Tag Archives: sexuality

ANewDomain.net Essay: What To Do If the Condom Breaks

This essay was originally published at ANewDomain.net:

You never forget your first time.

I remember thinking: “God, this is without a doubt the best, most natural feeling condom I have ever tried, and I totally take back everything that I ever said about condoms making sex feel like you’re wearing a raincoat or whatever, and I’m going to take careful note of the brand of this condom so that I can buy thousands and thousands of them so that I can continue to enjoy this experience even if, by some terrible act of capitalism gone awry, the outfit that makes them goes out of business.”

Then I  looked down and realized that the reason that that particular condom felt so great was that it had broken.

A meta-study conducted by the Kinsey Institute over the course of 16 years found that as many as 40 percent of sexually active Americans have experienced a condom break. Family planning experts believe that roughly 3 percent of condoms break.

Condoms are practically a religious necessity in the post HIV-AIDS era, particularly among Millennials and Generation Xers. But condoms aren’t foolproof. They leak. They break. Which is why 15 percent of people who use them still get pregnant.

You might get lucky. Since it has happened at least five or six times to me, maybe it will never happen to you. However, just you are an unlucky soul like me, it’s much smarter to be prepared for the possibility of a ruptured rubber than to trust in the fates.

Odds are, you probably won’t realize your prophylactic ripped until it’s too late – i.e., after you ejaculated. So if – okay, when – it happens, what should you do?

There are two concerns: STDs and pregnancy risk. What you choose to do about each depends on variables like how much you know about your partner, whether or not you are monogamous, and the point in your partner’s menstrual cycle.

Let’s start with the STD issue.

First thing: after sex, take a shower and thoroughly wash your genitals with soap and water. Believe it or not, this basic step could help you dodge a bullet. Do not douche.

Reach around and make sure you get all the little pieces of plastic. Sometimes it doesn’t break in one or two pieces. You don’t want to leave that stuff in your junk.

If you lose a condom during sex with a partner with whom you are both certain that you are monogamous, and you have both been recently tested for standard STDs including HIV-AIDS, you probably don’t have much to worry about.

If, on the other hand, it occurs with someone whose sexual history you aren’t certain about and/or hasn’t been tested extremely recently, get postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is a “morning after” treatment that can (but isn’t guaranteed) to prevent HIV infection. You take HIV antiretroviral meds for a full month. It’s definitely best to begin them immediately, but they can work up to 72 hours after possible exposure. Side effects include nausea and fatigue.

You can get it from any doctor, health clinic, AIDS organization, local health department, or hospital emergency room.

If you are a woman, you should more seriously consider a PEP treatment course than if you are a man due to the fact that HIV transmission is more likely from male to female than the other way around.

Morning-after pregnancy prevention, which used to be confusing and difficult to obtain in a timely manner, is now available over-the-counter in the United States. All women should keep the high dose birth control pill Plan B (cost $50 to $60 at most pharmacies), which is also known as emergency contraception, in their medicine cabinets so that it’s there in case of a condom accident. After the incident, take it as soon as you can, certainly under 24 hours later, but it can be effective if taken within 72 hours. Unfortunately, you have to be 17 years old or older in order to purchase Plan B without parental consent. You didn’t hear it from me, but if you don’t have understanding parents, this is a time to reach out to your older, cooler, over 17 friends.

If a condom breaks, there’s no need to freak out. For one thing, it probably won’t happen on one of the five days a month during which a woman can become pregnant. This is obviously a decision that you need to make for yourself, but if this happens to you outside of the so-called “fertile window,” the chance that you will suffer an unwanted pregnancy is slim to none, no matter what.

Most experts say you should both be tested for the usual standard battery of sexually transmitted diseases after something like this occurs, and that’s true, but the smarter, more relevant advice is to get tested regularly, especially if you and/or your partner are nonmonogamous.

Bottom line: Though obviously disturbing, a condom break is nothing to jump off a bridge over. They happen occasionally and the vast majority of the time – pretty much all of the time – no one gets an STD and no one gets pregnant as a result. Just make sure you reduce the chances of it happening over and over again, by using new condoms, not old ones, storing them in a cool place, investing in high-quality brands, and getting the right size.

Los Angeles Times Cartoon: Porn Teacher

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: A science teacher at an intermediate school in Oxnard, California was fired after students claimed to have seen her in a porn movie. No one asked why children were watching porn movies, which is illegal. (Acting in porn, on the other hand, is legal.)

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Occupy Sexual Freedom

Sympathy for Newt and Open Marriage

You know the narrative. Right-wing family-values Republican gets caught doing secular-liberal totally-not-family-values stuff, usually involving sex:

Cruising for manlove in an airport men’s room.

Knocking up the maid.

Sending dirty emails to young male pages.

