10 Useful Prophylactic Facts

Outside of getting your sperm supply cut off, male birth control is limited to condoms and abstinence.  Thanks to my American public school sex-education course, you can guess which of these two I learned about…

I’m one of millions of men in this country who was vastly unprepared for and culturally dissuaded from using condoms.  And considering that condoms are essentially the most vital tool for safe sex, sexually active people have got to educate themselves more!

When people use them correctly, condoms are 98% effective.  However, If you just know how to put one on right, you’re already ahead of the curve.  But if you’ve got that first lesson in your sex transcripts, here’s a selection of other vital infortmation for your everyday sex life:

10 Things I Never Learned About Condoms in Sex-Ed

  1. Most Condoms are NOT vegan
    Renouncing the consumption of all animals and animal byproducts is no simple feat, especially when people learn that most condoms are not vegan.  The majority of condoms smooth the latex with a milk protein called casein.  If you don’t want the vegan police to come for you, you should invest in some vegan alternatives.  While most non-latex condoms are incidentally vegan, you may need to double check that.  For a list of confirmed vegan options, follow Vegan.com’s recommendations.
  2. You might NOT have a Latex Allergy
    Research shows that less than 1% of the US population is legitimately allergic to latex. Many who have reactions to latex condoms are actually reacting to certain chemicals (like casein) that are often used in their production.  So if you’re afraid of an allergy, get a doctor to confirm that before you rule out a GIANT portion of the condom market.  While you can try testing at home by trying out different latex condoms until your partner goes into anaphylactic shock; this is not a preferred method to determine allergies, regardless of how hot it would be to blast your partner with an epipen mid-coitus.
  3. Lambskin Sex is NOT Safe Sex
    Lambskin condoms do not protect against viral STDs, like HIV and herpes.  While they do protect against children, the cutest of all the sexually transmitted diseases, viruses are tiny enough to get through the pores in lambskin.  So if you only like the feeling of lambskin, you better only be worried about getting children from your partner.
  4. Buy Online to Save
    Just like printer ink, the condom market preys on desperate people who have run out.  But if you purchase before you need, you pay a fraction of the price!  Even if you’re buying the “best value” at your local pharmacy, you’ll pay half that amount if you order online.  I order in bulks of 100-count packages where I can easily find options that cost $0.05 USD per condom.   While 100 condoms may seem like a lot, condoms are generally good for 5 years (2 years if they have spermicidal lubricant).  Step your safe sex game up and buy for a year of fucking, not just a night.
  5. American Condoms are Rare
    More than 5 billion condoms worldwide are sold every year, according to Michael S. Zedalis, senior vice president in charge of science and technology for condom-maker Ansell Limited.  Of all the brands on the market, the only American company who makes American condoms is Trojan.  Continued support of the American economy means buying American condoms for all your banging needs.
  6. Condom Climate is Important
    Keeping condoms in your wallet or your car is sure useful in a pinch.  But for maximum longevity, condoms need to be kept in a cool, dry place.  The regular frictions put on the average wallet by the average man can deteriorate the condom or puncture the packaging, causing failures.  Keeping them in your car’s glove box can have a similar effect on the condoms.  Excluding the frictions of the glove box, condoms should never be stored anywhere it’s over 100 degrees or cooler than 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  I keep my condoms in an empty Altoids tin in my breast pocket.  It doesn’t get too warm there, not too much turbulence, and I’ve got the room for 4 condoms and a packet of lube!
  7. Flavored Condoms are Probably ONLY for the Mouth
    The same is true for flavored lubricants.  It would be neat if they said this ANYWHERE on the package, but they generally don’t mention that the sugars that make these taste so good also put women at a higher risk for infections like a yeast infection.  While we’re on the subject of women-friendly condoms, spermicidal lubricants also cause irritation which can cause UTIs in women.
  8. Size Matters…kinda
    Here’s a chart for condoms and their sizes.  Unstretched, the smallest “snugger fit” has 58% of the volume that you’ll find in the biggest condom on the market.  That being said, anybody who has ever stuffed their whole head in a condom will tell you that condoms are plenty flexible!  Most “large sized” condoms are the same size as the regular-sized option, but cost 33% more.  Let it never be said that men don’t fall prey to vanity sizing.
  9. Condoms are Especially Important for Buttsex
    While it’s a surefire way to avoid pregnancy.  Just because you’re thinking outside the box, doesn’t mean you’re playing it safe.  Clinical studies show that unprotected anal sex has over twice the HIV risk of its vaginal counterpart.
  10. Condoms Have Tons of Uses
    Even if you’ve decided you’d rather not have sex than do it with a condom on, it’s still beneficial to keep a few in the house!  If you need to waterproof anything or just need a quick bit of latex for tying off something, condoms are good for lots of stuff other than fucking.  And if you have them on hand for those occasions, you won’t be caught unawares if you ever need them for their intended purpose…

