On sexual health

It finally happened. I was in possession of some condoms long enough that they expired. It was a couple dozen that I had put into a drawer after a visit to the STI clinic. If you haven’t been to the STI clinic at Waikato Hospital, or well, any kind of sexual health clinic, when you finish your appointment they always offer you some condoms, since they don’t really want your repeat business, and then hand you a huge stack in a brown paper bag which is quite awkward to carry if you forgo bringing a backpack and have to get on the bus to get home.

Now, before I go too much further, I’m going to explain that there’s a cut below. If you know me and don’t want to find out too much about my sexual history, feel free not to read on. If you’re my mother or another member of my family, I’ll thank you not to read on because I don’t want the awkwardness.

When I was about 23 my lax attitude to safe sex kinda caught up to me. Up until that point I’d been kinda relaxed about them, using them as required, but not overly appreciative of them since they always seemed to fail on me. Due to an apparent psychological issue that I can’t be bothered doing anything about at the moment I find that I have a rather delayed ejaculation, meaning that unless I’m being obsessive about checking the condom (which of course would exacerbate the issue) or ensuring that lubrication is applied regularly (as above), the condom would quite often break. And if it didn’t break, the odds were that it would end up coming off during sex.

Post-coitus rituals are always kinda weird, but sitting there freaking out about pregnancy or disease while your partner roots around inside her vagina for a stray latex sheath isn’t something I want to do every time a lady allows me at her holiest of holies.

Anyway, I was there because whilst I was dating someone I came down with a nasty case of OMG IT BURNS WHEN I PEE and figured it was well past time to get myself checked out. So, after having a middle aged nurse prod, fondle, and otherwise investigate my junk (and discovering that I do indeed have the ability to hold off an erection in such circumstances) I got asked the question of whether I had enough condoms.

I ended up explaining that I had a preference against them due to the aforementioned issues I’d had with them. And I got told that I maybe needed to try bigger ones.

Talk about a fucking confidence booster. We live in a phallocentric society, where some of the worth of a man is determined by the size of his penis (along with his wallet). I’d always been a little meh about my size, not being the type to go and compare with my friends. In fact, the only erect penes (yes, that is the plural of penis) I’ve ever seen would be in porn. And even though I know academically that the average penis size is 5.5″, and that my first girlfriend grabbed my Warhammer ruler and measured me at about 7″ (I’m sure there’s a margin of error there, and I’m not trying to seem cool), meaning that I’m apparently a little over average, I still feel small compared to porn cock. Add that to the fact that I was expecting the girls who’d seen my penis to make a big fuss over it if it was actually big, which never happened, and, again, that always happened in porn, and I wasn’t expecting to be considered big.

Even though condoms are designed to be able to stretch quite remarkably, they are still designed for a certain range of penis size. Just because you can fit your foot in a condom without it breaking, doesn’t mean that it’s designed to go over a penis larger than the average without a little discomfort, and a higher risk of breaking.

My problem was apparently that the standard, average condoms were a little too small, and that on top of the extra risk of breaking, it also causes them to roll off a lot more easily (which goes against conventional wisdom, but hey, the laws of physics don’t apply to cocks, do they?).

So, it just turned out that they started stocking a brand of larger condoms, along with the bog standard Durex in the green packet that everyone knows and loves. And I got handed a bunch of those. And then, after myself and my then-girlfriend went through a dose of the sort of antibiotics that have a warning label telling you to keep out of the sun, I gave them a try.

And for once, sex with a condom was actually kinda bearable. None of this struggle to get the damned thing on, no feeling that it’s coming off but-you’re-too-in-the-moment-to-check, no breakage. I see a lot of those tumblr posts about how guys are liars when they say that they can’t use condoms, and yeah, I’ve had that opinion. Until I found a product that worked for me.

The thing is, that sex education fails yet again because even though it teaches the basics (use a condom, here’s how to roll it down on a weird wooden thing (that looked nothing like a penis), this is what happens if you’re promiscuous), it doesn’t teach certain things that can be of use. Things like not all sizes fit all, things don’t always have to be vanilla, lubrication (besides the fact that the lubricant on condoms is edible), and of course the importance of consent, not to mention the fact that it is never a victim’s fault in cases of sexual assault.

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