Hiring male hookers and smoking meth.

Asking wife #2 for an open marriage.

This kind of thing happens all the time. And it’s always red meat for leftie media commentators.

Liberal pundits love to call fallen Republicans hypocrites. They point out that liberal politicians are often more heterosexual and monogamous than many so-called conservatives—and remain married to the same spouse for life.

Now it’s Newt Gingrich’s turn.

In her divorce filing Ms. Gingrich the Second claims that Mr. Gingrich asked her for an open marriage so he could stay with her while carrying on with Callista, who became Ms. Gingrich the Third after Ms. Gingrich the Second refused said request. (You may need to re-read the previous sentence.)

Cue the holier-than-thou liberals.

CNN reporter John King opened a presidential debate with an assault on Newt’s alleged yearning for sexual freedom. A New York Times editorial called this “a perfectly reasonable question.”

Across the vertical seam in the op-ed graveyard Gail Collins could barely contain herself. “Beyond the hypocrisy of this sort of behavior from a guy who wants to protect the sanctity of holy matrimony from gay couples, there also seems to be a streak of almost crazed self-absorption that runs through the Newt saga,” Collins gloated. “Who would ditch a spouse of 18 years in a phone call? Shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? And, of course, he broke up with his first wife while she was battling cancer.”

That Newt Gingrich is pompous, nasty and one of the most hideous members of that physically repugnant tribe known as politicians can be stipulated by all but those blinded by hatred of Mormons and Kenyan-born socialists. Still, I think we on the Left are missing an opportunity for a teachable moment.

Progressives are fighting for human emancipation. The right to engage in sex with any consensual adult in any form is integral to this struggle to liberate ourselves from patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia and capitalism. How, then, can we justify mocking anyone—even a hypocritical Christian conservative—for expressing their sexuality?

When Senator Larry Craig was arrested, essentially for the crime of being a closeted gay or bisexual male, in that Minneapolis-St. Paul airport restroom, he needed our support, not our ridicule.

Imagine if supporters of gay rights from across the spectrum had refused to get sucked into stupid D-vs-R theatrics. Remember, the cops weren’t trying to catch a right-wing gay-bashing closeted senator. Craig was ensnared by one of countless sting operations conducted by police departments across the United States designed to harass all gays and lesbians. We should oppose such tactics forcefully and consistently. Defending Craig’s right to hit on other guys would have served the cause better than scoring cheap partisan points.

As for Newt’s alleged—divorce allegations ought to be swallowed with a massive dollop of sodium chloride—request for an open marriage, well, so what if he did?

When 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce it’s clear that state-enforced monogamy for life isn’t working for everyone. Researchers estimate that up to six percent of American couples are in open marriages. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their decision. It’s their choice. Asked privately, most liberals would agree.

Millions of Americans prefer alternative arrangements for their sex lives—open marriages, swinging, etc. Yet they are forced to sneak around. They’re not hiding from their lovers, but from their friends and neighbors and colleagues lest they be shamed and shunned. Unlike conventionally married couples (who cheat on one another in significant numbers), people in open relationships know exactly what their partners are up to.

Moreover, there are a lot of open relationships that no one thinks about. Does anyone doubt, for example, that the Clintons had a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that essentially amounted to a license to cheat?

You shouldn’t have to hide or lie when you’re doing nothing wrong. Yet so-called “liberals” join their rightist counterparts in snickering about Craig’s “wide stance” and Gingrich’s request for an open marriage. The effect is to denigrate gays, lesbians and other sexually marginalized and oppressed people.

Nona Willis Aronowitz calls Gingrich “the poster child for the messy, miserable life people can have if they’re stuffed into rules they weren’t built to follow. He’s the poster child for how our sexist and repressive culture can hurt relationships. Gingrich was raised in, and now advocates for, a world that sets up incredibly narrow parameters for sex and love, and shames people who don’t adhere to those standards.”

We should tell right-wingers like Newt Gingrich: you’re one of us. You always were. The fact that you can’t live by your own supposed rules proves it.

Quit living a lie, Newt. More importantly, quit asking everyone else to live the stupid lie that defines your stupid out-of-date politics.

Hey Republicans! Are you a maid-knocking-up, men’s-room-trolling, sexting, bondage-loving, gay-bi-trans-whatever?

The Right’s not that into you. Join us.

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2012 TED RALL

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Rape My Brain But Don’t Touch My Junk

Why TSA Molesters Are Striking a Nerve

“Don’t touch my junk!” Will this be the battle cry of the next American Revolution?

If you think about it, it’s amazing. Why this? But thinking doesn’t have anything to do with it.

There’s a good reason. Which we’ll get to.

