel safe.” “The safer I feel, the hotter the sex.”

Note: Those who say that they can’t feel anything with a condom are a) being dishonest and/or b) have a lack of experience and are not using condoms properly.  Check out our post on the myths of condom hate.

________________________

Partner: “You think I have an STD”. “You don’t trust me.”
You:“This isn’t about me thinking that here is something wrong with you; this is about both our health.” “Don’t you care about the same thing?”

_________________________

Partner:I want to be closer to you/feel you.”
You:I can’t feel close to you if I don’t feel safe.”

_________________________

Partner: “Just this one time.
You:We’ve got all these condoms.  Let’s do it more than once!” “Once is one too much for me.”

_________________________

Partner: “They never fit.”
You:There are so many styles of condoms, let’s try them out and see which ones are best!”  “If it’s too big for a condom, it’s too big for me.”- Laci Green

Note: Check out our condom fitting solutions chart for help finding the right condoms. 

_________________________

CondomWrapperHeart

 

For more advice and ideas check out Laci Green’s website.  Scarleteen is pretty great too.

What other excuses and responses are out there?  What have you experienced?

 

Condom Size Chart has been Updated

iStock_000008877505XSmallCondom Monologues is thrilled to announce that our Condom Size Chart is up-to-date!  This is our most popular post so we think it crucial to keep it spick and span.  It includes objective measurements researched by CM’s staff of all the latest condom products from North America’s top three brands: Trojan, Durex and LifeStyles. And we provide links to other works at CM depending on how in-depth you want to know your condom before using.

This is not a company endorsement.  We do not cater support for one condom company over another.  Instead we offer this as a map to help guide through the frustrating aisle of condoms where each product self-proclaims to be the “Thinnest”, “Most Sensitive”, “Ultra Pleasure” out there. We hope this size chart continues to help find suitable condoms and experience new pleasures.

Check out the latest version of Condom Size Chart here!

 

What Condom Size Am I?

The reason so many guys ask, What Condom Size Am I? is because condom sizing and how to measure ourselves is not very clear.  There is no such thing as one-size fits every individual or couple.

And yet using the right condom is essential.  The wrong size increases the risk of breakage, slippage and discomfort.  Experimenting and finding the correct condom is the difference between those who enjoy sex with condoms and those who hate them and use them inconsistently, putting themselves and others at risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

Published with permission from thebadchemicals.com

Published with permission from thebadchemicals.com

What Condom Size Am I?

The first thing you need to do is measure the size of your penis. This isn’t hard (but your penis must be to get correct measurements!).  There are three main measurements you need to take. First, from the base of your penis which is the part where the condom would stop rolling (no need to put the condom over your testicles!) and measure up to the tip of your penis….This is your length.

Then measure the girth of your penis at the mid-point of the shaft. You can wrap a tape measure around the shaft or you can use a string and then measure the string with a ruler.

Most condom widths are measured by the condom laying flat (it is not the circumference). Condoms are designed to fit securely while forming the body shape. The base width should be less than half the girth of your penis size by about half an inch (13mm). Therefore to know if your girth will fit a condom width simply divide your penis circumference by 2.25 (In this post we explain how we got this formula).

(Most links are internal links to our site.  External links to condoms may be affiliate links that earn us a small commission. This is not a company endorsement). 

What Sizes Exist?

Now you have the measurements you can go over to our Condom Size Calculator. There you will find measurements for each condom brand and be able to find your size and compare what exactly “Snug” “Regular” and “Large” mean.  We also offer updated size charts based on the top sold brands: Trojan Condom, Lifestyles, Durex, KimonoONE Condoms and Caution Wear. More brands to come!ruler

The average condom length in North America…

is 7.5″/190.5mm.  Since a vast portion of men are between 5.1″ – 6.5″, most do not need to be concern with length.  If length is your concern, check out our condom fitting solutions chart for recommendations to specific needs.

Girth or “thickness” is crucial.  The average condom is made to fit a 4.8″- 5.2″ erect circumference.  In condom terms, that equals approximately 2.0″/50.8mm-2.2″/55.8mm base wide (remember, width is measured by the condom lying flat).

General, rule of thumb: If you measure less than 4.8 inches girth, go with a snugger fit.  Fit you are greater than 5.2 inches, select large condoms, such as SKYN Large, Durex XXL, and Magnums.

Shape Matters

However, this does not solve all problems.  What if you are skinny and long, short and wide?  You will also need to think about shape and material (latex, polyisoprene, etc.), especially if you find you’re in between sizes.

A common complaint is that condoms are too tight around the head.  So, many condoms companies have now designed condoms with oversized head room, including flair shape design and extra bulbous head.  Here are the top North American brands:

LifeStyles Pleasure Shape (Bulbous head)
LifeStyles WYLD (Bulbous head)
LifeStyles THYN (Flare shape)
Trojan Her Pleasure (Flare shape)
Trojan Pleasures Ecstasy Fire and Ice (Flare shape)
Trojan Stimulations Ecstasy (Tapered flare)
Trojan Magnum (Tapered at the base, flare at head)
ONE Condom Pleasure Plus (Roomy pouch at the head)
ONE Condom Tantric Pleasures (Wider base/head, tapered along the shaft)
ONE Condom Pleasure Dome (oversized head, regular base width)
Durex PleasureMAX (wider base and head)
Kimono Maxx (Wider head)

Remember, you can find exact measurements for each condom on their respective size charts or on our condom size calculator.

There are also condoms which are longer than average, but regular or smaller width.

Trojan Supra
Trojan ThinTensity (slightly longer and wider; not as big as Magnums).
Durex Sensi Thin (longer and slightly narrow than regulars).

Or how about wider shaft, but close fitting head:

Lifestyles 3SUM

Elasticity.  Latex or Poly or the other Poly?

There are two new non-latex options available now.  Polyurethane was first introduced by Durex in the 1990s.  This material is less elastic than latex and polyisoprene, and is slightly thinner.  So it can be ideal for those who prefer less skin-tight condoms that clings to every contour of his tool, and instead prefer a bit of give in the condom.

The most popular polyurethane condom in North America is Trojan Supra.

Polyisoprene is the latest non-latex material for male condoms, introduced by Lifestyles in 2008.  This material is more soft, elastic and form-fitting than both polyurethane and latex.  This material is ideal because it can stretch more comfortably over shapely parts of the penis.  So this may be a better option if you are in between sizes then the uniquely shaped condoms.  Polyisoprene is available in North America by Durex Avanti Bare and Lifestyles SKYN.

Practice Makes Perfect!

The best thing to do is keep experimenting to find the best condoms for you (and your partners).

Just make sure you don’t engage in oral or penetrative sex if a condom does not fit! So, firstly, answer the question “What Condom Size Am I?” for yourself and then check against the size charts and get a hold of your best fit.

Let us know if you have any questions at all and we will always do our best to fully answer them. Don’t be embarrassed.  Use a fake name if you really need to. We will never judge you for your questions.

Thanks for reading and we hope this article helped.

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