The Reality Condom; or, the reality of condoms

Content Warning for HOT SEX.

In my short, hedonistic life I’ve had sexual relations with a number of men. Not all men of course; but more than a score and less than a hundred. And none of my lovers have taken condom-wearing very seriously.

The most common excuse (or reasoning) I get is one of sensations. Wearing condoms doesn’t feel as good to them, although most men can orgasm while wearing condoms. Another excuse I have heard is “Don’t you trust me?” as if condom-wearing was some symbol of distrust, and not a safety device. (If you got in a friend’s car and put on your seat belt for the ride, would it be logical for him to take offense that you didn’t “trust” him to drive carefully?)

I’ve never known a man to actually carry condoms, for they expect me to have them. (And I often do.) If I’m on hormonal BC getting a man to wear a condom is harder than winning a presidential debate. It’s gotten to a point that I simply won’t use the pills unless I’m going steady with someone (and ready to expose myself to all their past sex partners.) I’ve even handed a condom to a man I was about to fuck and he coyly threw it away. (He didn’t get a call-back, then stalked me for months.)

I thought the problem was me, or my taste in lovers; but then I read this article in the Times, and this one by Jessica Valenti; and also this petition by Parsemus.org. Apparently fewer than 20% of men use condoms, and historical declines in condom use are correlated with increases in use of other (woman-controlled) methods like hormonal BC. So it isn’t just me; apparently nearly all women (<80%) have to fight with their boyfriends to make them put on a rubber.

This brings me to a device called the female condom; sometimes marketed under the brand “The Reality Condom.”

realitycondom

“Today’s protection for today’s woman.” Which idiot wrote this packaging copy?

Male condoms sometimes have suggestive, sexy names; like Trojan, Kimono, Sir Richard’s, etc. Or they may have neutral names like Lifestyles, Crown, or Trustex. But we girls get the “Reality” condom; as if asking a man to be responsible for his own contraceptives is some kind of fantasy.

There’s another shitty reality to the Reality condom. They’re hard to find and expensive. Most drug stores only stock male condoms; even sex toy stores like Babeland don’t always keep them in stock (they sell out quickly, LOL.) On Amazon, you can buy 5 reality condoms for $18.95, or a whopping 3.79 per condom (excluding cost of shipping.)

By comparison you can get 48 Kimono condoms (my preferred brand) on Amazon for $19.68… a cost of 41 cents per condom (excl. shipping.) Female condoms cost nine times that of male ones. And according to one couple interviewed by the Times, the Reality condom has all the visual allure of a trash can liner.

Now, I’m not some condom fetishist. I don’t particularly like wearing bits of latex during sex; there’s issues of lubrication, chafing & etc. It can be difficult to stop yourself (or your partner) during foreplay to put a condom on; and it’s harder still if he starts whining about it like a schoolboy. But the vast majority of men seem to think condom-wearing is somehow optional but contraception is not, which is incredibly foolish.

Firstly, it’s foolish because the pill doesn’t protect against STIs. You can still give a woman HIV if she’s on the pill. Secondly, it’s foolish because men have to take the woman’s word for it that she’s on the pill and trust her (that “trust” again) to use them correctly. So by not wearing a condom, a man shunts the responsibility for contraception onto the woman he’s sleeping with.

And if the woman’s birth control fails, she must choose between two equally horrible options. If she elects to end the pregnancy, there’s a certain breed of woman-hater who thinks she has no right. And if she carries the pregnancy to term, there’s a certain breed of man who thinks she has no right to expect child support. If you read AVFM enough you will find men angrily writing both viewpoints: that women have no right to abort their children; nor have they the right to raise those children with their paycheck (i.e. demand child support.) Some woman-haters even think men should have a right to disown any children they don’t *want* to pay for, as a right commensurate to a woman’s right to termination.

Let me bring this back to the “Reality” condom. In my links above you might have noticed there’s been some developments in the whole male-birth-control front: both a “clean sheets” pill which stops ejaculation (though orgasm still happens) and a polymer called Vasalgel which works like a reversible vasectomy. (Neither of these things are currently available for consumer use in the US; but there is a pilot project in India.) But how many dudes are going to let a doctor inject their scrotum with a polymer if they can’t be bothered to roll a latex sheath over their penis? Why should I expect someone too selfish for condoms to take a pill every day to forestall ejaculation?

The reality of contraception for women today might be summed up as “Your body, your problem.” We’re ones who get pregnant and overwhelmingly it’s women who have to deal with the consequences. We’re at least 80% responsible for using contraception, not because there aren’t suitable male options (like condoms) but because it’s our bodies, ergo our problem. Engineering male contraceptives won’t do anything to dismantle the attitude that using contraception is women’s work.

