Always use condoms, Laura. Boys in Las Vegas are dirty.
The evening that I told two of my best friends about my divorce, one of them, Brandi*, immediately and strongly offered that advice. While sage, the guidance took me off guard. I had been with the same man for 22 years. Worrying about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) had been retired along with my 1990s Steve Madden Slinky platform sandals. Here I was in my mid-forties suddenly having to think about all that again. And after the CDC just recently reported that STDs are on the rise, I’m so glad I’ve followed her advice. When it comes to sex, I use condoms. You should, too. Here are my favorites and why.
For the small to medium-sized man: Trojan Bareskin
Men bitch about wearing condoms. Trojan Bareskin will give them reason not to. Something about the thinness of the rubber or the lubricant used makes this prophylactic feel barely there. I have actually had men tell me how much they like this particular condom. And while I claim it’s best for the small to medium-sized man, don’t tell him that. Let him think he’s large and just assure him that it will fit. (It will.)
For the large to extra-large man: Trojan Magnum
Once you go big, you never go… well, let’s just say, I found my perfect size. I keep plenty of Magnum on-hand. Magnum condoms allow for extra girth and length without feeling too snug or as though an accident may happen. Plus, Magnum now comes in a Bareskin version, too. If your lover has a tendency to climax too quickly, stick with the classic. The rubber feels thicker, making the sensation not quite as tantalizing as the Bareskin. He’ll last longer.
Women Should Carry Condoms!
Just because you’re a woman does not mean you should not be carrying condoms with you. You should, and at all times (use this cute eggplant pouch to store them). Don’t leave your health in the hands of a hookup or fate. It’s not just Las Vegas. There are men with STDs in every city, and most of them don’t even realize it. That’s why you should be using condoms during intercourse, no matter what age you are. While condoms can’t protect you from everything, they will protect you from a lot.
One more thing, STDs can be acquired from oral sex, too. Unless you have both been tested with negative results (negative meaning that neither of you have a disease) and you’re committed to one another with no unprotected sex outside of your relationship, you may want to keep oral sex off the table. I know it’s hard (pun intended), but performing oral sex on someone whose sexual health is a mystery to you is just as risky as having unprotected sex with him. Face facts and be honest with yourself about that the next time you go down on a guy.
And get tested, like, all the time. Some STDs can be cured with proper treatment. Some can’t, but can be managed (i.e., herpes, HIV). Just like with any other aspect of your life, your sexual health should always be monitored and nurtured. Think of using condoms as a part of self-care, and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
For more information on STDs and keeping yourself protected, I highly recommend this web page of education at the Planned Parenthood website, where the organization clearly defines each type of STD out there and how to protect yourself.
Got a favorite condom brand? Share it in the comment section below.
*Name changed for privacy.