Hey all,

Sorry I’ve been so out-of-touch with the blog.  My computer died on me and I had to go on an epic quest for a new laptop and to get my bookmarked sources back to start writing again.  So, here’s what I’ve been waiting to write about for a while:

Condoms.

Now, according to this article (from which I stole the title of my post) by Carnal Nation, if you are an American, you probably have a very negative view on condoms: that they’re uncomfortable, awkward, desensitizing, or even downright painful- and that sex is WAY better without them.

However, apparently men in the UK have very different cultural feelings about this- wearing condoms is just seen as the normal, responsible thing to do, rather than a chore or an unpleasant barrier between partners.

Likewise, the differences between the US and the Netherlands are stark.

In the research I’ve been doing for my Sex, Gender, and Culture class, I’ve found that the condom is the most common form of birth control when young people are losing their virginity, even among couples where both people are virgins (and thus, there would be no risk of STI transmission).  To me, this means one of two things: one, that the correlation is circumstantial based on the fact that almost all of the respondents were under 18 and thus could not get other forms of birth control without going to their doctor, which would mostly likely require them to consult their parents.  Or two, that the condom is a simpler means of birth control that was merely more convenient than taking the pill every day or getting a Depa-Provera injection, and more effective than inserting a diaphragm or cervical cap.

There’s also the question of hormones- the aspect of the pill, NuvaRings, and other hormone-based birth control methods is the chemical alteration of the body which inevitably comes with them.  The excess levels of estrogen and progestin that enter the body from these forms of birth control can cause mood swings, depression, and any number of other unpleasant psychological and physiological side effects.  Progestin, a variant form of progesterone, has also been shown as a link to breast cancer.  So, all in all, I’m not a big fan.  However, hormonal treatments are the MOST EFFECTIVE forms of birth control (short of abstinence and vasectomy/tubal ligation) out there, so I did use the pill for a little less than a year.  It alleviated so much worry when it came to sex, and was fairly convenient.  Even now, I’m not sure I would recommend otherwise for my daughter or any woman who asked for my advice.  

Granted there are other options- the most appealing healthwise and costwise is a combination of spermicide and a cervical cap, which when used together have a similar protection rate against pregnancy as a condom.  Spermicide is cheap and a cervical cap is reusable, so they are cost effective and neither have negative health effects for the body.  But almost no one uses them.  For me, it was simply because I didn’t know where to find a cervical cap, and I didn’t 100% trust them.  Now, of course, I know that they are a fairly legitimate option, and cervical caps can be ordered through any doctors office.

So since I got such great feedback from the circumcision article, I’d love your input again.  Men and women, please.  Do condoms change anything about your sexual experiences?  Why did you choose to use a condom when you lost your virginity?  If you use a different form of birth control, why do you use it?  Does anyone use cervical caps?  Why or why not?  Any and all input is appreciated.  But please keep comments courteous and as inwardly reflective as possible.  Do not attack other people’s views or practices.  In the name of research, thank you!

 

Also, if you have a few seconds, fill out my survey about losing your virginity:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=tzkdh9orTagQy8uDaUlaqKw&pli=1#invite

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