male condoms

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IUSSPI have to apologize for the paucity of blog posts this week – I’ve been attending the IUSSP International Population Conference. While there is lots of talk of sex, and one might argue that, in fact, sex is one of the key factors influencing population (haha), the act of sex, desires, pleasures, and the like have had scant mention.

On the other hand, euphemisms for sex abound. I was at a presentation earlier in which “coital dilution” was discussed. Coital dilution? Let’s consult the dictionary: sexual intercourse + adding a solvent to lower concentration. What on earth could they have been talking about? In fact, the presenter was referring to the fact that in polygynous relationships, a wife will have sex less, on average, than in a monogamous relationship. The hypothesis was that the man would have the same frequency of sex, whether monogamous or polygynous, only the sex would be spread, or diluted, between the wives. (Maybe “diffusion” would be a better term?) Hm.

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I think we’ve all seen the condom ads circulating around YouTube these days… unfortunately, due to the obscenity laws in many places, these are very rarely sexy. That said, some of them are absolutely hilarious. 15 and Counting has collected their top picks for your viewing pleasure. I’ll repost one here that I do find sexy… um, no, not because of the mother, but because of the :)~>-8-(: . (Yeah, I had to look that one up…)

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GuttmacherIn the latest issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, a quarterly journal pubished by the Guttmacher Institute, there are two articles that focus on the role of pleasure and arousal in safer sex behaviors.

One, “Women’s Experiences with Anal Sex: Motivations and Implications for STD Prevention,” found that women in the study often engaged in anal sex out of a desire to pleasure their partners or increase intimacy in their relationships. When women perceived condoms as decreasing pleasure, they were much less likely to use them for anal sex. The authors conclude that more work should be done to find ways of promoting safe and pleasurable sex.

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GACCIn the world of promoting safer sex, it’s true that university students get a lot of attention. But usually this attention is focused on their risky behavior, crazy parties, and multiple partners. This year, the Great American Condom Campaign decided to take safer sex to the grassroots level.

Instead of simply recruiting peer educators, this campaign actually sends supplies – 500 condoms – to students who volunteer to be “SafeSites”; places where other students can go for condoms and information. They also have a website that is also encouraging students to take action, for instance against retailers who will only sell condoms from behind the counter.

What caught my eye this time though was the story of a Texas State University senior who distributed the condoms she received through a “Safer Sex is Sexy” campaign. Though there aren’t many details on the website yet, she promises to post more photos and information. There is a video of her describing the success of her campaign:

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On a recent trip to the Condomerie, I couldn’t help but think that the world of pleasurable condoms had exploded while I was under the sheets somewhere, always buying the same trusty variety. While I recently posted about condom design innovations, that article was just the tip of the iceberg.

Size

Coripa CondomsWhile I once had mourned the fact that TheyFit stopped (indefinitely?) producing custom-sized condoms, I was delighted to find that someone has stepped in to fulfill the need for condoms that come in many sizes so you can find the one that feels the best. The new brand is called Coripa, and they boast 55 different condom sizes  to fit anyone’s needs. Similar to the TheyFit, you first print off a pattern, take your measurements, and order accordingly. Brilliant. While Coripa is based in Germany and their listing of retailers looks rather limited, the folks at the Condomerie will ship condoms to you anywhere in the world.

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We just received a press release about a new BBC World documentary on reclaiming condoms for love and pleasure in Mozambique. I haven’t gotten to see it yet (it was airing at 3:30am today, but I was clearly still asleep!), but it sounds like Sheila is doing a great job putting a pleasurable spin on condoms. Here’s the summary:

Twenty-two year old Sheila is a trained ‘agony aunt’. In her office at the North East Secondary school in Maputo, she listens to students’ stories about love, sex, birth control and AIDS, and offers advice – and free condoms. But out of 8,000 students, only 40 or 50 come to collect the condoms on offer. The problem, Sheila reckons, is the condom’s image – which is medical, off-putting, and inextricably linked in people’s minds with sickness and death. “HIV is not an issue for the young people”, Sheila says, “HIV is a campaign issue. It is not that they ignore it, but it is not their problem – they are in love and there is no place for HIV in a passionate relationship”.

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