I’m always a little shaken by how little people know about condoms.  Often enough, all people know about condoms are the problems they have with them.  If I could address some of those greivances:

  • I can’t feel anything with the condom on
    You lucky duck.  Here I am thinking about baseball and counting prime numbers to stop myself from finishing too fast, and all you have to do is make a prudent decision about the health of yourself and your partner.  Pressuring partners into having unprotected sex with this line is disturbingly common.
    I understand why.  It’s a much more acceptable way of saying “I want to put us both at risk for some reason, and I’m going to bait you into agreeing with me by calling into question your desire for approval.”
    Bad form.
  • The condom is too tight, it cuts off circulation
    I hope your partner isn’t too tight, then!  For real though, try out all the different options on this chart before you decide that no condom in the world has enough room for your enormous pecker.  If you’ve used every single one to no avail, then maybe invest in some female condoms.
  • It takes too long to put it on
    If several seconds is a sizable portion of the time you’re spending making love, you have bigger problems than condom use.  If you feel like putting on a condom interrupts the flow of your session, there are plenty of sexy ways to get the condom on.  Just like taking time in foreplay to get your partner ready, you shouldn’t have a problem with the time it takes to get yourself ready.

That’s just some stuff that I really wish someone had taught me back in the day when I had “sex ed”.  Is there anything you wish you got taught about safe sex when you were in sex ed?  Any important pieces of information about prophylactics I could add to the list?  Feel free to drop those comments in the comments!

Easing him in

I used to be a juggalo.

There.  I said it.

It’s easy to understand how I transitioned out of that lifestyle…

I also used to be a diehard monogamist.  This was a little more precarious of a lifestyle to vacate.  Thankfully, I had a partner who held my hand step-by-baby-step unto the exotic lands of nonmonogamy.  Seven years later, now we giggle about the way we used to be.

Polyamory was her idea.  It’s a common misconception that all polyamorous couples are the result of a man who can’t commit to monogamy and an ineffectual woman not holding him to ‘real’ relationship standards.  In my experience, there are just as many women looking to steer their relationship to a non-exclusive path as there are men.  While the lady may be ready to embrace this progressive, new-age relationship style that she’s read all about at Jezebel, her guy might be unexposed and hesitant to dive right in.

Polyamory can be like playing Skyrim.  If someone has never played an Elder Scrolls game, it can be confusing and intimidating; full of strange rules and vocabulary.  The learning curve is so steep, that some guys just go back to playing Candy Crush before they learn their first Dragonshout.

I would have snapped right back to Candy Crush monogamy if my lady didn’t offer me a few hands to ease me into the ethical slut I am today.

So if you are a lady looking to pop your guy’s poly cherry, here are a few things you can do to break him in smoothly:

Baby Steps

When you’re approaching a dramatically different kind of relationship, it’s hard to go too slow.  It’s real easy to go too fast, though.  If polyamory is more your idea than his, you may need to move more his pace than your own.  You may even need to employ some Poly Training Wheels until your guy can pedal on his own.

