St Patrick’s patch 1: How to use a condom

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.’

[truncated]

(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.

.

How to put on a condom

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.

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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.

.

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2.6 Using the other hand, gently unroll it down the penis. At all times, hold the teat to keep it free of air.

.

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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.

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2.8 Your partner may prefer that you lubricate the exterior of the condomed penis with water-based lube.

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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.

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After use

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

3.3 It is a good idea to prevent spillage by knotting the used condom before disposing it in a trash bin. Do not throw condoms into the toilet bowl. Needless to say, condoms must never be re-used.

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.

St Patrick’s patch 1: How to use a condom

St Patrick’s patch 2: Pregnancy and infection risk

St Patrick’s patch 3: To do or not to do

St Patrick’s patch 4: Who and what we are

43 Responses to “St Patrick’s patch 1: How to use a condom”


  1. 1 4stddeviation 23 August 2010 at 18:25

    That DO NOT RE-USE point is worth emphasising. I knew several kids in secondary school who thought you could just wash out and re-use. Ick.

  2. 2 Benedict Thambiah 24 August 2010 at 00:30

    Well done. I wish more singaporeans took a stand for safer sex and a more honest and candid approach to safer sex education.

  3. 3 Taikohtai 24 August 2010 at 10:19

    I think this article about female condoms might also help:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,594991,00.html

  4. 4 KiWeTO 24 August 2010 at 10:40

    Trapped in their own paradigm
    to follow a human edict,
    A speeding train on rails of
    hope that humanity rises above it’s baser urges,
    and denial of reality
    What happened to evolution and the process of becoming better?

    E.o.M.

  5. 5 beast686 24 August 2010 at 12:28

    All these squeamishness and demonization of sex is silly, considering that STDs are already on the rise.

    Perhaps when people start waking up to the idea that teenagers will have sex irregardless of the prudishness of these erstwhile religious institutions, more kids are going to be exposed to the “wonderful” world of AIDs and STDs.

  6. 6 Lucky Tan 24 August 2010 at 13:02

    I don’t think there is a need to teach school children how to use a condom – they probably already know. What needs to be taught is not to re-use a condom🙂

  7. 7 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 07:57

    I have nothing against teaching how to use condoms.

    It is the downplaying of the fact that it is still not safe because condoms can still fail that I am against.

    • 8 beast686 25 August 2010 at 09:29

      When condoms are used correctly, they are 97%-99% safe. That’s about the same level of safety as crossing the road (even higher, some would say).

      So, what’s not safe? Writing anti-semitic posts isn’t, I’d say.

      • 9 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 12:00

        Where did you get these figures? They are WRONG. Condoms provide a safety level far, far higher than 97 – 99 percent! I’m sorry, I get very upset with putting wrong information into the public domain.

        Here is a quote from a study by the National Institutes of Health, USA:

        QUOTE
        Excerpt from the 2001 NIH report on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing transmission of STDs:

        Condom usage was classified into the following three categories always (100% use), sometimes, and never. Among participants who reported always using condoms, the summary estimate of HIV/AIDS incidence from the twelve studies was 0.9 seroconversion per 100 person years. Among those who reported never using condoms, the summary estimate of HIV/AIDS incidence from the seven studies was 6.7 seroconversions per 100 person years. Overall, Davis and Weller estimated that condoms provided an 85% reduction in HIV/AIDS transmission risk when infection rates were compared in always versus never users.

        Conclusions

        The methodological strength of the studies on condoms to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission far exceeds that for other STDs. There is demonstrated exposure to HIV/AIDS through sexual intercourse with a regular partner (with an absence of other HIV/AIDS risk factors). Longitudinal studies of HIV- sexual partners of HIV+ infected cases allow for the estimation of HIV/AIDS incidence among condom users and condom non-users. From the two incidence estimates, consistent condom use decreased the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85%. These data provide strong evidence for the effectiveness of condoms for reducing sexually transmitted HIV.

        ENQUOTE

      • 10 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 12:02

        Now, I explained the above in layman’s language in the post
        http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2004/yax-394.htm

        QUOTE

        Davis and Weller had done a meta-analysis of various studies. Their meta-analysis was based only on longitudinal and cohort studies, These studies followed sero-discordant, sexually active heterosexual couples over a period of time. ‘Sero-discordant’ meant that at the start of the studies, one partner was HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative.

