|Woman with Condom
Picture Credit: Zenito Haven
So I watched this show a while back on Ebony Life Television (ELTV). There was a voices-on-the-streets segment and the question asked was if it is okay for women to carry condoms. Many people gave varying responses but one stuck with me for days. The respondent, a very confident (albeit uneducated) man, couldn’t hide his disdain at the question. He was completely against the concept. His closing statement was what got me riled up. He went, ‘Man wey get two woman na still man but woman wey get two man na olosho.’
The first thing I thought after the red haze passed was what the correlation was between carrying a condom in one’s purse and sex work. The second thing was whether I should blame his sexism and chauvinism on his poor education. I was still thinking of this when the male anchor went in and buttressed his point. He said if he found a condom in a woman’s purse, he would assume the worst about her; that he may be the lucky guy today and another guy would be lucky tomorrow. This ‘educated’ guy couldn’t understand that finding condoms in a woman’s purse didn’t necessarily equate to having sex with her. He naturally assumed that the discovery was an invitation to sex; and it says a lot about him. I was glad when the female anchor asked him a simple question; ‘what do you thing WE think of YOU when we see condoms in YOUR wallet?’ Of course he mumbled about it being different but no one can say that wasn’t expected.
Since that day, I have been thinking about the incident and mulling over it in my head.
What is so wrong with a woman carrying a condom? The answer is, nothing! But before I get to that, let us think about the point of view these guys held.
The expectation is that a man can be randy but a woman should not. A man can have sex with as many women as he wants but a woman who does the same has to be wanton, a whore, a slapper, easy, loose or a prostitute. Women are not supposed to be in touch with their sexuality and be sexually active. To dare to be so sexually open to carry condoms is perceived as the height of sexual depravity in a woman. The same is however not expected of a man. When a condom is found in a man’s wallet, the only worry these people have is what size he is carrying. In essence, men are expected to sexually protect themselves but women shouldn’t. Or better put, women should protect themselves only through abstinence or sticking to one partner; preferably, their husbands. This ideology is not in itself wrong as long as it is the woman’s choice but to demand that a sexually active woman not protect herself is just too much.
I believe that sexually active women should carry their own condoms. Let me explain using two scenarios.
1. The one-man woman;
This woman is sexually active but has only one partner. There are situations which should allow her carry her own condoms;
a) She is horny, goes to see the man she is dating, they make out, he is about to slide in and bam! She notices he is isn’t wearing a coat. She asks why he isn’t and he says he has none. If she doesn’t have a condom, she is at a crossroad between going ahead, doing something else that doesn’t require penetration, getting into a fight of frustration or stopping altogether. You see how her condom can solve these problems?
b) She is faithful to her partner but he is anything but. Her darling one-in-a-million man is randy for days. His excuse is that his sex drive is super crazy and to help the world, he needs to be a man-whore.
Typical entitled male behavior. Thing is, without protection, he is bringing a bit of something from all the ladies he has been with to this woman who loves him. And in cases where the woman is his wife, going skinny is expected; so are her chances of contracting an infection. If this woman doesn’t protect herself, she may end up with a myriad of sexually transmitted infections. Yes, I know some of you are already asking why she stays with a Casanova but some women amaze me so…
2. The many-men woman;
It is especially expedient that women who have multiple sexual partners carry their own condoms. They shouldn’t have to expect the men they have sex with decide their protection. This is where sex workers have it right. I have been told that ‘prostitutes’ – as some would call them – insist on having sex with a condom. They know they are already at risk and further putting themselves out there is not something they want to deal with. Again, before you crucify me, there will always be women who profit off sex and no matter what you say and do, they will do EXACTLY what they want. AND…where it is their choice, how e take concern you?
The least of the reasons why sexually active women should carry their own condoms is unplanned pregnancies. There are so many things way worse than pregnancy; HIV, AIDS, Chlamydia, HPV, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Hepatitis, genital Warts and so many more. The risks of contracting some of these diseases can be greatly reduced by using a condom; especially for those which are transmitted via genital fluids. And with the hookup culture in many cities, it is important that we do not spread these infections.
And on the flip side, the reason why women who aren’t sexually active should carry condoms is to help other women make safer sexual choices. How does this affect the woman who is chaste and is keeping herself for her husband? First off, you don’t know where your husband may have been. He could have been with that woman you branded a whore. She could have done so many things with and to him but even worse, could have shared an infection because your man doesn’t like condoms and she didn’t have one when he visited. So look at it as safe guarding your future sexually active nether regions from burning or itchy sensations due to infections.
Hahahaha…I kid. Or do I?
A scene from Tyler Perry’s ‘Madea Goes to Jail’ explains my point a bit better. Viola Davis, who plays the character Ellen, is a born again Christian woman who goes out to the streets to give sex workers and junkies condoms and clean needles. Weird huh? No! Ellen had every right to take the moral high ground but she wanted to help these people so they didn’t have to deal with more than they were going through at that moment. She wanted to help them cut their risks to HIV/AIDS and other diseases that can be transmitted sexually or through sharing needles. That scene – more than any other – stayed with me. I understand that passing out condoms to women who are sexually active by women who are religious and chaste is hard. The pervading thought is that doing so encourages them to continue ‘sinning’. This may be true but it is also true that you are better able to influence someone you have helped than someone who thinks you look down on them because of your morality.
There you have it. In my opinion, if you are a sexually active woman, carry your own condoms. You know there are many scenarios where a condom is necessary that I haven’t mentioned here. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself.