So you know the old condom and banana sex ed move that we all laugh at as being a little ridiculous? Turns out a lot of students aren't even getting that, because according to Cosmo, most schools in the U.S. aren't getting a crucial component of sex ed: how to obtain and how to use condoms". Yikes. And it comes from a really legitimate source. The Center For Disease Control reported that only 27 percent of school teach children how to get condoms and only 23 percent teach them how to put a condom on correctly. And seeing as putting on a condom has a huge impact on its effectiveness, it's a real problem. But don't worry, as Cosmo points out a whopping 73 percent teach students the "benefits of being sexually abstinent." Seriously? I mean it's fine if you want to abstain from sex, but not everyone wants to. And they need to know how to use condoms.
And it needs to happen in schools. It's so basic. And because you can't always get it at home— not all parents have the sex talk, even though studies show it reduces risky behavior. I remember explaining how condoms worked to my little brother, because he was starting to have sex and had no idea how to get one when we lived in a town of 250 people with only one store that was run by family friends. To think today's teens can just order them online, rather than driving to the Walmart four towns away to buy a jumbo pack, running into your science teacher, and pretending you're buying them for a buoyancy experiment. (Spoiler: He did not believe me.)
So what are we seeing in the real world? I asked actual people how they really learned how to use condoms, and it seems like we're sort of picking it up as we go along:
1. Zoe, 28
I had a pretty good experience at school. I can't remember if there was ever a banana, but I remember condoms on the table and us being told about them. It obviously didn't stay with me as much as should though. But with a table full of awkward guys and gals we were just trying not to laugh.
2. Kat, 27
We never covered how to put on condoms in health class (thanks, abstinence-only sex ed), and I was too terrified to ask my parents. I'm pretty sure I just learned from watching my first partner put one on. He would always go really really slow because he was scared of breaking it, so I had plenty of opportunity to watch his ways.
3. Summer, 25
I learned from the first guy I had sex with, pretty much the first time we had sex. Thankfully he knew what he was doing. I'm sure someone attempted to show us in high school, but to be honest I had no interest in sex at the time and probably started thinking about pizza instead.
4. Bobby, 26
My parents were the first people to teach me of the importance of a condom. In fact, I'm pretty sure I knew about condoms before I even knew how sex worked. As far as putting them on, that was taught in school during sexual education, when the condom was comedically placed on a banana. While helpful, I still manage to put the thing on backwards before correcting myself.
5. Lynne, 30
Honestly, I never learned how to put a condom on. I've never even put one on. I've always just let the guy do it.
6. Andrew, 28
Uh... It's kind of like asking how you learned to put on a hat. Also, Mrs Coren in heath class in middle school put one on a banana I'm pretty sure.
7. Rory, 28
Our sex ed program was disallowed to show us because parents deemed it "too sexual," so we were just told, like, you know, use 'em and oh yeah, don't get pregnant. (Oh, gee. How dare we learn about how to *actually* have safe sex in sex ed.) Learned some info from, I think (and also embarrassingly) Sex and The City, but had to mostly figure it out on the spot when I started having sex. I'm still not great at it and usually prefer for him to do it himself. Thanks, school admins!
8. Michelle, 28
Technically, we were taught in health class in seventh grade with a banana (which I'm realizing is rare) but I think actual learning was more through on-the-job training. Very grateful to have had sex ed though!
9. Gabrielle, 33
Those pamphlets they give out at Planned Parenthood, with the cartoons — they used to give those out when they gave you condoms, maybe they still do.
My high school boyfriend and I got very confused by the instructions to "pinch the tip" of the condom, and ended up pinching, like, an inch of it at the top and letting it flop around (don't worry, we were fine).
10. Leo, 29
I learned through trial and error. A lot more errors :(
11. Kelly, 28
I saw how to use them in health class but I don't think I really knew how to do it until I had to with my first boyfriend.
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