CONDOMS: WOMEN MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER
*Heteronormativity is the worst and for that, I apologize if this post offends or angers anyone of a same-sex relationship. You are excluded far too many times and a post about sexual safety shouldn’t be one of them. The below article is discriminatory in nature due to the content being for “female health with a male sexual partner”. I invite anyone to take this information and expand upon it with your own findings and your personal encounters. There is always room on this site for more information and for different points of view. Thank you.
A Fuck Boi Strikes Again.
On Tuesday, May 17th 2015 I found myself walking down the far back aisle of a Seattle Target in search of a pack of condoms. The night before I was in a situation where I unwillingly denied sexual acts because my partner at the time did not have protection. It was in that moment I vowed to carry my own condoms during dates, because men couldn’t be responsible enough and my IUD simply will not suffice when “monogamy” isn’t established.
As I stood in middle of the Target aisle my eyes washed over and all I thought was “Fuck. What kind of condoms do I buy? Wait. What the fuck.. There are SIZES? Wait, they’re also $10 a PACK? I already have to buy tampons and THIS $2,000 FUCKING IUD.” The amount of options were overwhelming and I felt once again forced to make a decision of choosing what I liked based on what a male centered item said I would like. I ended up purchasing 2 different kinds of Trojans, one “ribbed for her pleasure” and the other apparently smelled like cherries. And not real cherries, but like artificial Jolly Rancher kind. Obviously I second guess some 2015 choices.
What happened following the use of those Trojan’s was me thinking my body just wasn’t made for sex. After a week of a weird PH imbalance and irregular discharge I booked an appointment to get a pap and STD testing. My partner said he had not been with anyone else but…. Better safe than ever relying on a heterosexual CIS male to tell the truth ever, sorry.
In my PCP (Primary Care Provider) office, I received a PAP and standard STi testing. My PCP was an ARNP (Registered Nurse Practitioner) in her late 50s and had an old fashion demeanor about her. She proceeded to tell me to always wear protection, even though I explicitly informed her I did. She then informed me of the dangers of having multiple partners and how common STis are to attract. I directed her to my chart where I listed I had 1 partner in the past 6 months but perhaps that day she didn’t actually want to read my chart. She completed the screenings with follow up instructions being that they will call me if anything is abnormal.
During that appointment, there were no questions about any changes to my lifestyle. No questions about my diet. No questions about my exercise regime. NO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE KIND OF CONDOM OR LUBRICANT USED. Just the assumption that being a single woman and having sex meant I needed to be shamed and have no other portion of my life looked at. I left the appointment bewildered. I left the appointment spending $25 on a copay and was later charged $50 for test results. I left the appointment and went into a “I cant even have fun” funk.
Unsurprisingly my results came back clear. After loads of yogurt and an awkward conversation with the guy that resulted in abstinence my symptoms cleared up. (Also a footnote to any gentlemen reading this, be aware that even in the most casual of circumstances a “are you good to go :P “ text message will never end well.)
My emotions were so up and down, from the shame of a fellow woman in healthcare to the scrutiny of my vagina that I fell into an 8 month stint of celibacy. I can’t speak on behalf of all athletic women, but for me training can easily take the place of intimacy. And that’s what happened. For almost a year men came and went but I couldn’t commit to anything physical for fear of feeling weird afterwards. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 that I got a clue.
MADE FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN
Thanks to Instagram, I saw an advertisement for chemical free, organic tampons.
A giant light bulb went off. And I thought.. Wait. What are in the tampons I have been using.
And then I pondered; what are in the condoms that have been used in me? Wait. What are the ingredients in condoms?
And now, dear reader, I invite you at this VERY moment. Go get the pack of condoms in your house and read the ingredients.
Oh.. have you reached a problem?
Can you not find an ingredient lists on your condom wrappers? How about the boxes? How about the manufacturers website?
Here’s Trojans website. Take a look.
The FDA doesn't require condom companies to list their ingredients.
In fact, here’s the actual form that companies are required to submit to the FDA in order to put their products on the market. There is no requirement for an ingredient list.. AT ALL.
The FDA puts an emphasis on STI transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention, but does zero effort to ensure people know what ingrediants are going on their pensis or in their vaginas. After some mosing around the interwebs, I found a blog post which list what ingredients are in condoms after all. I’d much rather show people a scholarly article but I think this is a good start.
Some of the ingredients listed: Benzocaine, Dry dusting Powder, Glycerin (which was on those “cherry flavored” sweeten condoms… which also cause PH inbalances), Lidocaine (more numbing), N-9 and more.
I started to think, Wait, if my body doesn’t like Trojan or Lifestyles, what would it like? Does my body not like condoms at all? How do I know if all of this isn't a latex allergy?
I needed to try process of elimination. I needed to try a brand that doesn’t have any of the ingredients listed above and if I still had issues, then look at latex.** I needed to find a condom brand which list all their ingredients. I needed to find a brand that recognizes condoms are used for both sexes. One that also has the female body as mind.
The brand that has seriously changed my viewpoint on sex has been L.
This might sound weird, but I’ve never used a condom before and actually felt like myself after sex. No smell, no weird discharge, no inflammation, no second guessing my choices because I feel like it’s a sign that I’m uncomfortable. And no passive aggressiveness towards my partner because I’m thinking “where has he been tho…”
I don’t write this blog to sell items. I write it to let people see a different viewpoint and if a small-ish company is out there making ANY item specifically for women (let alone an item considered by the FDA as “For Males”) then I’m going to get EXCITED.
And this brand is CHANGING SHIT UP.
I would also like to let you know not all personal lubricants are created equally. Some are spiked with gelatin and actual corn syrup which works against natural secretions and can lead to tears in the vaginal walls. In my search for female centered condoms, I came across this amazing personal lubrication. It’s all organic, all natural and smells so strongly of lavender in the BEST way possible. It’s made of 90% aloe vera and feels amazing as well. The brand is Aloe Cadabra.
how can you try out l.?
You may be wondering, especially as a woman, where do I buy these items?
I purchased both L. and Aloe Cadabra from Thrive Market and had them delivered to my door within 3 business days. I was able to save $22 MSRP and you should too. Just copy and paste this lync ( http://thrv.me/safesex ) or hit the button below. No coupon code required at check out.
The other way to purchase is right through L’s website. They offer delivery options such as a one time buy or a monthly recurring statement. (It’s at a discounted rate so if any of y'all are in a relationship.. This could be a good and simple option). As for stores, I haven’t found L. condoms in major stores yet, but I have seen their period products in Target so maybe it will be there soon!
I know this is definitely the MOST personal thing I’ve ever written, so thanks for reading all the way to the end. I’m blown away by how many other women also feel irritation, swelling or imbalance after intercourse but no one really talks about it in a shame free environment.
If you’d like to try out Thrive Market, they are currently having a free month trial for any new user. I was able to purchase both the lube and condoms from home and had them delivered, discreetly to my door with free delivery. (I also order my protein powder Vega and night time tea, Yogi from there as well<3) So check them out. And Again, use this Link.
To save %25 off your first purchase <3
Have you had any embarrassing stories regarding condoms or experience "Doctor Shaming" when asking questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t worry, I won’t post anything public without explicit permission.
*The above artwork was made by Viv Quinn, an artists in Europe. Feel free to check out her work. And thank you to everyone purchasing L. through the links provided. This article took 52 hours to write and create, so thank you for using the referrals <3