real life

Two big condom questions. And zero conclusions.

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By NATALIA HAWK

Today at Mamamia, we’re busting out the big questions. About condoms. Mainly because I’ve found myself in the midst of a couple of debates on the very subject in recent weeks.

Who knew people were so passionate about such a small thing? So we’re shifting them over to you in the hope that you may have some answers. Here goes…

1. The first question: Who buys them?

I’ve heard plenty of arguments over whose responsibility it is to schlep to Priceline and stand in the ‘sexy’ aisle, pondering the benefits of glow-in-the-dark. And it seems like there’s no general consensus amongst the masses.

It seems like most of the girls I’ve asked remain firmly in the camp that it’s the boys who should be providing their own. “It’s him who wears them, after all,” one friend proclaimed. “I wouldn’t expect him to buy my pill or my diaphragm if I used one.”

On the other hand, blokes tend to disagreee completely – “It should be a joint responsibility,” said one. “Everyone should just have some sitting in their bedroom drawer.”

My gay friends had nothing to add to the conversation because “there’s usually free ones just scattered all through the clubs.” Well – no conclusions drawn there….

2. Where are they being worn?

On penises, obviously. (Or on bananas if you’re teaching a sex ed class.)

Seriously, though – this is the exact question Planned Parenthood is asking teenagers of the Great Northwest in the USA. It’s all part of their mission to encourage – and normalise! – safe sex.

The map on the Planned Parenthood website

Let me elaborate. In a quest that’s set to appeal to a tech-savvy generation, Planned Parenthood have released 55,000 condoms with QR-codes on them. If you have a coded condom and a smartphone, you can ‘check in’ – that is, share where and when you’re having safe sex. And if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t fret. You can also check in on their site – wheredidyouwearit.com – and give further details of the exact location of the deed, as well as your age, gender and relationship status. Because “sex that safe, should be shared.”

And that’s not all – you can also rate your sexual experience, from the enthusiastic “ah-maz-ing” to the optimistic “a work in progress”. There’s even a “things can only improve from here” option (ouch..). You can also search for other people’s sex check-ins and even share check-ins with Twitter and Facebook.

Well. It certainly brings a whole new meaning to “sharing is caring”. Who knew that social networking would ever extend to sites dedicated entirely to methods of contraception? That said, the site is largely anonymous, and the website doesn’t pinpoint the exact address – they take the location you give them and generate somewhere close by – so maybe it’s all just a harmless bit of fun?

What do you think – who buys the condoms? And what do you think of sex check-ins – a good way of encouraging safe sex, or way too much information?