Kudos to you, if you’ve talked to your teens (of any gender) about using condoms during oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse. I’d like to encourage you to take another step that may be more awkward but is just as important: Talk about condom sizes and shapes.
Condoms can enhance sexual enjoyment or limit it, and getting the right fit can affect whether people will use condoms consistently. Penises come in many sizes, and condoms that are too short or too long can, respectively, slip off or create an uncomfortably tight roll at the base of the penis. Pleasure is another factor, as some new condom shapes allow more movement within the condom, which increases a natural feel — especially when a small amount of lubricant is dripped into the condom prior to it being placed on the erect penis. Some partners enjoy different sensations from textured condoms.
Dr. Paul Joannides, author of “The Guide to Getting It On,” has posted a terrific video that explains the whys and wherefores of new condom shapes and sizes. Watch it here. Then, email the link to your young adult and encourage viewing. Think your email heads into the spam file automatically? Try this subject line: Condoms Can Feel Good — Use them.
I recently spoke to a parent who encouraged his 13-year-old to keep condoms in his backpack at all times — even though he wasn’t yet sexually active. The dad’s rationale? It takes a long time to build up a habit, and he wants his son to be comfortable carrying condoms by the time he needs them. He also bought condoms in bulk and, when his son asked to practice with them, encouraged his son to use them during masturbation. This is a clever idea because it will link sexual pleasure to a potentially life-saving practice of consistent condom use.