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February 14th is also National Condom Day

February 14th is also National Condom Day
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By Don Portolese

Strap One on and Protect Yourself from all the Cheese

Tired of the cheese that envelopes us on St. Valentine’s Day? Do you think that the only good Valentine’s Day took place when Al Capone’s men, dressed as policemen, gunned down members of a rival Chicago bootlegging gang? Well, here’s an alternative to celebrating all of that drivel: National Condom Day.

National Condom Day takes place each and every February 14th. It began on the campus of UC Berkeley back in the 1970s (yet another benefit of the free love movement). It was originally designed as an educative yet humorous way to get people to use condoms. Since its inception, Planned Parenthood as well as many other organizations has used this day to promote sexual awareness and the use of birth control among young adults.

Some of the more hilarious slogans for this day over the years are the following:

Don’t be Silly, Protect your Willy

When in Doubt, Shroud your Spout

It will be Sweeter if You Wrap your Peter

No Glove, No Love!

While the mottos are humorous, the message is deadly serious. A report by the National Institute of Health, states that “correct and consistent use of latex condoms reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85%.”

Condoms also stem the risk of the transmission of STIs and STDs such as genital herpes, cervical cancer, genital warts, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and a host of other diseases.

And, while we’re wallowing in all of the romance associated with Valentine’s Day, we might as well slap on a condom, which reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancy by a margin of 71% to 85%, depending on how carefully one utilizes them.

With all of the benefits to be lauded one has to wonder why exactly the condom, which has been around since roughly the 1600s, never really caught on until the 70s.

There are of course the religious objections. However, these were not as stringent as one would think. While the Catholic Church did consider the use of condoms immoral, they were not overtly anti contraceptive until the beginning of the 20th Century. And it wasn’t until 1968 in Pope John Paul’s Humanae Vitae that the Church formally denounced contraception.

Earlier on it was citizen campaigns like those of John Comstock that played a far bigger role in demonizing the raincoat. The Comstock Laws went into effect in 1883 and were created to combat the proliferation of pornography and contraceptives.

What prompted Comstock to begin his campaign was the death of a friend who contracted syphilis by engaging in promiscuous behavior. Although a fledgling sex education program was in existence at the time, rather than extol the virtues of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of venereal diseases, they taught that such diseases were a punishment from God for wicked behavior. Yet, another irony of our misguided moralism: Had his friend used a jimmy-hat he would most likely not have contracted the disease in the first place.

An even greater irony is that many feminists at this time were also against the use of condoms because they were seen as male dominated means of contraception. Can you imagine a feminist against contraception today.

There were also quality issues that made the condom a less than appealing means of contraception. Throughout its history, it has been constructed of linen, leather, intestines, bladders, lambskin and just about anything else that could be rapped around the penis to prevent impregnation. In the late 1800s and early 1900s it had about a 30% success rate. Given the low rate of success and its high rate of diminished pleasure, it was easy to understand why the rubber never gained traction.

Speaking of rubber, it was just after Charles Goodyear invented and patented the rubber vulcanization process that we saw the first bona-fide rubber, which was invented in 1855. This was the beginning of the rubber revolution, and all rubber products, including the condom, were mass-produced on a grand scale.

Gone are the days when you sheathed your penis in something as thick as a tire tube or birthday balloon. However, there are still just as many colors to choose from. The one size fits all approach to manufacturing these wonderful rubber receptacles is also a thing of the past.

There are snug condoms that are about 6.5 inches and length and 2 inches in diameter. Designed for the not so well endowed, this smaller size prevents the condom from slipping off in the heat of the moment.

Regular condoms are about 7.5 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. In addition to the solace one gets from knowing that his penis is at least of average length and width, this size of condom has the largest variety of colors, flavors and textures.

There are also large fit condoms for those who were blessed and extra-large for those who sport something akin to an anaconda under their briefs. However, don’t think you can impress your partner by getting a larger size. Whether or not size is an issue for your significant other, the size of your condom does matter. If you can’t fill these larger lambskins, you run the risk of them slipping off during intercourse and either getting someone pregnant or catching an STD or STI.

In addition to size there are a variety of other options to choose from. Condoms now come in as many flavors as the entire arsenal of Baskin Robbins. Besides latex, there are also polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms. There are a variety of textures such as ribbed, dotted or studded condoms to further titillate our genitals. Hell, there are even vegan condoms, which don’t use animal by-products. (Be warned, though; there is meat on the inside.)

Condoms are also treated with more than simple lubricant or spermicidal jelly. Some condoms are treated with a pleasure gel that creates a tingling sensation in the genitals. Others produce a numbing sensation. It may diminish some of the pleasure, but, hell, if you’re worried about premature ejaculation, this may be the ticket.

With so many flavors, textures, colors and uses to celebrate on National Condom Day, there is little reason to feel obligated to deal with Valentine’s Day ever again. So, why not skip all of the romance and foreplay?  Strap on a condom and get down to business. If you don’t have anyone to share the experience with you can always fill a couple with water and throw them at couples who are a little too zealous with their public displays of affection.





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