Sex Panther: Should I use a condom?


Sex Panther

This week’s column is the second installment in a multi-part series on STIs.

For part two of my series on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), let’s dive into whether you should use protection or not during sexual encounters of the third kind (oo, spooky!). Spoiler alert: you should probably just use protection. The only condition where it is ok to forego using protection to avoid STIs is if you are with a partner you trust completely, who you know has been tested for STIs and does not have any. Your relationship with your partner may be monogamous (oo, monogamy — even spookier!) or your partner may have other partners — just make sure they are using protection with their other partners, or that you know everyone involved is STI-free. 

There are a few important things that I’ve left out of the map (in the print edition) — for instance, if you’re going rollerblading, you should wear knee pads for a different kind of protection. On a more serious note, there are lots of different ways that sex happens, and you should make sure you are protected for all of them. For example, using a dental dam or a condom is the only way to protect yourself from getting an STI. If you’re planning on any kind of anal penetration, you should use a condom and lube. If you are planning on both vaginal and anal penetration, do not transition between the two willy-nilly. You need to use a new condom if you go from anal to vaginal. Don’t go between the two without either removing the condom and putting a new one on, or calling it quits after the “butt stuff”. 

The bottom line is that pure trust is not only scary, it’s also risky. If you have any kind of icky feeling that you should be using protection, then use protection. There’s no one size fits all approach to sex and protection (although all condoms are the same size…). When in doubt, just use a gosh-darn condom or dental dam! And, if you want to make protection fun and Halloween-themed this weekend, find someone on SPECS and beg them for a glow-in the-dark condom. Stay tuned next week for part 3 of my series on STIs: how to ask someone to use protection (oooo, asking — spookiest!).