There was an interesting conversation the other day on a local radio station, Z100, where they were discussing condoms and the double standard that people apparently still seem to subscribe to. The double standard I am referring to is when men carry condoms, it is acceptable. In fact, it is usually expected that they will have condoms. Men are often considered ‘responsible’ for carrying them, and in turn women may note how responsible they are for doing so. However, given the same situation, women may be perceived as “slutty” or giving the impression to men that they are promiscuous for carrying condoms; you almost never hear people calling these women responsible for carrying condoms (well, other than by sexologists). The segment even went as far as to tell women how to approach the idea of admitting you have condoms. It suggested women ask the men first and if they say no they don’t have one, then she can say, “I’m not sure, I might have some, let me go look”. By saying it this way it seems like the condoms are left over from a previous relationship and that she doesn’t really know if she has them, because if she knew she had them, she must be using them often.
I am amazed by this entire conversation for numerous reasons. 1) Is it really that taboo in 2009 for women to also own and carry condoms? 2) Do women really have to approach this topic so passively? 3) Why are women sluts for owning condoms, but men are considered responsible? 4) Is a woman who has her own condoms not being responsible?
From a sexual health standpoint, women are more likely than men to contract an STI, or the obvious, a pregnancy. There are also women who need to use specific condoms, such as polyurethane condoms or condoms with lubricants. Some lubricants and spermicides can cause irritation to the vaginal area. Therefore, some women have a specific type or brand of condom they know works well for them. So in order to move towards a more progressive and enlightened society, we as a whole have to stop with double standards of men and women in general, but especially when dealing with sex. Women should not have to tip toe around this issue in order to make their partners comfortable that they aren’t a slut. Or maybe women just need to find new partners who do not look down at this practice.