Always Be Condoming

I’ve had a couple of experiences this year wherein I was playing with someone for the first time, and things were hot and heavy.  After lots of making out and touching, stroking, licking, and nibbling each other’s various body parts, I was lubed up and desperately wanted to be penetrated.  I come much more easily from penetrative sex than oral sex, so I usually want to have penetrative sex if it’s on the table (especially if it’s on an actual table).  In both cases, the guy was hard as stone; however, once I rolled on a condom and we started fucking, he lost his erection.  This in and of itself is not a big deal – boners can be pretty random.  They often come and go for no reason at all, and I’m all about being sexual and sensual and completely enjoying being with my partner in myriad ways without a hard dick present.

What struck me as odd, though, is that after sex with both of these gentlemen, they apologized and said that they weren’t used to having sex with condoms.  I then asked: “The women you’re with don’t care whether or not you use them?” Nope, they said.  Usually they don’t.  I’ve heard this from numerous other (straight) male friends as well – that they don’t bother wearing condoms if the women they’re with are fine with them not wearing one – even strangers they take home from a bar.  The thought then occurred to me that maybe I’m the anomaly here.  I’ve always insisted on condom usage – even with most of my partners when I was in monogamous relationships and on the pill (I realize this is strange)!

When I was very young, I watched two loved ones die of AIDS-related diseases which catapulted me into ten years of volunteering for various HIV, AIDS, and STI-related organizations and non-profits.  I guess Always Be Condoming just got drilled into me during my adolescence and has never gone away.

Two thoughts on this: one, I grew up with actual sex education.  It wasn’t much; it certainly wasn’t comprehensive or sex-positive, but it was something – we learned about barriers and contraception.  We learned that this shit was important.  I was in high school during the passage of the 1996 welfare act that first funded abstinence-only education (thanks, Bill Clinton); it didn’t go into effect until I’d already gone through sex ed.  Abstinence-only curricula often preach medically inaccurate information regarding the use of condoms, so people who have been taught in states that receive abstinence-only funding are less likely to use them.  The funding of comprehensive sexuality and relationships education is imperative to safer sex practices.

Two, every poly person or swinger I’ve been with consistently uses condoms with their (non-primary, if they have a primary relationship) partners, which is one reason that STI transmission rates for ethically non-monogamous folks and monogamous [sic] folks are pretty similar.

Don’t get me wrong.  I relish the sensitive feeling of the satiny skin of a hard cock inside of me, and there’s nothing I love more than being pumped full of jizz and feeling it drip down the insides of my thighs (or then having it fed to me…), but seriously.  Seriously.  I suggested to the first guy this happened with that he might try masturbating with a condom on to get used to the sensation – at least the cleanup is easy.  I’m curious now as to what other people’s experiences have been like in terms of condom usage.  If you have a dick or fuck people who have dicks, do you insist on condoms for PIV sex, or let it slide – and why?

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7 thoughts on “Always Be Condoming

  1. Condoms are a non-negotiable for me with all ancillary partners. (I’m married, ethically non-mono.) The only exception is when a mutual informed decision has been made – on the part of all parties – regarding fluid bonding. It’s not only a HUGE health risk to not use condoms (HSV is most often spread from a non-symptomatic male to an unwitting female, for starters – and the transmission rate in my region among those who are tested is one in five), but for me it’s an emotional/commitment risk. There are many facets to the e/c risk, but to break down the basics: (1) I will not share that kind of intimacy with just anyone, and (2) I will not betray the agreements I have with my spouse.

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    1. Not surprising – in my experience, ethically non-monogamous people are so much more communicative about and aware of safer sex practices than monogamous people!

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  2. In my twenties I wasn’t very responsible. There were times where I would get drunk and have sex with two or three different guys in one night. Some with condoms and some without. It wasn’t until I got a curable STD that my attitude towards condoms changed. All it took was once and I was very lucky that I didn’t get a life sentence for being so reckless. There’s no question of if I would fuck three random guys in one night all over again cause I would (in a heartbeat) but I would only change the fucking without a condom part of it. Safety first.

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    1. I also love fucking strangers, and I think there’s a hugely overblown stigma against folks with STIs. Some you can’t help no matter how careful you are (I mean, it’s likely we’ve all had HPV at some point), but still – I preached so much about condom use as a teenager (I taught HIV 101 at my school) that it’s just always been a central part of my sex life.

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  3. Jim

    A couple of perspectives: 1. The use or nonuse of condoms often depends on how one evaluates the level of risk of contracting an STI vs. the benefits to be gained sans condom. Everyone has their own perception of the risk and what level of risk they are comfortable with. I know many people who insist on always using condoms for penetration but never use any form of protection for oral sex. They deem oral as “less risky” and don’t enjoy using rubber dams or condoms when giving or receiving oral sex, and feel the increased pleasure outweighs the level of risk. I also note that using condoms is not risk free; again it’s a matter of balancing level of risk vs. perceived benefit. Even “safe sex” isn’t really.

    2. I don’t think many women understand just how desensitizing a condom can be for a man. And how this can become a major issue/deal killer for men as they age. For a guy in his 20s or 30s using a condom might not be that big of a factor, but for men in their 50s and 60s it may mean no erection and a complete inability to enjoy intercourse. And, no, the typical response of “you need to try different condoms” often doesn’t solve the issue.

    It seems to me that just about everything we do in life carries some level of risk. All of us have to decide for ourselves what we evaluate the risk to be, and what level of risk we are willing to take.

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    1. Sure – most decisions around safer sex practices come down to a risk vs. benefit analysis. My use of barriers for oral sex is more inconsistent than for penetrative sex even though I’m well aware of the risks (hello, bacteria-resistant gonorrhea!). I know that with age comes more difficulty in maintaining an erection; nonetheless, condom use for PIV sex with partners I haven’t been tested with is a just personal boundary for me.

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