        These couples were in faithful relationships through the study period. Some of them always used condoms when they had sex. Others never did.

        The researchers then measured how many of the initially HIV-negative partners became HIV-positive after a while. The results were expressed as the number of sero-conversions per 100 person-years.

        This ratio was 0.9 for those who always used condoms and 6.7 for those who never used condoms.

        In layman’s language:

        For every 100 couples having sex repeatedly through the course of a year, using condoms every time, only 0.9 persons sero-converted to HIV-positive.

        (This suggests that if you are HIV-negative, and with the consistent benefit of condoms, you had sex with an HIV-positive person over a 100-year period, your chance of being HIV-positive after 100 years would be 0.9%.)

        For every 100 couples having sex repeatedly through the course of a year, but never used condoms, 6.7 of the initially HIV-negative partners, sero-converted to HIV-positive.

        And where’s the “85 percent” in all this? By this mathematical formula:

        (6.7-0.9)/6.7 = 0.85

        What the researchers said was that the condom-protected couples, with their 0.9 sero-conversion rate, had an 85% lower likelihood of getting HIV compared to the no-condom couples. They didn’t mean to say that if you used a condom you still had a 15% chance of getting AIDS.

        Your chances of actually getting HIV, with consistent, correct condom use is estimated to be less than 1% even after a hundred years of sex.

        * * * * *

        But the fundamentalists don’t want you to know that. They want you to think that condoms “only offer you 85% protection”. They want to you to think that if you have sex — just once — with an HIV-positive person, you have a 1 in 7 chance of getting AIDS despite the rubber.

        That’s just not true.

        ENDQUOTE

    • 11 Anonymous 25 August 2010 at 12:46

      YB posted
      >>For every 100 couples having sex repeatedly through the course of a year, using condoms every time, only 0.9 persons sero-converted to HIV-positive.
      >>

      Me:
      So bottom line is that the failure rate is 0.9%. Not too far off from the 1% beast quoted.

      Here is my (rephrased) question, based on the latest data.

      So you are willing to allow the 0.9% to die?

      • 12 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 13:02

        Please read carefully.

        0.9 percent after one year of sex.

        If we assume the couple had 100 sexual intercourse events over a period of one year (average 2x per week), it means the chance of sero-conversion per sex event was 0.009 percent.

        Another thing – don’t speak as if humans can live their entire lives without sex at no cost to their psychological well-being. This is just not true. Sex is as essential to a healthy life as love as food as play. To speak as if sex is totally dispensible and therefore since it’s a luxury, it must be 100.000000 percent safe before we do it is absurd. Neither love nor food nor play is 100.000000 percent safe either. 0.009 percent is pretty good odds.

      • 13 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 13:22

        I was the one who posted the question earlier but it appeared as Anon. Something must have happened to either my browser such that it removed my name or WordPress did not capture my account.

        YB:
        >>Please read carefully. 0.9 percent after one year of sex. If we assume the couple had 100 sexual intercourse events over a period of one year (average 2x per week), it means the chance of sero-conversion per sex event was 0.009 percent.
        >>

        Me:
        I disagree. The report said, “For every 100 couples having sex repeatedly through the course of a year, using condoms every time, only 0.9 persons sero-converted to HIV-positive.”

        We are looking at 100 couples who engage in sex regularly. That is different from a couple who engage in sex repeatedly for a year.

        I do that with my wife for the last more than 20 years and I dare say our chances of catching AIDs is zero through sexual intercourse.

        Hence, it should be read as if you do it (free sex with condom) regularly, your chance of getting hit is 0.9%. Of course if you do it less regularly, your chance reduces.

        But then again, you need only to be hit only once to be HIV positive, isn’t it?

        >>Another thing – don’t speak as if humans can live their entire lives without sex at no cost to their psychological well-being. This is just not true. Sex is as essential to a healthy life as love as food as play.
        >>

        Me:
        I agree. So for those who can be celibate. Get married. If that you can’t do too, DIY, get cock massager, a handjob (with protection if you wish), whatever.

        Not that I am promoting those. That’s for those who truly can’t control themselves and are not married.

        >>To speak as if sex is totally dispensible and therefore since it’s a luxury, it must be 100.000000 percent safe before we do it is absurd. Neither love nor food nor play is 100.000000 percent safe either. 0.009 percent is pretty good odds.
        >>

        Me:
        I never said that. I said that there is a tendency for liberals to downplay the dangers of free sex.