Poly Training Wheels are addendums to your relationship that make the steps into conventional polyamory that much easier.  While they are certainly useful in acclimating neophytes to polyamory, these are not long term practices.  If these addendums are seen in a relationship that’s been poly for more than a year or so, many seasoned polyamorists will scoff like they just saw a grown-ass man riding a bike with training wheels or eating a hot dog with ketchup.  Poly Training Wheels include the like of:

  1. The One Penis Policy
    Also known as The Highlander Penis.  This is where the guy is allowed to have heterosexual relations outside his lady, but the gal is only allowed to date other girls.  Overlooking the glaring homophobia and misogyny that’s spilling out of this policy, it’s not without its use.  First time polyamorists often fall prey to the question “What does my metamour have that I don’t?” and all of the insecurities that are tied to it.  When the differences between a man and his partner’s partner are made out of chromosomes, it’s easy to stem those insecurities.  When I was just starting, we never had an official One Penis Policy.  But my partner was bisexual and was only finding women who she was interested in.  Later on, when she started seeing more men, my reactions were tempered by my previous experience of seeing her with women.
  2. Package Deal
    This is where couples see someone new, just not separately.  While there is the much hated stereotype of the Unicorn Hunting couple, as a temporary arrangement to get a guy used to the idea of his partner with other people; it could be beneficial for both partners to be present for any new romance.  It might even be a good chance for the guy to explore some of his non-heterosexual tendencies in a safe space!
  3. Do What You Know
    Some polyamorists have a rule to not get involved with their partner’s friends.  For many beginners, though, it helps to have a rule that you only date each others’ friends.  Even though you risk compromising your social circles to do it, it can be helpful for a guy to know that his lady is just out with Kyle, his drummer from the band.  Insecurities can run rampant when a poly newbie thinks about his partner out with a strange man of mysterious intentions.  This all ties into the old adage about the evil you know.
    While this kind of familiarity can certainly be comfortable for dating, it can be tremendously uncomfortable and awkward for breaking up.  Given the turnover rate on your average relationships, consider the possibility post breakup fallout in your social circle.  You may even want to consider getting involved with one of your partner’s acquaintances instead of friends…
  4. Veto Powers
    This is where any outside relationships are conditional upon mutual approval.  If there comes a time when either of you disapproves of an extraneous relationship, the relationship may be vetoed and the rejection must be accepted.  I put “Veto Powers” as a Training Wheel, but I feel like plenty of veteran poly couples practice de-facto veto powers.  My partners and I don’t have veto powers because I know that if they don’t like any new dates I have, I quickly lose interest.  And vise-versa with their partners.
  5. The Panic Button
    When I first got started in polyamory, I hit a few snags.  Whenever I would talk to my lady about it, she would lay monogamy back on the table for me.  Just the act of her saying that put me so much at ease!  If monogamy is still an option for the two of you, it can be very gratifying to hear that option confirmed.  The option is malleable too.  If things are getting tough, you could have some temporary exclusivity, or put them on an indefinite hiatus until the two of you are in a good place again.

Building Blocks

As things progress, you’ll hopefully outgrow training wheels as you grow into a really developed polyamorous couple.  But not all fundamentals are ablative.  Some useful building blocks will help your guy adjust from the start until the two of you are hosting key parties at the retirement home.  Useful building blocks include:

  1. Check Ups
    This is a valuable skill for monogamous and polyamorous couples, but it’s got special weight for a guy shifting away from monogamy.  Obviously, it can be unsettling to be hitting your guy up every day to assess his levels of satisfaction concerning your intimated fraternization.  But it can be beneficial for both of you to chat about how you feel about the relationship over dinner or drinks once a week or so.  Maybe you can even convince him to start writing a blog about polyamory and name it after his favorite kind of pen…
  2. Body Rights
    These take all forms:  No anal sex outside of him.  No cowgirl riding on anyone else.  No twerking if he’s not on the dance floor.  While these are heavily employed in the kink community, lighter versions of them can make any relationship more intimate.  Just because polyamorists deny overarching exclusion, doesn’t mean we’ve boycotted all kinds of exclusion.  The most common form of body rights I see extended is the practice of fluid bonding, which is having exclusive unprotected sex with a chosen partner.
  3. Relationship Hierarchy
    Plenty of poly couples use terms like “primary” and “secondary” to explain the levels of commitment they have to the various partners in their life.  While stratifying the people in your heart can certainly be problematic, it can also diffuse many problems.  Not all polyamorists use these terms, but most usually end up giving a special preference to a single partner who takes no title.  The title of “primary” is an honorific with terms that you can leave undefined if you really want.  Calling somebody your “primary” carries a level of security in the stratification.
  4. Schedule Rights
    I can’t imagine a world of functioning polyamorists without Google Calendar.  If you are ready to take your relationship to that level, sharing your calendar with someone else is a good way to keep them abreast of your life outside of them.  If you want to step up the commitment, have one night every week that is dedicated to being spent together.  Every Wednesday is dedicated to one of my partners in my G-Calendar as “Hump Day“.  If you’re just getting started, it can be helpful to set defined limits on the amount of time you dedicate to other partners.  You could talk about something like limiting the number of outside dates you both have to 2 per week.

