Do you always use a condom?

by singlemomseeking on June 4, 2008

All this talk about condoms yesterday has inspired me. Well, not inspired, exactly. It has made me a bit manic, to be honest.

To make matters more intense, it just so happens that during Mary Pols‘ book launch party last night for Accidentally on Purpose, she read her infamous chapter about her condom-free one-night stand, which gave her little Dolan.

Although no one in the audience dared to ask Mary about condoms last night, the night did have an unexpected surprise:

I blushed during Mary’s bold reading, and then stayed up way too late thinking about this post. First, let me say that I’m pro-condom. I think everyone should use condoms, I think condoms should be sold in every bathroom for a nickel, the same way that tampons are sold. But in my experience, men don’t like to use them. They will beg, pressure, say anything to do condom-free. Am I alone here?

In response to yesterday’s one-night stand post, David from Dad’s House emailed me on the side that he was “was truly flabbergasted when I read that “oops” line. But you’re probably right, there are probably a lot of people who don’t use condoms. From where I stand, they are polluting the dating pool. But that’s just me, I guess.”

I take full responsibility for having made a few careless decisions in my past, and I wrote about one instance in my book — when, I gave into one man’s persistence. I freaked out afterwards, and reprimanded myself for weeks. (By the way, my decision to get pregnant with my daughter was a conscious one. At the ripe age of 28, I was certain that I wanted to become a mom — and it took just one try to make it happen.)

I told Dad’s House: “I think that many, many people are sleeping around without condoms.”

It’s terrifying, but is it true? I’m asking you. Does any of this ring true for you? Sign in anonymously if you want.

Photo from faincut

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

supermama June 4, 2008 at 7:09 am

I was using a diaphragm instead of a condom. Why? Because I’d been married previously for 7 years (married young) and was DUMB DUMB DUMB. I had no idea what I was getting into with the dating pool, and obviously didn’t do my research. Birth control when dating is not the same as birth control when married (duh). Not that I’m sorry, because I have a beautiful baby girl. But … let’s just say I know a lot more know than I did then.

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Amy June 4, 2008 at 7:40 am

YOu know.. there are also STDs to be aware of – which you don’t even mention. And not only HIV/AIDS.. but countless others.

My gyno even told me she has patients who have re-entered the dating pool at 30-40 who are getting the vaccine they are marketing for teenage girls (which OF COURSE I have forgotten the name of!). The reason they market it for teen/college age girls is because they have the most sex with more partners & are more at risk for getting that virus that causes cervical cancer… (which I’ve forgotten the name of!) But women who re-enter the dating pool can sometimes fall into that same category!

Of course in my “youth” there were times that I did not use condoms – but in my current dating incarnation… I use ‘em all the time. And I know this sounds trite & easy to say, but if a guy pressures you to not use them… well… then he’s not really the one to have sex with.

It’s kinda something I feel strongly about – as you can tell from the length of this comment!

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singlemomseeking June 4, 2008 at 7:53 am

Amy, of course, I was thinking of STDs, HIV, everything across the board. Those are all a given when it comes to condoms — plain, old common sense, right?

I started to write this as an STD/HIV awareness post… but figured that all of this was inherent between the lines. Maybe not?

Thanks for the info! And I love your line: “if a guy pressures you to not use them… then he’s not really the one to have sex with.”

Well said.

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dadshouse June 4, 2008 at 9:04 am

Condom use is a choice for couples, but for a one night stand? My God, people!

http://dadshouseblog.com/2008/06/04/who-needs-protection-its-only-a-one-night-stand/

(yeah, I feel strongly about this one)

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mc June 4, 2008 at 10:34 am

Now I use them, every time, definitely. I’m not likely to get pregnant at my age, but who needs and std? Besides, one of my hats is AIDS researcher, so I feel like I have to walk the walk. So the deal now is: always use a condom unless we both get into a LTR and we both get tested.

(I did slip up with my first LTR after my divorce, though–my BF and I never used them. No I didn’t “get” anything, but I’m determined not to be such an idiot again.)

And…I still do oral sex on my guy without a condom. Is that bad?

