Alexis on the Sexes: Rubber rules

Updated 12/6/2012

Condom etiquette, before and after sex.

Q: My last boyfriend always showed me a great time in bed, but I often woke up to find the condoms that we had used thrown on the floor mere inches from the trash can. I can handle the fact that there are bodily fluids inside and outside a used condom, but I'd rather not peel it off of the floor the next day. Is it too much to ask that condoms make it into the trash? I was also the only one who ever thought to buy them, which I thought was inconsiderate.

A: The hurried excitement that hopefully accompanies sex, often with the condom wrapper getting tossed across the room, is something we all understand. House manners go out the window and littering is common in anticipation of unrolling the magic slipper. After climax, however, should be a different story. Unless your partner is trying to break some sort of ejaculatory world record, there's really no rush. Those three extra seconds to ensure that the condom itself ends up in the proper receptacle should undoubtedly be spent. No one should have to spot-clean the hardwoods before running off to work in the morning just because someone else was feeling extra-lazy the night before.

For future reference, you can nip that lazy thing in the bud pretty easily by saying, "the trash can is right over there" as soon as the condom starts coming off. If you've just been banged into oblivion and preventing litter is the last thing on your mind, then pick the thing up once your fog of ecstasy has lifted. Reach over, toss it into the garbage and say something like, "I don't want to peel this off the floor in the morning; good thing I have a wastebasket right here." Your partner should get the hint if he's remotely intelligent and understands the desire to keep one's bedroom from resembling a truck-stop bathroom. In the event there is no wastebasket within 10 feet of your bed, go buy one. Seriously, they're like $2 at Ikea.

As far as condom-purchasing duty, you just have to say something. Agree on the make and model that works for both of you, and take turns buying boxes. A dude thinks about sex every hour and a half on average; if he's having it regularly with condoms, he'll remember to buy some.

Q: For someone who writes pro-sex and appears to support different lifestyle choices, you seem a little anti-porn. What's a guy to do if he's in between relationships and not interested in bothering with the cat-and-mouse game of casual sex?

A: That's not true! I think porn has a purpose, though I think it is relied upon far too often by too many people. As I have written before, researchers have established a link between regular viewing of porn and the desensitizing of pleasure receptors. Men who watch a lot of porn are slower to be aroused by the real thing and can have trouble climaxing during sex. That is just plain terrifying.

If you can't orgasm from masturbation without watching porn, then you need to lay off it for a while. Take a little break from jerking off, and when you resume, try using your imagination. Watching other people get paid to bang each other has become a pastime for some and it's not producing healthy results. Consume your video clips in moderation and try watching real sex instead of awkward actors. Comstock Films produces the ultimate reality TV: documentaries featuring real couples of all lifestyles having real sex. Tristan Taormino makes real sex movies, too. She casts known porn stars, but follows them home to see what the pros really like to do when they're off the clock.

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