This is just what worked for me.  If you’ve had success with any other methods, please post them in the comments!

Most people’s first experience with polyamory will usually determine whether they retreat forever back to monogamy or if they want to make nonmonogamy a part of their lives for good.  When I was being brought into the poly-fold, I was brought in just right.  Horrific as it may sound, I’d probably go back to being a juggalo before I tried monogamy again.

The Elusive Pegasus

Reddit, a website where slightly intelligent people sometimes go, is where I met my most recent date.  A guy and a girl who wanted to bring another man into the fray.  Their ad said they were looking for the usuals (DP, bukkake, exhibitionist humiliation, etc…).

Naturally, I was happy to oblige them with a message.

We exchange for a few days and they agree to meet up with me for brunch.

Over some mimosas and french toast, we discuss the basics.  The who/what/where/when/which-holes of it all.  After that’s all been arranged, out of sheer egotistical curiosity, I want to know about who else they’ve screened as a potential third.  They told me I was the top-rated individual.  Flattering though it may be, being the most impressive sample from internet dating is not necessarily as impressive as they might be looking for.

I bring up the idea of coming to one of the poly events, trying to find a guy there, maybe even a girl.

Then the guy says something:
“It’s easy to find girls who want to be in a threesome.”

That struck me, because he was essentially telling me that one of the most definitively popular male fantasies was not particularly difficult to achieve.

He went on:
“It’s much more difficult to find a guy who wants to be a part of your threesome.”

In my experience, this has definitely been the case.  I had never thought about it before, though.

Perhaps one of the most teased tropes in the world of polyamory is the conventional couple looking to add another girl to the relationship.  These couples are commonly referred to as Unicorn Hunters because a single, stable, bisexual woman who’s willing to get involved in a pre-existing relationship is thought to be as likely as a mythical creature.

On the much more rare side of that is the couple looking to bring in another man into the relationship.  They want a comfortable, non-threatening, possibly bisexual gentleman.  These couples are sometimes known as Pegasus Hunters.  And depending on who you talk to, a pegasus is harder to find than a unicorn.

I am inclined to agree with that sentiment, based on how little our society does to foster the bisexual agenda.  They do even less to foster the bisexual men’s agenda.  Specifically, I’m thinking of the following factors:

  1. No-Homo Syndrome
    A girl can kiss other girls at a bar to attract the attention of men (Read: Barsexuals), and this is thought of as wild and playful.  A dude can’t go out to the club and start necking his bros to get ladies interested.  It’s hard to hit 2 or 3 on the Kinsey Scale when there’s no incentive to hit 1.
  2. Fence-rider-phobia
    Many bisexuals face discrimination the conservative right, who lump them in with Gays, Trans people, and anybody who orders a Mojito.  But they also get discrimination from both sides, as there are plenty of people in the gay community who dismiss bisexuals as being confused, desperate  or just in a phase.  Many bisexuals women find solace in the poly community where there are plenty of unicorn hunters to make them feel accepted.  That is not necessarily the case with bisexual men.
  3. No P2P sharing
    Guys are generally cultured to be more possessive in a relationship.  Bringing another girl into the relationship can be thought of as a treat for both parties.  Bringing another guy into the relationship means that men have to share and women have to be shared to make it work. Definitely not impossible, but certainly against the social grain.

Thankfully, I found a couple open to the idea.  We’ll see how they pan out and with their blessing, I’ll share all the juicy, double-penetrated details!

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