1. I like sweet things
2. I like safe-sex
3. I like condoms
The combination of these partialities doesn’t mean I want artificially flavored devices put into my vagina to protect me from pregnancy and Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STI). Hint: I’m referring to flavored condoms.
But Hannah, you’re protesting, how can you criticize a product that encourages safer sex practices? Rest assured, I’m the first to say condoms are one of the most convenient, effective, cheap and multi-purpose forms of protection when used correctly. However, this is not true of flavored condoms.
Contrary to popular belief, flavored condoms are not meant for intercourse, and can be dangerous when used as the only form of protection. With no disclaimers on the box or warning signs to remind us of this fact however, we often assume flavored condoms are effective contraceptive and protective devices. This is partly due to general misinformation and partly due to conflicting marketing techniques. Condom manufacturers like Durex (a brand I usually trust), confusingly combines pleasurable condom attributes, sending mixed messages about how to use them. They advertise a single condom brand as both flavored (oral sex only) and ribbed for her pleasure (intercourse only). This leaves even informed consumers baffled.
Pharmaceutical companies use misleading marketing tactics to make profit at the expense of their customers. Old news. What’s so bad about a little sugar on latex anyway? Can flavored condoms really be dangerous?
First: hygiene and health. The chemical make-up of your vagina is naturally acidic, composed of bacteria, which helps to monitor its chemical balance and keep you clean and healthy. Sugar alters this balance, changing bacterial makeup and raising levels of yeast. This means that flavored condoms can result in yeast, bacterial and even bladder infections. (Believe me – I’ve been there.)
Second: additives and chemicals. If you look at the actual ingredients of flavored condoms, sugar is not among them. Instead, the condoms are coated with glycerine, sodium saccharine or aspartame. Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) recently received press for its possible correlation with cancer. If I don’t want it in my food, I certainly don’t want it in my vagina.
Third: sexual pleasure and safety. Sugar and sugar-like substances act as drying agents. (Honey is often used to dry up babies’ umbilical cords!) Using condoms with a sugary coating effectively counteracts lubrication, whether synthetic or natural, that would normally allow pleasurable interaction. Furthermore, a dry condom is much more likely to break during intercourse, resulting in dangerous unwanted contact with bodily fluids. Pregnancy and infection can result.
So, now you know: flavored condoms are not for intercourse. Spread the news! For maximum safety and pleasure, remember it’s your mouth that craves chocolate, not your vagina.