President Duterte thinks that condoms are not pleasurable and discourages their use. A group of clergymen claims that condoms do not effectively prevent HIV.
A 72-year-old grandpa and men of the cloth are giving out condom advice. An old man who, by his own admission, can’t get it up without popping a pill and a group of men forbidden to indulge in carnal desires have positioned themselves as voices of authority when it comes to sexual health.
This violates clear and basic logic. If you’re going to take sex advice, it should be from someone who is still actively having sex. Otherwise, the counsel you’re getting is outdated and irrelevant because it ignores today’s relationship realities and is simply misguided.
It’s time to introduce these self-proclaimed savants to cockblockers.
A cockblocker is slang for someone or something that stands in the way of you having sex. These are my cockblockers for the argument that promotes having sex without condoms.
Cockblocker #1: Low and late condom use is why HIV is on the rise
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) show that condom use is late and low. The average age for the first sexual encounter is 16. Condom use starts at 18.
That’s two years of unprotected sexual activity, during which you are exposed to sexually transmitted infection and unwanted pregnancy.
The highest level of condom use among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) is 46%.
The DOH target is 80% condom use. UNAIDS recommends 90% condom use to stop the spread of HIV. We’re currently at 46%!
Our current condom usage rate is lower than your most asshole ex-boyfriend.
Meanwhile, there has been a 140% increase in yearly new infections from 2010-2016 making the Philippines the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the Asia Pacific Region.
The through-the-roof HIV infection rate is not because condoms don’t protect you against HIV. It is because we don’t use them enough.
That is a product of all those years of not actively promoting condoms and their benefits, and making them accessible to all. The conversation on condoms has been dominated by the intent to demonize these innocent yet potent rubber sheaths. It is no wonder that many are hesitant to use them, and ashamed to buy them.
Cockblocker #2: Low and late condom and zero sex education are why teen pregnancy rates are skyrocketing
Every hour, 24 babies are born to teenage mothers. That translates to 500 babies every day.
An estimated 18,000 girls have two children by the time they are 19. Think about what you were doing when you were 19, and think about life being saddled with the responsibility of taking care of two children.
Studies show that early pregnancy has a ripple effect on the life of a young girl: she will most likely not be able to finish school and consequently, will probably not find a job that pays enough to sustain her and her child.
Health economist Alejandro Herrin quantified the economic opportunity loss for a teenage mother in a study for the UN Population Fund. Compared to a girl who has adequate education, a teen mother loses about P83,000 annually in earnings. Herrin estimates the overall cumulative effect is about P33 billion lost in potential earnings – equivalent to 1.1% of GDP.
What is most tragic and maddening about all this is that HIV and teen pregnancy are completely preventable with adequate sex education and access to condoms and birth control. The solution is staring at us in the face and biting us in the ass. It’s not rocket science, just the basics of sexual literacy.
Cockblocker #3: Condoms have evolved – our perception of them should, too
Condoms have evolved in the last 50 or so years since President Duterte probably last used them.
“Condoms being unpleasurable are a thing of the past,” Emman Alfonso, Vice President of DKT Philippines, one of the largest manufacturers of condoms and contraceptive pills, told me.
Some of this has to do with texture. There are variants like Premiere Air that are of a softer texture than ordinary latex, giving you that almost skin-to-skin feeling. Other brands have similar almost skin variants, like Durex Invisible.
Also, lubricant is your pleasure buddy. Alfonso breaks down the biology: “Even without a condom, if there is not enough lubrication, it is not pleasant.”
The entire Premiere line, the most top-of-the-line of DKT brands, has been amped up with 30% more lubricant. Even TRUST condoms favored by the masses have been made thinner.
Condoms can also be ribbed, dotted, and come with tingly additions like rings – all made to amplify sensations when using them.
Cockblocker #4: Lube and the right fit enhance pleasure
A gem of advice from Joy Lynn Alegarbes of The Condom Project: Putting a little bit of lube in the condom tip (the thing that looks like the sperm catcher) dials up the love glove’s affection levels. The scientific explanation is that the most sensitive part of man’s penis is the glans (head) because it has the highest concentration of nerves.
Fit is also important. Be honest about uhm, size. No need to get the X-large condoms for posturing or ego boosting. Those will just slip off. And this should be put out there: it’s not so much about length as it is about girth.
Don’t get a condom that is too tight that it will make you feel like you’re getting choked down there, and not in a way that you would usually like. Experiment and have fun while doing it. The good thing is you don’t need a partner to do so. 🙂
Needless to say, anal sex also requires proper and adequate lubrication. Whatever way you like it, a tube of lube is your best bedside companion.
Cockblocker #5: The most satisfying thing about condoms is the unmatched protection they give
Correct and consistent use of condoms has been scientifically proven to effectively protect from both sexually transmitted infection and mistimed pregnancy. Neither pills, pulling out (aka withdrawal), nor injectables ensure the same kind of dual protection that condoms can.
Having sex with that kind of peace of mind – well, that can be pleasurable beyond your wildest dreams. – Rappler.com
Condoms image via Shutterstock
Ana P. Santos is Rappler’s sex and gender columnist and Pulitzer Center grantee. In 2014, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting awarded her the Persephone Miel fellowship to do a series of reports on Filipino migrant mothers in Dubai and Paris.