But…does anyone else do this? I’m an otherwise feminist and rational person, but I always feel like I must “pretend” that I don’t have any condoms the first time I start to get intimate with a new guy! No I don’t do him without one, I just hold off on penetration that night and then make him bring condoms the next time. I guess otherwise I’m worried that he’ll think I’m a huge slut. (Which perhaps I am, but I’ve found that it’s not something most men like to think about).

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singlemomseeking June 4, 2008 at 10:39 am

MC, There is absolutely nothing slutty about bringing out your stash of condoms. It’s the exact opposite: getting a condom so shows how responsible and on-the-ball you are.

I have a stash of all kinds of sizes and colors (and flavors!), which lightens the tension, when you can say to him, “Choose your fancy, go for it.”

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Ms. Single Mama June 4, 2008 at 10:50 am

Learn your cycles ladies … and then you only have to use a condom (when in a relationship with an STD free partner) 10 days out of the month. Seriously. Here’s the website and you should by the book too…Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

http://www.tcoyf.com

Takes care of men begging not to use condoms…and P.S. every time one does I tell them they can wake up in the morning with my son if they want to be so careless. Try that 6:00am wake up on for size, a**H**LE. If any guy ever pressures you not to use a condom he’s a loser.

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mc June 4, 2008 at 10:57 am

Well thanks singlemomseeking, but I certainly agree that having condoms is not slutty for reals—-I’m just worried about what my guy(s) think.

Men in my older demographic (late 40′s – 50′s)–especially the nice ones who aren’t total players— have surprised me by being somewhat naive about sex.

It’s actually very frustrating. Either they have lots experience and are great in bed (but are jerky players who lie, cheat etc), or they are nice guys who are very conservative and/or clueless about sex. Even though they may have been married for 10+ years before they got divorced! And who have usually never used a condom before and who freak out over that. Is there anyone in between? Help!

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Andrea June 4, 2008 at 11:04 am

WOW.

No. Never had that problem. Not ever. Never ever had a dating partner since the divorce ask to go without, and they have always come prepared and used one when appropriate without asking.

I mean, highschool guys, maybe. But adults? Seriously? Asking you to risk your life and your future because it’s not as much fun for them?

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singlemomseeking June 4, 2008 at 11:12 am

Ms. Single Mama, one of my friends had two surprise pregnancies using the Fertility Awareness Method. She was religious about it, but, personally, I fear the inaccuracies. She now has 3 boys.

MC: I agree with you about demographics. Condoms haven’t been an issue with men my age (30s) — it’s the men who are 40+. They have seemed clueless. Or careless?

Andrea: Glad to hear that you haven’t had any challenges in this arena!

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dadshouse June 4, 2008 at 11:22 am

SMS – I’m 40+, and I use a condom every time. I wonder why you’re running into men who are clueless.

Every woman I sleep with expects condom use as much as I do. There’s no awkwardness at all. Unless we’re getting hot and heavy on the living room couch and my condom stash is in the bedroom. Then it’s a little awkward dashing naked to the back room. But not really.

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Julia June 4, 2008 at 11:28 am

(((gulp)))

Guilty party here. Before the guy I’m dating now I’d ALWAYS use a condom. In this relationship we haven’t even brought it up. We discussed that we were both tested and in the clear, but for some reason, it doesn’t even bother me that we don’t use one.

<<>>

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Julia June 4, 2008 at 11:30 am

(((Julia hangs head in shame)))

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Rebs June 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I was born in ’79, so I don’t really remember a time before HIV/AIDS. And the work that I do involves HIV/AIDS education in an international setting and a lot of the education focuses on condom negotiation for women. Women who are far from equal in their relationships. And I figure if they can do it. I can do it.

So when I started dating post-separation, I bought condoms. And I am far from shy when it comes to pulling them out when its called for. In fact, I’ve ever put them in my purse for a date in case we don’t make it to the bedroom at the end of the night, where I usually keep them.

I can’t even imagine putting my life at risk to sleep with the kind of arsehole who doesn’t respect his own health (OR MINE!) to use condoms.