      • 14 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 13:29

        Solo Bear said “We are looking at 100 couples who engage in sex regularly. That is different from a couple who engage in sex repeatedly for a year.”

        Again, please read carefully. You are misinterpreting the data.

        Solo Bear said “I do that with my wife for the last more than 20 years and I dare say our chances of catching AIDs is zero through sexual intercourse.”

        Zero? Not true. I won’t tell you why it is not true. I’d like you (and other readers) to think.

      • 15 beast686 25 August 2010 at 13:31

        There’s no such thing as 100% full proof.

        Don’t forget that you don’t get STDs from sex alone. A couple of years back someone caught the HIV virus from blood transfusion……rare, you can say. But never 100%.

      • 16 beast686 25 August 2010 at 13:33

        “I agree. So for those who can be celibate. Get married. If that you can’t do too, DIY, get cock massager, a handjob (with protection if you wish), whatever.

        Not that I am promoting those. That’s for those who truly can’t control themselves and are not married.”

        Lol. Who are you to teach people what to do, Stupid bear?

      • 17 beast686 25 August 2010 at 14:48

        Delete his posts. This guy is homophobic and a bloody racist.

  8. 18 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 09:42

    >>When condoms are used correctly, they are 97%-99% safe.
    >>

    Me:
    So what about the 1% to 3%? Let them die?

    >>That’s about the same level of safety as crossing the road (even higher, some would say).
    >>

    Me:
    Bad analogy. Crossing road is an “everyday have to do” affair. Free sex is choice. You can choose not to have sex, but you can’t choose not to cross roads.

    Your analogy is as bad as your ability to judge what is truly safe sex.

  9. 19 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 09:43

    Or rather, I should say, your INABILITY to judge what is truly safe sex.

  10. 20 beast686 25 August 2010 at 10:54

    Rather stupid nonsense I would say.

    Sex is also a mundane affair, as is crossing the road. Your ability to sprout drivel in your blog is bad enough, but to sprout nonsense here is inexcusable.

    People die from all kinds of things, such as sports. You can’t eliminate activities simply on the pretext of “oh its very dangerous”. If we all do that we’d simply stop living.

  11. 21 beast686 25 August 2010 at 11:06

    Taking a plane is also dangerous. Planes crash. Are you sure that’s enough to stop people from flying? Think not.

    Taking precautions is necessary; nothing is 100% fullproof. That’s why you have risk assessments, particularly in the construction industry.

  12. 22 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 13:46

    Solo bear said: “I said that there is a tendency for liberals to downplay the dangers of free sex.”

    Not true, in fact the exact opposite. It is the conservatives who are always exaggerating the dangers of sex. And I can show you evidence of that:

    Conservatives regularly put out misinterpretations of scientific data, or total lies. See examples right here!

    Liberals like me are constantly saying “Please read the data carefully!!!!”

  13. 23 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 13:47

    Be warned: This post is meant as information for school students. I will not tolerate anyone hijacking this thread to add misinformation. So there will be a point when I will delete.

  14. 24 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 14:18

    YB:
    >>Again, please read carefully. You are misinterpreting the data.
    >>

    Me:
    It is you who misread. Please don’t make it an excuse to delete my post.

    Your interpretation that you can catch it with only 0.009% risk is provided you have sex ONLY ONCE. But I am sure many teens don’t do it just once. They do it regularly.

    So for every time you have it, it increases by another 0.0009%. If you do it regularly, working backwards using your figure that you do it 2x per week, it comes back to the 0.9% after one year!

    Again, I am sure these teens don’t intend to stop after just one year! How long do you expect to be sexually active? 10 years? Then your chance just increased tenfold – 9%! 20 years? 18%!

    Please note that the above is NOT misinformation. If at all, you misread the stats.

    I hope you allow this post and not delete it, because it if you do, you are the one hiding the real truth from school kids that if you do it regularly for 20 years, somewhere along that line, your chance of getting hit is 18%.

    I did not make those figures up. It is derived from the very stats you provided.

