My first trip to Planned Parenthood was in high school. All my friends were getting on the pill. I didn't have any real sexual prospects, but everyone else was doing it, so in a rare case of positive peer pressure, I marched myself down to the clinic. I walked out the door that day armed with the brand new knowledge that the speculum was a thing, and a brown paper bag full of condoms. For the first time I wondered, “Should you carry condoms?” Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.
It was a still a while before I actually had sex, but I learned that just carrying condoms is empowering, and when I was finally ready to do the deed I was ready to roll. (I guess technically, I was ready to unroll). To me, there was never any shame or stigma about keeping condoms in my purse. At first it felt edgy and adult. Later on it felt, well, convenient — but also made me feel like I was a boss and in control. However, for some of my friends, the idea of carrying condoms made them feel like people would judge them or think they were "slutty." I don’t know about about you, but I don't want to live in a world where taking control of our own bodies and sexual health and satisfaction is stigmatized, so let's dispense the myth that carrying condoms is shameful, right now. Here's how keeping condoms on you is empowering AF.
1. You're The Boss Of Your Own Body
Making the decision to buy and keep condoms on you is a really powerful way of declaring your body autonomy. You’re taking a stance on how you chose to protect yourself and how sexual interactions are going to play out. And contrary to what you may have heard about whose job it is to make those kinds of decisions, women have a larger role in deciding when to use condoms than you might think. A recent study conducted by The Kinsey Institute along with the female health app Clue, surveyed over 95,000 women from over 200 countries about condom use and discovered that one in five women usually decide about condom use, and three quarters make that decision with a partner. So don’t be afraid to take control of the condom conversation.
2. The Sex Is So Much Better
One of the best reasons to lean into your sexual empowerment and carry condoms is it makes the sex even better. And who doesn’t want better sex? There are a lot of reasons why sex is better with a condom, like that it lasts longer and you can relax and just enjoy yourself when you’ve got your birth control and protection handled. That's why, in a study of millennials conducted by SKYN, 88 percent of condom users said they are satisfied with their sex lives versus only 82 percent of non-users.
3. Your Partner Will Be Impressed, Too
If you’re worried that carrying condoms will weird out your partners, don’t be. First of all, if they're hung up on your desire to protect both of your well-beings by being prepared, they probably don’t deserve to have sex with you! But most likely, your partner will actually be impressed and happy that you’ve come prepared. Cosmopolitan asked several men what they think about women who carry condoms and the feedback was all positive. They saw them as responsible, prepared, and confident. One respondent summed it up nicely: “It's a positive thing I think because she's owning her sexuality, she doesn't feel ashamed of it.” Nailed it.
4. You Get To Decide When And If You Have Kids
You know what is incredibly empowering? Taking control of your reproductive health. According to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. were unplanned. By taking the lead on carrying condoms, you’ve got control (literally) in your back pocket. You should be the one to decide when — if ever — you have kids. That means both having access to reproductive heath care, and being proactive by taking responsibility for your birth control. Pro tip: Having more than one form is a good idea, so consider getting on the pill or get an IUD in addition to always using condoms.
5. You Have Control Over Your Own Sexual Health
Most of all, carrying condoms is empowering because it puts you in charge of protecting your sexual health and that of your partner. Think contracting an STI is something that won’t happen to you? Consider this: According to the CDC, “more than 2 million cases of the three nationally reported STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever.” Yeah, those are odds I don’t want to bet on. Instead, stay ready by keeping condoms on you.
6. You Get To Pick The Brand You Prefer
Listen, not all condoms are created equal. There will be some brands and styles that you prefer more. Do you want something lubricated? Ribbed? Latex or Polyisoprene? If you're buying the condoms, you can pick the ones you like best. It’s OK to be a little selfish sometimes. You’re not bossy, you’re the boss.
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