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Who's Afraid of a Condom?

Rachel Hart,
Reproductive Freedom Project
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August 23, 2005

“Notice: New York City Department of Education Policy prohibits condom demonstrations in classrooms.”

Just in case New York City teachers are unclear, every page of the new Health Teacher curriculum discussing condom demonstrations has a sticker affixed to it with the above warning. God forbid teachers actually show students how to properly use a condom.

Mind you for the past 14 years condom demonstrations were allowed in New York City schools, but apparently a model of a penis (or even an innocuous cucumber) as part of a lesson on how to correctly put on a condom was just too much for the Department of Education to bear.

It’s been 20 years since the New York City health curriculum has been updated. Yes, you read correctly, 20 years, and in addition to these stickers, so-called modernization of the curriculum includes a complete lack of information on birth control for middle schoolers, and a brief discussion of sexual orientation, albeit only in the context of AIDS, for high schoolers.

Even more surprising, these changes to the curriculum come in the face of a report by the New York City Department of Health that more than one in 10 public school students have had sex before the age of 13 and almost of quarter of those teens having sex did not use a condom at last intercourse.

Who knew modernization of the curriculum would mean moving backwards?

Just in case you were curious below are the proper steps for using a male condom.

Store condoms in a cool place out of direct sunlight (not in wallets or glove compartments). Latex will become brittle from changes in temperature, rough handling, or age. Don’t use damaged, discolored, brittle, or sticky condoms.

Check the expiration date.

Carefully open the condom package — teeth or fingernails can tear the condom.

Use a new condom for each act of sexual intercourse.

Put on the condom before the penis touches any part of a partner’s body.

Hold the condom over an erect penis.

If a penis is uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin before putting on the condom.

Put on the condom by pinching the reservoir tip and unrolling it all the way down the shaft of the penis from head to base. If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch it to leave a half-inch space at the head of the penis for semen to collect after ejaculation.

In the event that the condom breaks, withdraw the penis immediately and put on a new condom before resuming intercourse.

Use only water-based lubrication. Do not use oil-based lubricants such as cooking/vegetable oil, baby oil, hand lotion, or petroleum jelly — these will cause the condom to deteriorate and break.

Withdraw the penis immediately after ejaculation. While the penis is still erect, grasp the rim of the condom between the fingers and slowly withdraw the penis (with the condom still on) so that no semen is spilled.

Remove the condom, making certain that no semen is spilled.

Carefully dispose of the condom. Do not reuse it.

Do not use a male condom along with a female condom. If the two condoms rub together, the friction between them can cause the male condom to be pulled off or the female condom to be pushed into the vagina.