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judy June 4, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Julia, don’t hang your head. I don’t use condoms because I don’t like them. I didn’t have my daughter vaccinated because I don’t like all those vaccines. There are lots of choices we make every day. I am sure that dadshouse makes some choices about some things that I would find amazing. If you are a condom user than you should be using them during oral sex..it is such an easy way to transfer STDs…

I say hats off to those who use them but don’t judge me for not.

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VJ June 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Folks, Condoms are several 1000 years old. There are old British Naval ditties mentioning condoms from the 17th century. The issued condoms during each WW, 1 & 2. So no matter the age, 9 to 99, most guys have some intimate experience with them. They may not like them, but they know about them. It’s literally the first & last best defense against STD’s & STI’s.

We have some of the fast growing populations of STD infected people in the industrialized world due to Precisely this sort of miss-education and ignorance of the issues & risks here. The fastest growing exposures are Not among the teens, it’s the Over 50 set. They can’t imagine that any of the ‘older ladies/gents’ they see might have led very active and open sex lives before they showed up on the scene. After all Franklin/Henrietta was Married for 25 years! (But he was a confirmed ‘swinger’ as was his dearly departed wife. She’s had a succession of much younger lovers since her classes at the Y included being around so many of them!)

So the whole ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ deal is yes, Quite ancient. A stalwart tradition used to one degree or another across time and nations & regions, to suit different needs & agendas. There’s even some literature on it too. But in this day and age? It can easily cost you years off your life with HIV or some other persistent STD’s. About 1/3 of every one under the age of 45 is reported to have at least One STD. So what’s anyone’s excuse for the ‘Opps’?! I know it’s all about the passion, the Moment…

Seriously, you’d think everyone was born yesterday too. Learn More about the risks here: [http://www.guttmacher.org/]

Cheers & Good Luck, ‘VJ’

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Kat Wilder June 5, 2008 at 5:15 am

singlemama and vj got it right — the people who were marred adults once AIDs hit don’t get the whole HIV/STD thing. The get divorced or widowed at midlife and enter dating with the invincible attitude of a teenager — it won’t happen to me! — if they even have the consciousness of what’s out there. I blogged about that awhile ago, “You, Me and STDs.”

Still, with all my knowledge, I have gone condomless once or twice. And even as I entered tentative relationships — in which we were not monogamous — I went condomless. Well, duh on that one!

As I now tell my teenager, every time you have sex, you have to ask yourself — am I ready to be a daddy from this day forward? Am I ready to accept herpes or HIV or HPV or clamidia or …? Cause, you know, that’s a reality …

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Jim E June 5, 2008 at 5:36 am

I remember a one night stand I had in my 20s. Like many one nighters, it was devoid of a lot of meaningful conversation. However, in the morning, as we were getting dressed, she said with real sincerity, “Thank you for using a condom.” At first I was a bit surprised because it had never occurred to me to NOT use one. But I then realized of course that there were people who don’t or won’t. I also decided then that even when people don’t bring it up, almost everyone is grateful when they are used. And realizing I was taking care of my partner (even a brief one) while not being asked overtly to do so, made me feel like a real STUD.

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littlemansmom June 5, 2008 at 7:16 am

For me, in this day and age, it’s more about STDs than pregnancy.

Yep, if I’m having sex, I’m using a condom. Scary thoughts of contracting something like AIDS and having my son standing my my bedside in the hospital frightens me, especially if it was preventable.

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Kim June 5, 2008 at 8:29 am

Rachel this post is very timely.

I have gone condom-less on a number of occasions and believe me with the ubiquitous HIV/AIDS and Campaigns, I now realize just how careless and stupid I have been. The reality is that as young women we sometimes act carelessly and we know it! We engage in unprotected sex because somewhere deep down we hope that we won’t get infected and also we believe that the odds of it happening to us are very small. That is a LIE that we tell ourself. Let us try and encourage each other to remember that ten or fifteen minutes of fun can cost us years of suffering and rob us of the chance to see our kids pass the worst. We must bare in mind that it’s not just about pregnancy, but about HIV and other dangerous STDs. Remember that the rate of new HIV infections is increasing rapidly and sooner or later if we continue to expose ourselves… it’s GOING to hit close to home!

