8 Condom Commandments for Women (and Men, Too)

For the single man, there’s one commandment: “Use one, every time.” But for women who want to properly negotiate condom use, here are some other rules to follow.
December 22, 2010

Imagine this: You’re a youngsingle woman out in the jungle that is the urban dating world. One fine night, you meet a good-looking guy at a holiday party. “Hello,” he says, as you push your way through the crowd toward the makeshift bar. “Do I know you?” you ask. “No, but I’d like to get you another drink,” he offers. You are charmed. “Of course—but be careful. They’re pouring heavy tonight,” you warn. He laughs. Before long, you and the young man are conversing while throwing back stiff vodka tonics.

Soon, you are making out. Why not, right? He invites you home with him. You agree. You are pleasantly surprised when you arrive at his swanky, apartment, and it’s clean! Before long, you’re both naked. Then, he utters some alarming words. “Do you have a condom?” he asks. “Um … Not on me. Don’t you have one?” you ask. “Can we skip the condom? I prefer sex without a condom. I have great self-control,” he explains.

Suddenly, he is no longer so charming. “I don’t know you,” you say. But he persists. “I won’t come inside you … Please?” he begs. OMFG! WTF? Have I been magically transported back to 1969?

Awkward and unsettling, right? I share this story with you—which is a composite I collected from a few friends—because it’s been brought to my attention that an anti-condom trend is rearing its ugly head out there in Singleland. When I took a poll of single women, many said their recent partners had been more than willing to sheath the sword. But an unsettling number said that they’d been pressured to throw down sans protection. Some split. Some went for it.

This might come as a shocker to most guys: Women can hate condoms, too! We think they feel weird and clinical! For this reason, it is particularly hard to be put in the position of “policewoman” in the bedroom. Still, we know we have to hold up our end because, well, STDs and accidental pregnancies are scary. Condom etiquette is something that single women don’t discuss nearly enough. If we are being put in this position—even occasionally—we need some open dialogue to take some of the awkwardness and confusion out of these situations. So, we have for you our eight condom commandments. No matter what your views are about casual sex, dating, or relationships, it’s important to know where you stand on condoms before the moment “arises.”

1. If you’re thinking about sleeping with someone, and they haven’t brought up the condom issue yet, what are you waiting for? Speak up. Let them know your deal. Ask about recent STD testing and tell them if you’re on birth control or not. Even if it kills the moment. It’s really important.

2. Always keep condoms at home and in your purse, should you need them in a sticky situation. Better to be safe than sorry. It is not only the guy’s responsibility to make sure he has condoms. It takes two, baby.

3. Make sure he pulls the condom out properly after sex to prevent spillage. Yes, you need to be aware of this as well. Help the fellow out. And you can’t flush that bad boy down the toilet. Wrap it up in tissue, and put it in the trash.

4. If a condom breaks, both partners should wash themselves with soap and water. If the breakage is discovered after ejaculation, having a separate spermicidal lube handy to apply may help. Go to the doctor as soon as possible for emergency contraception and/or STD testing.