Killing the Condom Alternative

By Gamal Hennessy

I was going to write an editorial on the death of the nightclub flyer, but the condom issue has been everywhere I look recently. Condom use is down in New York. HIV and herpes rates are up. More and more people are finding reasons not to use condoms. Fox News ran a story this week listing all the reasons why people don’t want to use them. GQ ran a story this month about the practice of sero sorting and how PEP or post exposure prophylaxis might protect people who might not otherwise protect themselves. There is even a start up called STFree peddling sexual history licenses that can allegedly prove to your partner that you’re disease free. I did a story on condom use earlier this week, but with all the confusion surrounding this issue, I decided the story needed a little personal advice.

On a certain level, I don’t know why this is an issue. The facts seem pretty simple. You want to have sex. Great. If you have sex without a condom, you might give or get a sexually transmitted disease. Not great. If you have sex with a condom, you won’t give or get a sexually transmitted disease. Not perfect, but better.

Quick pop quiz: Is it better to have sex with or without a condom?

Is this a trick question? It does assume that you don’t want to get AIDS and you don’t want to kill other people and you actually want to live. I understand those are pretty big assumptions. You might have decided that life isn’t worth living and you want to take out as many people as you can before you check out of the game. In that case, condoms might not be for you. We all have to die of something. Maybe you decided you wanted to be killed by your own ignorance.

For the rest of you, it’s not a trick question. The answer is ‘its better to have sex with a condom.’

There is a concept that recent generations are suffering from condom burnout. That after almost two decades of being wrapped in latex, there is an emotional and mental backlash to them. We’re tired of being oppressed by Trojan.

That might make sense, unless you actually take a minute to think. You’ve been brushing your teeth, wiping your ass and putting on shoes every day for a while now right? So why don’t you have toothbrush, toilet paper or shoe burnout? Maybe because you’ve learned to adjust to civilized living. Maybe prophylactic burnout is just bullshit.

If it is better to have sex with a condom, then every other alternative is wrong. Sero sorting won’t stop the spread of disease. PEP isn’t as effective. There is no license anyone can show you to prove they aren’t infected. You basically have three options. No sex, dangerous sex or sex with a condom. Since no sex is a fate I don’t wish on any attractive adult, I’m going to stick with the condoms thanks.

I know I can’t dictate other people’s actions, no matter how much I sermonize. I know that sexuality is a pervasive element of the nightlife space. I know that 1 in 4 of us consciously decide not to use condoms. I know not enough people read New York Nights for this message to make a big difference. I know even if people did read it, 25% of us would still not wrap it up. I know that in the end the only thing I can do is make sure I have a condom whenever and wherever a love connection might happen. I’ll try to remember to bring an extra one for you, just in case you need one...

Have fun.
Gamal