Going condomless is a stupid decision that most of us have made at some point or the other. The time to stop is NOW!!!

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dharmagrlpa June 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I am a 36 yr old woman who had an affair with a 60 yr old man, whom I met while he was passing through town to do a speaking/playing music gig. Basically I became his PA girl and we’d hook up when his tour came through my state.
The last time we were together I had brought my own condoms,but neglected to use them. I am now the single mama to a beautiful 3 month old boy.

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dadshouse June 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I think this issue has been beat into the ground. Almost. One thing SingleMomSeeking wrote: it’s the men who are 40+. They have seemed clueless. Or careless? – Um, isn’t the woman who allows that clueless man to have condom-less sex with her equally clueless? (And not all men over 40 are clueless)

Both the man and woman have to take equal responsibility for the actions and choices they make together, even if it’s a one night stand. For convenience, I bring my own condoms to a sleepover, but if a woman already has some, great.

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singlemomseeking June 5, 2008 at 4:51 pm

This might be beat into the ground… but can I really just leave that last comment hanging, can I?

What I meant was: in my, uh, limited experience, men in this age group resist using condoms. That’s been my experience, and as I said, I’ve made a few slip-ups in my past and acquiesced to them. No more. I take responsibility for my actions. That’s why I wrote this post.

I made it clear: it the guy won’t use a condom, we don’t have sex.

I used the word “clueless” because I know these men are still out there, on the prowl. One guy who comes to mind has been online for 5+ years now.

I didn’t call YOU clueless, Dad’s House. In fact, I said the opposite on your blog: that you’re a role model for men and safe sex.

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dadshouse June 6, 2008 at 9:45 am

No worries, I didn’t feel personally attacked. But I do hate stereotypes being made against men, especially men in my demographic, be they single dads, over 40s, etc. And I take a stand whenever a statement like that is made.

As for judy’s comment – I don’t judge you for not using a condom. You aren’t good or bad, better or worse. I am offering my opinion that the act of not using a condom during a one night stand is kind of crazy, and I explain why over on my blog.

Cheers!

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Melanii June 6, 2008 at 10:08 am

Oh, thank you guys for bringing up this subject. It reminded me to stop by Planned Parenthood for a goodly sum of 30 fresh condoms for my next possibly unsuspecting quarry. It is my new resolution to insist, nicely, in my own sweet way, that condoms be a part of the bargain. Too lucky for too long, I feel. Did I just channel Yoda? Anyway, I know guys wouldn’t want to see a Costco-sized box of condoms in my home, but I figure a nice mix of super-thin and fun little knobby jobs in an, I feel, reasonable amount of 30 is respectable, and gives the option of a few per escapade. Reasonable?

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singlemomseeking June 6, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Melannii: Do tell us, did you just reach in there and grab 30 condoms with two fists? You go girl!

Sounds like just the right amount… let us know how long they last!

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walt June 6, 2008 at 7:03 pm

I’m not real clear why most of you view condoms as the only way to safe sex. How about mutual testing plus use of another reliable method of birth control (which condoms are not)? I’ve never yet had a relationship with a woman who had a problem with that approach. Yes, I don’t like condoms, and I’d rather wait to get tested so we can enjoy true intimacy and spontaneity. Is that a problem?

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walt June 6, 2008 at 7:37 pm

One further comment – the scary STD’s are the incurable ones – HPV (although a huge proportion of people already have this one), Herpes, and of course HIV. Condoms provide little protection against HPV, and imperfect protection against Herpes transmission. Condoms are considered good protection against HIV transmission, but would you really want to have sex on a regular basis with someone you were concerned might have HIV, protected by only a thin barrier of latex? For the risk averse, I think it’s clear that testing is the only correct approach (along with avoiding casual encounters).

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Cathouse Teri June 9, 2008 at 9:51 am

Yes. Many, many people do sleep around without the use of condoms.

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mark June 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

As a 44 year old guy that is now divorced and back in the dating scene, I feel that both the man and the woman need to and should talk first about sex.

I have dated some women who do not care if a condom is being used, but I do use one, and will continue to use one.

Safe sex for me and her and no wet spot in bed.

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