January 15, 2007

Desperate Housewives and Condom Use

Just finished watching Desperate Housewives 2x13. The entire episode seems to be an advert for using various forms of birth control. However one niggling problem is cropping up:

The girl keeps saying that condoms are 85% effective. Which is total bollocks. Condoms effectively reduce the transmission of HIV by about 85%. Condoms are only  85% effective when not properly used but 98% effective when properly used. Bearing in mind that they've made condoms as foolproof as possible the vast majority of that 15% of "typical-use" folk are complete smacktards. 

 This is worrying because it's difficult-enough to encourage condom-use in men these days. If you're going around giving them the impression that it's "only" 85% effective then the typical reaction might be "Oh well if they're not so effective then I may as well rely on her using the pill!". 

Silly buggers. 

 Now remember boys, if you're going to be having premarital sex (and therefore put yourself on a highway to hell) at least don't burden me and other responsible folk with the costs of your unwanted seed and/or STDs.  And girls... remember - no glove, no love... if Santa's got a present, tell him to make sure to wrap it etc. etc. 

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. It also seems to be a little-known fact that the failure rate is not per-use, but over a year of usage where failure is defined by pregnancy – so 2% of women using condoms correctly as the only method of birth control would get pregnant in a year. Similar to your example I remember Rachel on Friends telling Ross that “condoms only work 97% of the time”, which, although more accurate than Desperate Housewives, is still rather misleading. Kids! Don’t get your sex education from US television…

    15 Jan 2007, 23:49

  2. it’s difficult-enough to encourage condom-use in men these days.

    This is something I really don’t understand. As, although men don’t have to suffer through the phsyical effects of pregnancy, surely the thought of children (or if you are a mercenary type: child support payments for 18 years) is enough of an incentive to be safe. Seriously, I don’t get it.

    16 Jan 2007, 21:26

  3. bq.This is something I really don’t understand. As, although men don’t have to suffer through the phsyical effects of pregnancy, surely the thought of children (or if you are a mercenary type: child support payments for 18 years) is enough of an incentive to be safe. Seriously, I don’t get it.

    It’s stupid, but it’s the same reason why people continue to drink and drive or get in a car without wearing a seatbelt, cycle without a helmet etc. It’s the “It’ll-never-happen-to-me” factor. The only difference being that while a seatbelt is a minor comfort, men seem to really enjoy intercourse without the condom. Which leads them to do stupid things. The possible consequences seem so distant until they actually occur.

    17 Jan 2007, 04:23

  4. Alex

    From the perspective of a sexually active male:

    Sex is a better experience for a man without using a condom. Using condoms is awkward – for many reasons including having to stop, find one, and put it on – it’s often embarassing, and frankly, sex feels better if you’re not using one (admittedly I’m not experienced with all the various flavoured and or sensual-enhancement style of condoms available to buy, just, y’know, normal ones). And above all that most average people, once sexually aroused, don’t want to stop even if they discover that they haven’t got one.

    It would be interesting, I think, to get a range of perspectives on this. Here are some questions I’d love to get some different people to answer: if you’re with a partner, and you’re messing about, getting turned on, at what point do you start to think “between us, have we got a condom”? Do you ask him/her if they have, or tell them that you have? If so, when do you ask, or do you just wait until the last minute? If you don’t have a condom between you, would you – be honest – go ahead anyway? If so, would you tell your partner to make sure he withdraws before ejaculation? (Or if you’re the male, make sure you do?) If you use a condom, is it you that puts it on, or would you get your partner to do it? What happens if his/your erection goes away while one of you is getting the condom out? Do you keep it ready and try to get the erection back? Do any of these answers change if the following are true or false: the woman is on the pill / you are having a one-night stand / you are sleeping with your long-term boy- or girl-friend / you have both had clear STD tests / you know or have reason to suspect that one of you has an STD?

    Are you, in fact, actually thinking about anything... or do you just want to have sex?

    Sure, the facts remain thus: using a condom is many, many, many times safer than using simply the withdrawal method, or indeed using nothing and relying on chance, or the morning after pill, or something else. But I’m trying to illustrate that regardless of the facts, safe sex simply isn’t a black and white “no glove, no love” issue. We’re not configured for that way of thinking biologically, and it’s fair to say that most of us are at that age in our lives where sex drive is an extremely powerful, if not overwhelming influence (sometimes).

    Anyway. Just trying to contribute another perspective :¬)

    17 Jan 2007, 12:32

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