    >>Solo Bear said “I do that with my wife for the last more than 20 years and I dare say our chances of catching AIDs is zero through sexual intercourse.”
    Zero? Not true. I won’t tell you why it is not true. I’d like you (and other readers) to think.
    >>

    Me:
    My wife and I are faithful to each other. If you mean we get Aids through other means (than sex), yes, anyone can get it.

    • 25 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 14:30

      You wrote: “So for every time you have it, it increases by another 0.0009%. If you do it regularly, working backwards using your figure that you do it 2x per week, it comes back to the 0.9% after one year! Again, I am sure these teens don’t intend to stop after just one year! How long do you expect to be sexually active? 10 years? Then your chance just increased tenfold – 9%! 20 years? 18%!”

      Your calculations are completely off the mark. Firstly compounding risk is not the same as adding up the risk percentage. Secondly, there’s a huge flaw in the reasoning. The 0.9 percent sero-conversion rate applied to a person who had sex regularly over a period of one year with the same person who was HIV-positive.

      Instead, you are(mis) using the data to discuss sex with lots of different people over a period of time. If someone really has sex so randomly, then the chance that all the people he happens to have sex with are HIV-positive, is virtually zero. Given the prevalence rate of HIV in Singapore, a great majority of people a person randomly has sex with will be HIV-negative. The NIH study does not support your calculations. So here we go again: misrepresenting/misinterpreting data.

      Therefore your claims are fit for deletion.

    • 26 Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 14:50

      >>Your calculations are completely off the mark. Firstly compounding risk is not the same as adding up the risk percentage. Secondly, there’s a huge flaw in the reasoning. The 0.9 percent sero-conversion rate applied to a person who had sex regularly over a period of one year with the same person who was HIV-positive.
      >>

      Me:
      My mistake then. So it is with a HIV positive partner.

      That means for every time you have sex with an infected person, it there is a 0.0009% risk. But it still adds up if you have another such session, doesn’t it?

      As for sex with an uninfected partner, with or without condoms, there is zero risk.

      But then again, how do we know who is infected and who isn’t? That means we’ll never know the real risk level these teens face.

      So instead of just saying condoms reduce risk, why can’t we come up with real stats and tell the kids the real risk of 0.0009% that will add up for every session with an infected person – bearing in mind we really don’t know who is infected?

      What is wrong with telling the truth that there still is a risk with condoms, and that risk can mean death?

      We do it for cigarettes. Why not for sex ed as well?

      Solo Bear

      PS – if you want to delete my post, you don’t have to give excuses. You are the owner of this site, you can do as you please.

      But it goes to show your lack of character, unable to engage in proper discourse. That’s all.

      FYI, I have saved the thread for my own reference and use.

      • 27 BK 25 August 2010 at 15:57

        Solo Bear…

        I suggest you read properly before jumping to hit the reply button.

        By Solo Bear:
        “What is wrong with telling the truth that there still is a risk with condoms, and that risk can mean death?”

        I don’t think anyone here has claimed that condoms are 100% safe. There is always a small risk factor. In fact, by READING Yawning Bread’s earlier post, this is quite apparent…

        By Yawning Bread:
        “Your chances of actually getting HIV, with consistent, correct condom use is estimated to be less than 1% even after a hundred years of sex.”

        So your claims are actually substantiating what Yawning Bread mentioned earlier! However, you’re posts are certainly carrying a much more malicious character attack.

        When issues such as religion come in, I think emotion really comes in, ration or irrational. So calm down, read and think things through before pouring unfiltered, unprocessed and unsubstantiated thoughts onto the public domain, while hiding behind anonymity.

  15. 28 probability lesson for Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 15:53

    Hi Solo Bear,

    According to basic mathematics on probability, if a coin is balanced, then even if you happened to get a series of 9 heads in a row, the probability of you getting a tail in the next toss still remains at 0.5 and not any higher despite the consecutive series of 9 heads before your 10th toss. These are independent events.

    If you understand the above, then look at this hypothetical situation:

    Assume Teddy has been having sex with only HIV+ persons for the pass 20 years and assume he always used condoms for sex. Assume that over these 20 years he has had sex 999,999 times already. In his next time of sex, which is the 1,000,000th (one millionth) time, the probability of Teddy getting HIV+ using the condom for sex would still remain at 0.009, according to the mathematics of probability.

