Ethan’s contraceptive article

So listen kiddies it’s about time we had that talk. Yes, that talk. The dreaded sex talk. The talk your mother squeamishly titled “The Birds and the Bees” and turned out to include none of those creatures. The talk your father avoided completely, leaving you with a stack of vintage Playboys on your bed and a note saying he’d gone to play golf. Yes boys and girls, it’s time to break out your number two pencils and pull up a chair for this one. I call it “Intro to Safe Boot Knockin.” Or as they say in French “L’introduction … Knockin’ de Bottes.”A wise old cowgirl from Texas once told me, “Boy meets a girl, a girl meets a boy and a lucky boy meets two or more open-minded girls with gymnastics training.” Needless to say I immediately began to work on my iron cross. Come to think, I’m not really sure what she said. She was a mumbler with the face of Charles Bronson, the wardrobe of Dale Evans and a muscular right hand which always seemed to make its way to my ass. Anyways, what I’m trying to say here is that it took one look at her rugged face before I instinctively learned the value of safe sex.

In today’s day in age we are constantly bombarded by images and stories of sex. From MTV, to Cosmo, to Maxim, to even those damn bunnies in back of Main Hall who insist on engaging in daily voyeurism (Get a $%^&*@ bush!), sex is being flaunted everywhere. Many a time one is left stranded at a crossroads, lost in a sea of conflicting information, unable to decide on the proper way proceed in an adult manner. This is where I come in (See Kate, I do write useful columns sometimes. Thanks for the email) and gently usher you away from the demented rabbits down the path to a healthy and safe relationship.

“Sex” is derived from the ancient Greek word “Viagre” which in rough translation means “to lay-the-pipe in safe manner.” Over the centuries this original translation has been forgotten, “grown frigid,” cast along the wayside if you will, under the greed of popular culture trying to score a buck off the feeble and innocent minds of young adults. Let us then review this moment to review this ancient meaning to learn some valuable and important precautions one must observe if choosing to enter into a sexual relationship.

Instruction in the proper use of intimate protection is paramount to you and your partner’s safety. Protection comes in many forms and sizes and it is up to you to choose the one that best fits your needs and mental competence (pay attention Kate!).

For centuries, the male condom has been the premium choice in intimate protection for couples across the globe. In the beginning the condom consisted of rudimentary materials such as lamb’s intestines and other organic crap, yet those brilliant Trojans (gotta hand it to them…they never give up) slowly evolved the condom into its present state; a thin latex cylinder coming in a variety of styles and colors and tastes. With effectiveness in preventing unwanted birth between 85% and 98%, the lightweight, affordable and easy to use condom will remain in the male wallet for hundreds of years to come (no pun intended). Also beneficial is the condom’s ability to prevent disease. If used properly the condom has been shown to reduce the risk of contacting sexual transmitted diseases for both partners. However there are several helpful tips one must follow when using the male condom.
In using the condom it is important to select the right size. That means little Johnny shouldn’t buy Magnums (even at the urgings of his rugby teammates). Secondly, little Johnny must make sure to put the condom on before he engages in any form of sexual activities with his partner. Slip it on immediately, and after three minutes are up take if off quickly and carefully. Finally use lubricated condoms as they will likely diminish the chance of the condom tearing during intercourse.

Another popular choice for couples is the oral contraceptive (for the females). With diligent use the effective rate in preventing pregnancy is 99.7%.

Also popular is the contraceptive (transdermal) patch. Placed by the individual on an obscure body part of their choosing, the patch delivers the same hormones as the pill though absorbed through the skin. For those who are prone to lapses of forgetfulness or hate waking up a 3am to take their pill, the patch is a smart choice and delivers the same effectiveness as the oral pill if used correctly.

Another option women are taking advantage of is hormone injections (Depo/Provera). With one shot every three months, this relatively new means of birth control is slowly becoming more and more popular with women across America. So far documented failure rates are between 3% and .3%. More clinical studies are on the way.

So far we’ve outlined some of the more popular forms of contraception. With this said it’s time to visit some of the more esoteric forms of birth control.

First up is the female condom. Cumbersome, noisy and detracting from the overall presentation of the female area, the female condom came to prominence during the early 90’s when famed rapper “Old Dirty Bastard” was caught trying to smuggle 40 grams of cocaine into Mexico (befuddles me too) hidden in a female condom he told authorities was “his purse.”

Another option slowly losing favor is the diaphragm. In an interview with the Health Center’s Nurse Carol she stated she “hasn’t seen a diaphragm in her twelve years at Lawrence University.”

Finally, there is spermicide. Again, not effective if used by itself (71%-85% effective rate) best if coupled with the proper use of a male condom or other female contraceptive.

So where does this leave us. Let’s review. Choosing to engage in sexual activity forces one to make an informed decision in choosing a birth control method for the safety of both parties. While the male condom is currently the most popular choice in birth control, the pill and the transdermal patch are becoming exceedingly popular amongst women across the nation. For those wondering, combining the pill, patch, male and female condom, diaphragm, and spermicide can be a rather costly sexual experience and is not recommended, especially if you happen to be in Butte Montana during July 4th. It is important to remind you that only the condom(s) help in preventing STD’s-they do not completely reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease whatsoever.

For those worried about pregnancy and disease, the best advice is to abstain from all suspect relations. No-one is going to exclude you from watching “Sex and the City” or choose you last for a game of pick-up basketball. It’s and important life decision and saying “no” can be a very powerful and rewarding choice.

A final point I’d like to make as this lecture comes to an end; sex and alcohol don’t mix. It’s that simple. If in doubt turn on any evening news program or read a few pages in the local newspaper. If still in doubt take a trip over the Health Center and have a chat with Nurse Carol. She’ll scare the Grey Goose right out of you.

So that’s it. The in’s and out’s of safe sex. Okay, I’m out.

Sources: The sexy and talented Nurse Carol and

“A Pocket Guide to Contraception” Hatcher, Nelson