Straits Times, Saturday, 21 August 2010 carried this story with a large headline:
St Patrick’s objects to condom video
But HPB says removing it would affect integrity of sex ed programme
For two years, St Patrick’s School had been fighting with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to have a segment of the board’s compulsory sexuality education programme modified.
The Catholic school had wanted a video on the use of condoms removed.
But the HPB, which developed the programme, Breaking Down Barriers, together with the Ministry of Education (MOE), had refused on the grounds that doing so would affect the ‘integrity of the programme’.
So the school has now sent a letter to its students’ parents advising them to ‘choose wisely’ when they are given the option of opting out of the programme.
In the letter, sent last month and signed by principal Lucas Lak and head of department for pupil welfare Nicholas Seet, the school said ‘all our attempts in the past two years for an adaptation of the programme to suit our needs have been rejected’.
It added that the promotion of the use of condoms during sex and the graphic depicting how to use the contraceptive ‘contradict the principle of abstinence from sex’.
Said the school: ‘It can inadvertently give students the impression that condom use is safe and would prevent pregnancies.’
(Emphases added by Yawning Bread)
One can only sputter in disbelief at the things the school said. Firstly, they objected to the mandatory program because it did not suit “our needs”. Excuse me, but it’s what the boys need that matters, not what the school or the Catholic Church needs. That’s what education is about. Your needs, whatever they may be, don’t count. Secondly, with reference to the last sentence quoted, condom use is safe and does prevent pregnancies. Do not deny facts.
Are these people even fit to run schools?
You’d notice from the news story that the school has sent letters to parents suggesting strongly that they should withdraw their sons from the sexuality education program. How irresponsible can they get?
So, for the sake of those boys who have been taken out of the program by their parents, and any other teenage boy from other schools who did not pay attention when the condom clip was screened (although that’s hard to imagine to be possible), here is a make-up patch: How to use a condom.
How to buy condoms
1.1 Condoms are available at almost all convenience stores (7-11, Cheers, etc) and all pharmacies (Guardian, Watson’s, etc). I would avoid buying them from “mamak shops” — hole-in-the-wall shops in downmarket locations — because I have doubts about storage conditions in them. A small box typically contains three pieces.
1.2 Condoms come in two different kinds: latex and polyurethane. Because polyurethane condoms are much more expensive, I will assume for the rest of this patch that you are using latex condoms.
1.3 Condoms sometimes come with fruity flavours — they are nice to have for oral sex, but not essential, and the flavours don’t last that long anyway. They also come with all sorts of textures, e.g. ribbed, but there’s really no point paying extra for them. They may be too abrasive for your partner.
1.4 Like flavours and textures, condom length is not important. Typically, they are manufactured to a length specification of 180 – 190 mm, which is more than enough. Trust me, in my vast experience with men of all shapes and sizes, I have never seen a penis that is too long for a condom.
1.5 Width, on the other hand, is extremely important, so let me explain in some detail. What does “width” mean? It is half the circumference. The spec is always shown on the box and the most common width is 52 mm with a variance of 2 mm. From my vast experience again, this is too big for 10 – 20 percent of adult men of East and Southeast Asian ancestry. Alternative sizes of 49 mm or 50 mm — which you can find in the market, albeit with a bit of effort — fit the minority much better. Personally, I don’t have much experience with men of Indian ancestry, but in 2008, the Indian government carried out a large-scale survey and they too found that the mean of the Indian size is less than that of White and African-Americans (which historically were used to establish standards).
1.6 The width problem may be significant for quite a large number of teenagers. A study from Europe found that 14-year-old boys had erect penis size only 70 percent that for adult men. Now I’m not suggesting that 14-year-olds should be having sex, but even if you’re 16 or 17, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find the common 52 mm size too big for you.
1.7 And for heaven’s sakes, don’t get so hung up with size. Fit is crucially important. You cannot “perform” well if you’re constantly distracted by a slipping condom, not to mention the safety issues that brings.
1.8 You will also need water-based lubricant, which you can buy from the same pharmacies or convenience stores. Skin lotions and moisturisers are not water-based. Why must you use water-based lubricants? Because products with oil in them can degrade the molecular structure of the latex, weakening the condom. Pinholes and premature breaks and tears can result.
1.9 Check the expiry date before you buy the condom, and check it again before you use it.
1.10 Store the condom in a cool, dry place. Heat degrades the latex. Do not carry the condom around in your wallet or back pocket. Needless to say, do not open the blister pack prematurely.
2.1 Wash your hands. Why? You may have oil on them (incompatibility with oil explained above). Or, you may have been playing with your cock, wet with precum. There is a small chance of spermatozoa in your precum, so if you touch your condom with your hands and leave a trace of spermatozoa on its outside, well, you might find yourself with a baby sooner than you expected.
2.2 Gently open the sachet. Don’t be violent about it because you don’t want to tear the condom too.
2.3 Take the trouble to identify which is the inside and which is the outside of the condom. You do this by lightly rolling your fingers against the edge. The cross-section shown in the diagram at left indicates which is inside and which is outside, based on how the edge has been rolled. Do not unfurl the condom by more than 1 or 2 cm before putting it on. Once substantially unfurled, it cannot be used anymore.
2.4 The cock must be hard before you attempt to put on the condom. If you have a foreskin, retract it. It’s usually a good idea to apply one or two drops of water-based lubricant to the glans penis. Do not apply lubricant to the shaft because you want the condom to grip the dry shaft tightly and not to slip.
2.5 Holding the condom by its teat (and squeezing out all the air from it) place it like a little hat over the tip of the penis.
2.6 Using the other hand, gently unroll it down the penis. At all times, hold the teat to keep it free of air.
2.7 Unroll the condom to the base of the penis. It does not matter if the length of the condom is more than the length of your cock; just leave the balance length rolled up/unused.
2.8 Your partner may prefer that you lubricate the exterior of the condomed penis with water-based lube.
If the condom breaks at any time during intercourse, change to a new one immediately, following the same steps starting with hand-washing. That said, if stored and used correctly, condoms are unlikely to break — they have great elasticity — so let’s not make a big scare story out of this minor possibility. But occasionally, accidents happen (e.g. with girls’ long fingernails), so it is essential to have more than one condom at hand when engaging in sex.
3.1 Withdraw the condomed penis from your partner’s body before it gets limp. You do not want the condom to slip off inside him or her.
3.2 If the condom is still gripping your shaft tightly, remove it by re-rolling it up the shaft
3.4 Wash your hands and genitals immediately.
* * * * *
Patches 2 and 3 to follow will discuss risks of pregnancy and infections, and the big question: Whether to engage in sex.
* * * * *
This post is the first in the series.