    (you would need to understand the probability of tossing coins first to appreciate why – and read up any probability lesson elsewhere if you do not believe me)

  16. 29 probability lesson for Solo Bear 25 August 2010 at 15:58

    I forgot to mention that the in the hypothetical situation, Teddy has not been infected in his previous 999,999 times of sex with HIV+ persons using condoms during the past 20 years. My above comment is about the probability of Teddy getting HIV+ during the 1,000,000th of having sex with an HIV+ person using a condom.

  17. 30 beast686 25 August 2010 at 16:45

    Aye. I agree and concur.

  18. 31 beast686 25 August 2010 at 16:48

    Actually, if you wish to delve further, most condom manufacturers are pretty stringent with their testing; anyway from 1 – 7 defects per 100,000 condoms is the benchmark for defects. So, if you use your condoms correctly, the chances of catching an STD is very close to nil.

  19. 32 yawningbread 25 August 2010 at 17:32

    Solo Bear wrote: I do that with my wife for the last more than 20 years and I dare say our chances of catching AIDs is zero through sexual intercourse.

    Yawningbread wrote: Zero? Not true. I won’t tell you why it is not true. I’d like you (and other readers) to think.

    Solo Bear wrote: My wife and I are faithful to each other.

    …….

    Hehe, close, but it’s still not zero risk. The question is: How do you know you wife is faithful? You can never know that with 100-percent certainty. And so long as there is not 100-percent certainty, there is … (drumroll please) … risk.

    And still you would have sex (without condoms, I presume) despite a tiny risk?

    Risk is irreducible to zero, unless one does not have sex at all IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE. What a price to pay! What sort of life would that be to most people (who are not cut out to be saints)?

    All I say to young people is this: get yourself informed about risks. Sometimes they are too high to be worth the attempt and each of us has to be responsible in judging for ourselves (and loved ones) what level of risk we can undertake. But, on the other hand, expecting anything in life to be zero-risk is a fool’s paradise.

  20. 33 Roy 25 August 2010 at 17:40

    Hi guys,

    I have more than 350 sex partners in my life. I have always used condoms for all my sex in the past 4 years.

    Only the condom can protect me. Tell me what else I can do?

    1. Not have sex – you are kidding me, right? Tell that to the youths, they will agree in front of you, and they will do it behind your back. Which kid doesn’t explore? If you seriously do not want them to not have sex, then teach them about sex before they start being erect. Gosh, can’t stand people being in denial – deal with it, people.

    2. Get a partner. I have been looking for 2.5 years. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING!! – which part of that do you not understand? If it is that easy, I will have only one partner and get it on with just one person. Why do you think our birth rate is at an all time low? – because we do not know how to love, are scared to love and will not love. You think I don’t know that sex with someone you love feels good? Meanwhile, I am not a priest. And even then, we know what the priests do.

    3. Do not use a condom. Firstly, I am not Catholic, thank goodness – I use condoms. Secondly, someone told me. Sure, let’s preach to the Catholics that they should not use condoms and let them all – those who have sex – get HIV then. For those of you who think that condoms do not offer 100% protection, you have really poor skills. This is when it’s not the size that matters – it’s the skills. If you put on a condom properly and use tons and tons of lubricant until they flow out from wherever your penis (or hole) is, the condom is almost at 100% safe. You seriously think all the testing and stretching and damaging they do to the condoms at HSA is for fun? Singapore is all for safety. They will never let a condom through if it, for once, can cause, even the smallest of ants to breathe through any hole.

  21. 34 beast686 25 August 2010 at 17:40

    “Hehe, close, but it’s still not zero risk. The question is: How do you know you wife is faithful? You can never know that with 100-percent certainty. And so long as there is not 100-percent certainty, there is … (drumroll please) … risk.”

    Lol Alex. That’s pretty insulting, given that Mr Stupid bear is a conservative moron……but there again, a fitting one……:P

    Nice one mate!

  22. 36 beast686 25 August 2010 at 22:22

    Sorry Alex for the link. Just hope to contribute the argument from the religious folks’ point of view.

    I got these photos from an atheist a few years back and with a bit more info came up with this article. If you wish you can use the photos (or the article I wrote, if you think I write well enough) and address sex education from the religious folks’ POV (Make the argument more rounded, so to speak).

