October 4, 2012

Free Female Condoms

If you ever find yourself wondering, “What’s a female condom?” then you might be a sexist.

While that may be a bit of a stretch, a new study recently published in the very naughty journal Sex Roles suggests that when couples stick to “traditional gender roles,” meaning the man instigates and the woman plays along, they may feel less confident and even less receptive to other means of contraception.

Thus, the confusion about the female condom.

Lisa Rosenthal and her team of researchers from Yale University conducted a study with 357 young women and 126 young men, all heterosexually active and students at an unnamed public university in the Northeast (UCONN anyone?) aged 18 to 29. These students were asked to dish about their sex lives, asking them how much satisfaction they demanded from their partners and how often they used protection in the name of safe sex.

Then, to make things interesting, Rosenthal and team asked these students to agree or disagree with statements involving gender inequalities and hierarchies, statements like: “It’s OK if some groups have more of a chance in life than others,” or “The man should be the one who dictates what happens during sex.”

Enter, the female condom.

These students filled out their surveys in the quiet privacy of their own cubicles, accompanied only by their thoughts and a giant bowl of free female condoms; A free, giant bowl of female condoms with a sign which shouted “Protect yourself and your partner! Please Take some! FREE FEMALE CONDOMS!”

These FREE FEMALE CONDOMS even came with an informative pamphlet describing how these FREE FEMALE CONDOMS operate.

When all the surveys were completed and tabulated, Rosenthal and squad determined that those who were more comfortable with the notion that some people simply have it better than others and that the men should take charge during sex were less likely to make away with a handful of the FREE FEMALE CONDOMS than those who preferred to keep sex on an even playing field. Furthermore, those who were comfortable with these hierarchical hypotheticals were also less likely to report confidence in their sexual encounters.

“If men believe that men should dominate sexually, this may prevent them from feeling open or comfortable discussing sexual behavior and protection with their partners or asking questions about things they may not know,” reads the report. In other words, those who were more likely to assume the man was in charge were less likely to question this role or discuss means for protection.

“For both women and men, the belief that men should dominate sexually could reduce interest in female condoms, because female condoms are meant to be a woman-centered source of protection and may be seen as violating the norm or belief that men should be in control of sexual situations,” said Rosenthal, explaining the results.

In another, unsurprising note, the team found that women were less likely than men to assume that male dominance is critical in the bedroom.

When asked, those students who chose not to take a FREE FEMALE CONDOM said they were simply intimidated by the way the condom was shouting at them, with a number of the students expressing direct concern that they might get lost in the incredibly large mouth of the contraceptive device.

Image Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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