Natural condom company Sustain is on a mission to get 100,000 women to pledge to practice safe sex through their new campaign, Get On Top. And for every pledge, they’ll donate a condom to a young woman in partnership with Bedsider and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. That means not only do you get join a group of awesome women pledging to take control of their own reproductive health by practicing safe sex, you also get to help a young woman who may have a hard time getting her hands on her own condoms.
If anyone knows how to talk about sex, it’s Sustain co-founder Meika Hollender. Hollender and her dad, Jeffrey Hollender, started Sustain about three years ago with the goal of making condoms safer and more environmentally-friendly. While her dad has been working for environmental change for years — he was one of the co-founders of the natural cleaning product company Seventh Generation — Meika brings a young, female perspective on the issue of safe sex to the table. But, like a lot of women who speak openly and publicly about anything sex-related, she’s faced a lot of nasty backlash.
“After almost three years of building a sexual wellness business, I have experienced everything from slut-shaming to being pulled from speaking events because of what I sell,” Hollender tells Bustle. “This campaign was a culmination of all I had personally experienced since starting Sustain as well as all the stories I'd heard from other women. I wanted to take a stand, and put a stake in the ground, saying yes I'm a woman; yes I have sex. And yes, safe sex matters.”
“Until we as women feel comfortable and proud about our sexuality, we will continue to live in a world where people can tear us down.”
In an article published last month in Teen Vogue, Hollender describes how she was attacked in the comments section of the first article ever published about Sustain. Commenters talked about a mole on her bottom lip, claiming it was herpes, and questioning her own safe sex practices. They told her she should be “be using condoms not selling condoms,” and their comments hit home — hard. But the experience, along with all the other sex negative BS she’s had to deal with, made her realize just how important it is for women to talk openly and honestly about sex.
“It’s time to stop the shame, and start a conversation around sex, safe sex, sexuality, and everything that goes with it,” Hollender said in Teen Vogue. “Until we as women feel comfortable and proud about our sexuality, we will continue to live in a world where people can tear us down.”
So building pride in our sexuality is obviously the number one reason we should all pledge to #GetOnTop when it comes to safe sex — but why else is it important? Here are six reasons. But first, check out our video on sex positions to help last longer:
1. You Care About Your Body
And you know that condoms protect your body from unwanted STIs and unwanted pregnancies. When used correctly, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing an unplanned pregnancy and 100 percent effective at preventing HIV. They’re also the most effective way to protect yourself from other STIs if you’re having penetrative intercourse.
2. You Care About Your Future
Birth control of all types gives women control over when we want to have children. While that may seem kind of “whatever” to those of us born post-condom invention (so, all of us) and those of us born post-hormonal birth control invention (most of us), it’s actually revolutionary.
For most of human history, women haven’t had any say over when they got pregnant, not only because these birth control methods simply didn’t exist but also because most women weren’t allowed to say “no” to sex. (Marital rape is another concept that’s very new in the history of humanity, unfortunately.) Condoms give you the power to say “I’d like to focus on my career right now” or even simply “I’m not ready.” And that, my friends, is huge.
3. You Want A Planned Pregnancy
One of my biggest anxieties is that the first time I tell my partner that I’m pregnant, it’ll be bad news instead of good. I really, really want to have kids — but I want it to be a planned pregnancy, one that we’re both excited about. I want to show him that stick with two lines and see his face light up with excitement, not drop with dread. As someone who has chosen not to take hormonal birth control, condoms help me make that dream a reality.
According to Sustain, 48 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. With all of the technology available to us today, folks, we can do better than that.
4. You Don’t Want An STI
There’s no more effective way to protect yourself from an STI or STD when you're having sex than with a condom. By providing a physical barrier that keeps ejaculate off of your body, condoms are basically like a wall keeping out invaders.
5. You Want To Give Other Women Access To Condoms
The Get On Top pledge includes a donated condom for every single pledge given. Don’t you want to help a sister out? Go to the Get On Top site and join the pledge today.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)