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MRAs of Savage Love: Seandr, the asshole from Seattle

Well it finally seems like that Quinnspiracy thing is simmering down. #gamergate’s been discredited, Zoe Quinn’s back to making games, and Eron Gjoni is still (*still*) defending himself/pining away at his Twitter account. The FBI is on the case, and all’s right in the world.

But a woman’s work is never done; and that goes double when the work in question is writing about misogyny. So we’re back with the next installment of my little series “MRAs of Savage Love”, documenting their sexist, faptastic and often off-topic advice.

Before I begin, you might be asking “But Idle, why waste your valuable writing time on these douchebags? It’s just the comments thread; any idiot can write any foolish thing there. Dan Savage himself usually gives great advice.”

Dear reader, you’d be right: as MRAs go, those on Savage Love are neither particularly caustic or obvious in their prejudice against women. It’s more “yes but” and “if only she…” kind of sexism, the soft-sell where it seems like the advice giver is really doing their best thinking. (Also the Stranger might ban them if they called women “cunts”.) Paradoxically, this makes SLMRAs insidious, because actual women have been known to actually write Dan looking for advice about boyfriends who behave in a manner these shitlords condone.

My concern is that a woman writing Dan for advice might actually read what these jerks are writing her, and not knowing any better take it to heart; and rethink leaving that abusive alcoholic, or the man who torments them by bringing up their sexual history. Heaven forbid these people writing letters in good faith might actually think this faptastic, wrong-headed ‘advice’ is actually useful in some way. To these jerks, the actual problems of LWs are twisted around the warped image of sex&gender they carry around in their heads. That’s why I write about these winners.

This brings us to today’s guest: a delightful fellow named seandr. IRL, seandr seems like the kind of guy who seems alright until you invite him to the neighborhood block party; but once he gets a few drinks in him reveals himself to be that guy. (The one who makes eyes at lesbians, and talks about “the wife” (his wife) as if she’s a soft furnishing.)

About half the time he gives what I’d call ‘faptastic’ advice, like this advice he gave to an uncircumcised man who comes too soon: (as always, the bold is my emphasis)

UNCUT: You’re 20. I could only last 3 minutes or so when I was a youth in my first LTR. Next woman I slept with, I could suddenly last as long as I wanted. The intervening dry spell and being with a new partner seemed to allow my brain to break out of the pattern that had been established in the previous relationship.

Enjoy your sensitive dick – it’s a gift. The solution to your problem lies somewhere in your head. With luck, you’ll eventually stumble upon it.

P.S. I’ve found talking during sex allows me to fight back untimely orgasms. Dirty talk, clean talk, or words of encouragement if she’s close to coming. Maybe that or something similar will enable you to pull yourself out of your head when you feel one coming on.

Is it the advice the reader asked for? Yes. It’s also an excuse for seandr to play show and tell with his penis and discuss all the sex he has with women. You wonder if he’s compensating for something?

But that couldn’t be. Seandr gets all the sex, because he talks about it even when his sex life isn’t the topic at hand. Here, he turns a discussion about Ray Rice into one about how his girlfriends all beat him:

At the start of the video she backhands him in the face, and she was coming at him again when he hit her. I guess we’re just gong to pretend those things didn’t happen?

A man should never hit a woman under any circumstances. But a woman should never hit a man. It’s hard for me to cast a woman like Janay as “battered victim” when she obviously feels entitled to hit him whenever the whim strikes.

I’ve experienced a number of domestic violence incidents in my life, all at the hands of my female partners. I’ve been clubbed in the back of the head (in public!) with a backpack full of books while trying to walk away from an argument. I’ve been surprise attacked with a volley of punches while sitting at my desk working, and another time while I was sleeping. Yes, sleeping. I’ve been shoved. I’ve had a book thrown at me. I’ve been blocked from exiting rooms.

Apparently, like Janay’s backhand, those incidents don’t really count.

Apparently in seandr’s world, having a book thrown at you or being prevented from leaving a room is comparable to being cold-cocked by a person fifty pounds heavier than you. Glad we cleared that up.

And seandr would know about starting catfights; even the lesbos want a piece of him!

@seatackled: I see. So I deserved to be attacked by my girlfriends because one night a lesbian friend and I flirted and made googly eyes at each other?

Please, do the right thing and remove yourself from the dating pool.

To which I say: cool story, bro. But don’t let my write-up make you think seandr hasn’t got any humility:

@seatackled: you gave no reason for anyone to think that there’s any verbal expression of consent.

