This should be obvious, right? The majority of you are scratching your heads wondering why this is even a blog post.
You know all those silly things on warning labels? “May contain nuts,” written on a package of peanuts; a night time sleep aid that warns the consumer it “May cause drowsiness;” or the label on a hair dryer that reads “Do not operate while sleeping.” Many are ridiculous to the point of hilarity, but they exist because someone actually did these ridiculous things. I’m sure there are a few Darwin Award winners out there — I’m looking at you, person who used a Dremel® as a dental drill.
So when you read that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) felt compelled to tweet out a reminder at the end of July not to wash and reuse condoms, that means somebody actually did that. Apparently quite a few somebodies, in fact. In a 2012 literature review covering a wide array of condom use errors and condom failures, they found four studies where 1.4%-3.3% of people surveyed admitted to reusing condoms during the same sex session (‘admitted’ being the operative word here). Both men and women admitted to it.
Frankly I was completely dumbfounded when I heard this. I could barely string together two words, much less make a full sentence, to describe my incredulity that this warning label needed to be given to the American public. Perhaps we should thank our lucky stars no one said they used them in different sessions… Never mind, we shouldn’t even go down that mental rabbit hole.
So, let us have a birds and bees tips refresher course, just to be safe. After all, safety is the goal when condoms are involved, yes?
First and foremost, do use a condom. Apart from abstinence, they are the best way to prevent transmission of STI’s and avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Other forms of contraception (hormonal shots, birth control pills, IUDs, etc) do not protect you from disease. You have to physically have a barrier between you and your partner to keep their germs to themselves.
One condom is enough. While Asher Roth’s song, “I Love College” was really popular when I was attending university, he gave some pretty bad life advice. When it comes to condoms, do not “put two on.” Two does not provide you with more protection; it actually increases the likelihood of breakage.
Do not wash and reuse condoms. Mr. Happy’s raincoat cannot and must not be used for more than one rainstorm. A condom is meant to be an impermeable barrier. Washing them only makes it more likely the microorganisms/sperm on the inside end up on the outside, and it decreases the integrity of the condom itself, so it’s more likely to break. Even if you think it’s safe to leave it on between rounds, it’s not. If the penis becomes flaccid between one sex act and another, there is a big possibility of semen leaking out or the condom slipping.
Whether it is an issue of money or embarrassment, there is no real good reason for this particular error in usage.
Guys, do not reuse condoms. Please. It’s not safe for you or your partner. Be a gentleman and shell out the few extra bucks for another one. Many clinics and student centers even give them away for free. If you aren’t embarrassed to be naked in front of a girl, you can’t be too embarrassed to obtain the proper equipment. Google how to get free condoms, there are several options at your disposal.
Ladies, the same goes for you. It is your body at stake; don’t leave all the protection responsibility up to the guy. Get the condoms yourself, just in case. Don’t be embarrassed to make sure he puts it on correctly (do it for him, if it makes you feel better) and under no circumstances whatsoever let him try to reuse it. Even if he begs you for a round 2 but didn’t bring a spare, just say no.
Put the safety of your body first. Protection doesn’t work if it’s not used correctly. Remember, condoms are single-use only!