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10 Things You Should DEFINITELY Know About Condoms

Hey, condoms may not always be what we "want" but they are definitely what many of us need.

Women's Health

Condoms. These days, I must admit, whenever I think about them in the context of pop culture, I'm pretty sure you know whose name immediately pops into my head. Without—eh hem—naming any names, you know, someone really can control the way their future turns out if they would simply choose to wear them more often. And actually, that's what this article is all about in a nutshell. While I was one day reading some semi-fascinating facts on condoms (like the fact that they were invented in 1855 and the first ones were made out of linen), I figured it would be cool to share some facts on this particular kind of birth control; especially since it's absolutely one of the best ways to prevent a pregnancy you may not want while also keeping you from getting a sexually transmitted infection (what you get before an actual disease) or disease (what you get once you've been properly diagnosed).

Not that any of the following points are earth-shattering information or anything. But since currently there are around 110 million people in America with an STI right at this very moment, the more you know about condoms, the better. Right?

So, let's hit 10 points about 'em real quick.

1. There Are over 10 Different Kinds of Condoms

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If you're not a big condom fan because, to you, they are synonymous with being boring AF, believe it or not, they do have an upside. Variety. In fact, there are actually more than 10 different types of condoms for you to choose from. There are flavored condoms (which should be strictly used for oral sex), ribbed or studded condoms (which can help you to have more intense vaginal orgasms), warming condoms (these are made of a thinning latex so that you and your partner can feel each other's body heat easier), Sensis condoms (long story short, they have ribs/strips that make it easier to put and keep a condom on), and even glow-in-the-dark condoms—and that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended)! So, if you want to switch things up, add some of these—and others—to your condom collection. Doing so might help you to see rubbers differently.

2. Condom Size DOES Matter

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I am floored by how many guys I know who don't know what size condom they wear. To them, all they need to do is walk into a drugstore, pick out a box and it's all good. Yeah…naw. Since penises come in a variety of sizes, wouldn't it make sense that rubbers would too?

It really wouldn't surprise me in the least if, one of the main reasons why a lot of people hate them is because the condoms they're using are too big or too small. That's why it's important to know which one best fits your man at all times. By the way, if he needs a little help, "Condom Size Chart to Help You Find the Right Choice" is a pretty informative read.

3. Condoms Can Last…for a While

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There are a lot of people in this world who keep condoms in their possession well past their expiration date (which is on the box, by the way). If you're wondering if you're one of them, if you've got some rubbers in a drawer somewhere and, for whatever the reason, you don't see it's "time's up" date, just keep in mind that condoms are able to last for about four years. Well, so long as they are stored in a cool, dry spot, that is. If it's been longer than that, toss 'em.

4. Female Condoms Aren’t Quite As Effective

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If you'd prefer to take matters into your own hands and want to go with a female condom (which is a lubricated pouch that's made out of synthetic rubber that you can put into your vagina up to eight hours prior to having sex), it's important to know that it's not as effective as a standard condom is. If you use it perfectly, it's 95 percent effective (not bad); however, on average, its success rate is somewhere between 72-85 percent. While you can get one without a prescription, it doesn't affect your natural hormone levels (like birth control pills do) and it's safe to use with both oil and water-based lubricant (which is pretty cool), due to the material that it's made out of it, it does tend to irritate quite a few vaginas and vulvas out here. Just so you're not one of them, you might want to speak with your doctor first if this is the route you want to take.

Oh, and if you've never used a female condom before and you're wondering how to get one up into your body, it's a lot like using a menstrual cup. The condom itself comes with a soft and flexible ring around each end and, when you insert it inside of you, it helps to keep sperm from going up into your body and coming into contact with your uterus. You can see a brief instructional video on how to use it here.

5. There Is Absolutely No Point or Purpose in “Double Bagging”

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While there used to be a time when condoms only covered the head of a man's penis (I'm pretty sure you can guess how well that went), avoiding having too little coverage is not a good reason to go overboard. In other words, you are not "super protected" by having your man put on two condoms. Not only does that make sex less pleasurable for him and possibly more vaginally irritating for you, but you also significantly up the chances of either one of the condoms breaking, or worse, one of them getting stuck inside of you. Yeah, take a total pass on the double bagging whole double bagging thing. It's useless.

6. You Don’t Have to Go to the Drugstore If You Don’t Want To

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Do you hate to go out shopping for rubbers? Yeah, I used to hate doing that too. These days, you can easily order them online, though. Companies like LELO HEX, Undercover Condoms and Condom Depot all have an impressive variety of condoms, at good prices, that ship quickly—and very discreetly.

7. Women’s Pleasure Isn’t Affected by Condom Use (Sort Of)

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OK, this one is a little tricky. On one hand, while there are studies out in cyberspace that emphatically profess that condoms have no barring on a woman's sexual pleasure, there are articles like, "Women Don't Like How Condoms Feel Any More Than Men Do" that claim "not so fast". Personally, I think a lot of factors play into all of this. Is the "woman in question" allergic to latex (if so, there are safe and effective alternatives)? Does the condom fit correctly? Is there some sort of psychological barrier that makes her think that sex with a condom is automatically worse than sex without?

I will say that I do think that anyone who is trying to get as close to their partner as possible, in every way, would probably prefer to go without using a rubber. But when you stop and think about the fact the condoms prevent unplanned pregnancies, STIs/STDs, and can actually help a man to last longer in bed, it seems to me that using them is more pleasurable because they can maintain the quality of life you want and help you to have orgasms more often. (Here's hoping, anyway.)

8. There Are a Few Ways to Make Condoms Feel Better to Him

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If your man is not a condom fan because he doesn't like the way it feels (in one interview, a guy told me that condoms feel like shaking someone's hand with a baseball glove on your own), there are two things that can make it better on his end. First, putting no more than a couple of drops of silicone-based lubricant in the reservoir tip of the condom can keep it from feeling dry (and more like he's inside of you without any barrier). Also, it can help for you and yours to try out different brands and textures of rubbers. A good starting point would be Men's Health's feature, "The 10 Best Feeling Condoms for Pleasure".

9. Yes, Magnums Are an Ego-Boosting Joke

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Two marketing ploys that people totally fell for are diamond engagement rings (you can read more about that here) and Magnum condoms. As far as Magnums go, I think every woman who's ever had protected sex before has been with a man who believes he's "worthy" of rockin' a Magnum. Why does this bring guys so much pride and joy? It's because they were fooled into thinking that they are for men with big packages when the reality is, only the XL ones apply to men who are "above average" (which is around 5" erect). When it comes to all of the other types of Magnums, they can basically accommodate five inches or more which isn't actually about a member that is "unusually great in size", like the word "magnum" suggests. Yep, the jokes on you, fellas. Sorry.

10. Less Folks Are Using Condoms Than You’d Probably Think

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Even though, when used correctly, condoms are around 98 percent effective (we're human, so, on average, they are actually around 85 percent effective), surprisingly, only about one-third of people use them. Yep. You heard me right. Several years back, when some researchers interviewed 11,300 women and more than 9,300 men, they discovered that only 24 percent of women and 34 percent of men put a rubber on during their last sex session.

Again, while I get why and how condom-less sex is probably the preferred sex of choice, there is simply no way around the fact that if you want to not have a kid right now, you want to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease or you want to have sex with someone before getting each other's test results (try and avoid that, please), a rubber is gonna be your best bet. You can literally feel better about using them if you take all of these points into consideration before picking a box out. Making this present decision is something that your future will thank you for. Unlike some other people's…futures (wink, wink).

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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