  23. 37 Ken 26 August 2010 at 16:34

    St Patricks’s is a Catholic institution after all. But I wonder if it could have handled the situation in a more intelligent manner? By (i) reinforcing the Catholic church’s commitment to procreative sex, while (ii) acknowledging (oh dear, how do I make this sound less ridiculous?) other reasons why people have sex and how, should the boys choose to do so, how they can keep themselves safe.

    Alex – any word on the actual vendors of the programme? I suppose St Pat’s could well have engaged one of the MOE-approved groups who would be more than happy to preach the gospel of abstinence, e.g. Focus on the Family, etc. But I’m guessing that, given the animosity between Catholics and conservative evangelicals, the brothers would probably not have approved. If so, how ironic – in a not-unpleasant way!

  24. 38 yawningbread 26 August 2010 at 16:57

    And people forget that the boys who to go mission schools are not all of the faith. There are plenty of boys from non-Catholic families. Can the school rightfully ask that these boys should be deprived of the full sex ed package just because some part of it contradicts the Pope’s doctrine? The Ministry is right to say No.

  25. 39 xtrocious 27 August 2010 at 14:47

    Okay, here’s an often-told joke to break the animosity…

    How do you really ensure that using condoms are “safe”?

    Easy – use 2 condoms

    But in between them, put a layer of axe oil

    If the girl feels the bite of the axe oil, but not the guy, it’s still safe

    Likewise, if the guy feels the axe oil, but not the gal, it’s also safe

    However, if both of them feels the axe oil, then it’s gone farked…hahah

  26. 40 Sexuality Researcher and Educator 28 August 2010 at 18:23

    Sry, but with condom effectiveness defined as proportionate reduction in disease due to the use of condoms, the most up to date and accurate figure by researchers is 80% only.

    This figure is the difference between individuals who use condoms 100% of the time and individuals who never use (0%) condoms.

    I think we should respect the definition of condom effectiveness as given by statistic researchers who are the experts in the field, and try not to provide other definitions to misrepresent the actual figures. Responsibility is also needed to research on the most accurate information.

    – Researcher and Educator.

  27. 41 yawningbread 29 August 2010 at 10:27

    To Sexuality Researcher and Educator – Terminology used by scientists sometimes need to be interpreted for the layman. This is one such case because to the layman, saying that condom effectiveness compared to no condom use is 85 percent, sounds like condoms “fail” 85 percent of the time and that therefore, 15 percent of the time the party will either get pregnant or HIV-infected.

    This is simply not true and therefore it is incumbent on a communicator like me to say it in a way that the layman understands.

    Also, one has to take into context that there are parties out there who go around making exactly that imputation – that condoms “fail” 15 percent of the time. They do this with the intention of making a big scare out of it, in order frighten people out of sex. The scientifically demonstrated result of their efforts however are that people continue to have sex but do so with LESS condom use, believing that condoms are “no use”.

    We therefore have a moral responsibility in view of the layman’s tendency to interpret “85 percent” in a certain way, and in the context of parties making huge efforts to cement that wrong interpretation, to express the facts differently and in a way that is better understood.

    Those other parties are NOT AS INTERESTED IN SAVING LIVES as they are in spreading their religiously-based ideas.

    The situation is akin to what I described in the post Language scuffles. Words can have superficial meaning, different from intended meaning and communicators have a responsibility to be aware of how they can be misunderstood and say it in different ways to better explain them. In that post, I gave examples of Straits Times saying Singapore was the most desired place on earth, by leaving a superficial reading of data intact. I am not about to do the same with condom effectiveness data.

    Bottom line, in plain language: Condoms correctly used, provide near total protection against pregnancy and HIV.

    Say that again: Condoms correctly used, provide near total protection against pregnancy and HIV.

    Say that once more: Condoms correctly used, provide near total protection against pregnancy and HIV.

  28. 42 F 2 September 2010 at 18:25

    Thank you very much for this post – needless to say, I was in equal parts appalled by St. Pat’s behaviour and heartened/amused by your matter-of-fact treatment of the subject.

    Just a suggestion: you could add one more detail to your instructions, specifically part 2.1. Contrary to popular belief, it’s now scientifically accepted that there is no sperm in pre-come unless the man hasn’t urinated since his last ejaculation, so pre-come on a condom shouldn’t always be an issue for tested, monogamous couples.

    Cheers!

  29. 43 F 2 September 2010 at 18:28

    Oops, just realised my comment is much more applicable to patch 2 of your discussion, which I’ve only just read.


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