“This,” of course, is the intrusive new security-screening regimen at 68 major U.S. airports. You can walk through one of the new “backscatter” body-image X-ray scanners, suck up 2.4 microrems of radiation, and live with the knowledge that a high-res version of your nude flabby body is being stored on some government database so that the Palin Administration will be able to kill you for food and use your cyborg doppelganger as a slave laborer in the living hell that will be the year 2015.

Or you can choose the pat-down. But think twice. By all accounts, the pat-down procedure is thorough. Extremely thorough.

“I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants,” schoolteacher Kaya McLaren, an elementary schoolteacher from Washington state told The New York Times about her experience at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. What prompted this feel-up? “The body scanner detected a tissue and a hair band in her pocket,” reported The Times.

Verily, the end times draw nigh. The New York Times is talking dirty.

A visit to the TSA’s official blog (blog.tsa.gov) furthers the impression that the Obama Administration has jumped the security shark. One citizen asks: “Is touching the genitals a mandatory or discretionary part of the pat-down? Will the screener give notice and ask for consent prior to touching the breasts, vagina, penis or scrotum?” Another asks: “Can they spread the buttocks to feel if something is concealed between them? Can they move the penis or testicles aside to see if something is strapped to a man’s leg? Can they lift up breasts to feel underneath them?”

There’s something terribly wrong when a federal government website gets too racy for online parental control software.

CNN’s Rosemary Fitzpatrick reported that an airport screener “ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch.” In Charlotte a flight attendant was ordered to remove and display her prosthetic breast.

It’s happening to guys too. Men wearing baggy pants report TSA personnel, some of whom are convicted rapists and child molesters, sticking their hands down their trousers and ferreting out their naughty bits. In a bit of surrealism recalling my “Al Kidda” cartoon (in which terrorists take advantage of the fact that children aren’t required to show ID to board a plane) there are now YouTube videos showing little kids getting felt up by the TSA.

TSA workers at Miami Airport got caught passing around printed scans of a man they deemed to fall short in the male endowment department. A 61-year-old cancer survivor from Michigan wound up “humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers” at the Detroit Airport. The oafs broke the seal on his urostomy bag.

There was, naturally, no apology.

Remember the good old days of the early 2000s, when the only thing the TSA did was announce their favorite color of the day?

Of all the indignities inflicted upon the flying public since 9/11, the radiation/molestation combo strikes me as relatively minor. I’m still scarred by the sight of the young Iraq War vet in front of me at Kansas City airport security. Both of his legs had been lost in an IED blast in the Middle East. Instead of respect or a free pass at the metal detector, TSA goons repeatedly grilled and humiliated him about the titanium in his body.

Contrast this with Iran. Yes, Iran. As at security checkpoints throughout the country, I was waved past the checkpoint at Tehran’s Ayatollah Kholmeni International Airport in August as soon as I presented my U.S. passport. As guests, foreigners are not subject to most bag searches. Not even citizens of the Great Satan.

Don’t touch our special parts, but feel free to poke around our frontal lobes.

If Richard Nixon had been accused of listening to every American’s phone calls and reading their mail, there would have been riots. But that’s exactly what the National Security Agency has been doing since 9/11. Bush started it; Obama made it official. They’re reading your email and listening to your phone calls and tracking your bank statements. It’s a fact. And no one cares.

Personally, I’d rather have the government touch my junk than rape my brain.

Now that they’re feeling up our privates at the airport—with, truth be told, considerably more justification than the NSA has for reading your Facebook status updates—the American people are freaking out.

Which should come as little surprise to Obama’s pet louts at the TSA.

The United States, after all, was founded by Puritans. The folks we’re celebrating this week were religious fanatics, prudes, crazy repressed and so far off the charts that they were too uptight to get along with the British. Immigration has helped loosen us up, but that’s still our national culture.

I had hoped that when the revolution came, it would be about economic injustice or torture or racism. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you don’t revolt with the revolutionaries you wish you had. If this is the beginning of the end, so be it.

Say it all together: Don’t touch my junk!

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2010 TED RALL

Attention non-virgins: you’re nothing but a used-up linty piece of tape
Posted by Mikhaela Reid

Saw this in the NY Times a few days ago:

“You have to look at why sex was created,” Eric Love, the director of the East Texas Abstinence Program, which runs Virginity Rules, said one day, the sounds of Christian contemporary music humming faintly in his Longview office. “Sex was designed to bond two people together.”

To make the point, Mr. Love grabbed a tape dispenser and snapped off two fresh pieces. He slapped them to his filing cabinet and the floor; they trapped dirt, lint, a small metal bolt. “Now when it comes time for them to get married, the marriage pulls apart so easily,” he said, trying to unite the grimy strips. “Why? Because they gave the stickiness away.”

Huh? More on this from Feministing.