Valentine’s Day is sometimes seen as a cheesy hallmark holiday that causes awkward “I love you” moments, filled with expensive dinners, flowers, and chocolates. But if you take a break from the Hallmark attacks, there is something nice about taking time out of your busy life to acknowledge your commitment, love and trust to your significant other. Or to do something sweet for friends and family you love.
Valentine’s Day was also the beginning of National Condom Week, which runs February 14 – February 21st. What better way to show love for your partner than to have safer sex, and talk about condoms, sexual health and love?
During National Condom Week, Planned Parenthood distributed as many free condoms as possible—thousands all over the U.S. You may have seen our Vox chapters spreading the love at SUNY Brockport, SUNY Cortland, or SUNY Geneseo. Perhaps you ran into one of our educators at the Tap & Mallet last weekend giving out fun valentine’s-day themed condom and candy gift bags.
Getting condoms to everybody is an important first step in promoting safer sex. However, once you have the condom, it is just as important to know how to properly use it, and what your back up plan will be if it breaks. (For example, having a packet of emergency contraception in your medicine cabinet just in case.) Discussing these options and ideas with your partner before sex is just as important as making sure you have plenty of condoms onhand.
Remember that male condoms are not the only way to practice safer sex. Female condoms, when used correctly, have been proven to be 79%-95% effective in preventing pregnancies. Also available are hormonal types of birth control, such as the patch or the pill (although these methods do not protect against STIs).
Safer sex isn’t only important for vaginal sex, but for oral or anal sex, too. Yes, the risk of pregnancy goes away. However, it is still possible to transmit STIs via these methods. So use a barrier method like a condom or dental dam for oral and anal sex, too.
In conclusion, stock up, discuss, and have lots of fun. But don’t forget about respecting yourself, and for THAT reason alone insist on condoms.
Hope you had a HAPPY NATIONAL CONDOM WEEK! What did you do to celebrate?