Consent for what? Enjoying each other’s company? Laughing at each other’s jokes? Appreciating a moment of mutual attraction? What in the fuck are you talking about?

If you’ve never had the experience of gazing into the eyes of a woman who’s been taken in by your charm, bummer for you.

The irony here is that I am the King of not approaching women who have given me obvious indications of interest. Something about that dynamic makes me very nervous. In fact, on many occasions, women have lost patience with my inaction and taken matters into their own hands (although most of them just give up).

There are many more kinds of men in the world than you seem to think there are.

Have you, seandr? Had ‘the experience of gazing into the eyes of a woman who’s been taken in (nice passive) by your charms’, that is? Or do you just stare at them, livid with jealousy? Because there’s something weird how he writes as if the letter writers are not having sex with other people, but with him:

@LavaGirl: And you say it’s her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed?

A woman can set whatever limits she wants around her sexual repertoire, but I’m not going to give her a medal just for showing up.

He also has the charming habit of calling women who disagree with him “babe”, as if they too are dating him. This is why seandr’s an MRA: the way he puts down women (both LWs, commenters, and those in the public eye) his relentless opining about his own sex life & sexual history belie the premise that he sees women as his equals, and not as living sex toys for his consumption.

As an example, let’s look at this post where seandr discusses porn and feminism (the double whammy!) There’s even mansplaining!

@LavaGirl: you lump Feminism with the Tea Party?

I haven’t “lumped” anything. I’ve simply named them both, along with Christianity, as examples of doctrine.

” irrational biases” you say, about what?

Women who hate men, for example, can find ideas that resonate in some feminist writing. Of course, this example only works if you believe that hating men is an irrational bias.

You think porn shows men how to treat women as they want to be treated ?

Huh? Sorry, babe, but given the endless variety of women out there, there’s really no such thing as How Women Want To Be Treated. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had sex with two women who wanted to be treated exactly the same way. Of course, you’d have to be the sort of person who fucks women to know this.

There’s also an endless variety of porn out there, and the savvy porn consumer can definitely borrow ideas to enhance his woman’s pleasure. Many times I’ve sat in front of the computer, dick in hand, watching a scene and thinking “Hmm, that’s interesting, I wonder if she’d enjoy that.” Sometimes she has.

Finally, I’ve been with women who were turned on by their ability to turn me on, and porn has definitely helped me identify what turns me on.

Hmm. I can’t decide which mental image he’s provided with sums him up better: seandr as the guy in front of a computer beating off; or seandr, the guy who repeatedly reminds you he has sex with women. His casual condescension is so irritating that part of me isn’t surprised that his *numerous* girlfriends have a tendency to lose their shit and want to beat him senseless. If I had the misfortune of dating this oppositional, mansplaining jerk I might lose my shit too.

– Caroline.

Eron Gjoni, scorned internet ex, and self-described “devilishly attractive beta cuck” defends his recent actions

Eron Gjoni: The kind of man who wants to have his revenge and his reputation, too.

Eron Gjoni: The kind of man who wants to have his revenge and his reputation, too. (But certainly not a shave.)

Perhaps you’ve heard of Eron Gjoni. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. His name is much less well known than that of Zoe Quinn, game designer and recent target of the massive Twitter harassment campaign #gamergate. For those of you just tuning into this scandal, I’ll provide a quick recap:

August 16: Eron Gjoni posts a 10,000 word article regarding his recent ex Zoe Quinn, titled “Some Closing Words for the Future Lovers, Friends and Business Associates of Zoe Quinn.” The stated purpose of his post is to warn anyone who comes into contact with Quinn about her, allegedly because she cheated on him and lied about it. According to Eron this amounts to rape, because his consent to have sex was predicated on Quinn’s not consenting to have sex with anyone else. (This isn’t really rape, since you can’t withdraw consent to have sex after the act is completed, but let’s not get hung up on that.) “Closing Words” is basically a butthurt screed where Gjoni reflects on how Quinn allegedly cheated on him, complete with screengrabs from facebook and photos of them together at the start of their relationship. It’s clear reading it that Gjoni is hurt by what happened to him, and the thing is nearly the length of a novella complete with “acts”.

August 16-20: 4chan gets hold of Gjoni’s post, and begins harassing Quinn day and night, ostensibly in the name of “game journalism ethics”, because one of the men Quinn allegedly slept with works for Kotaku. (It’s irrelevant because he never reviewed her game or wrote about her after their relationship began.) Internet detectives begin digging up details on Quinn’s personal life based on the information Gjoni disclosed and tweeting nude photographs and rape threats to her at light speed.

August 20: David Futrelle writes about Zoe Quinn’s harassment, and I begin to follow the story. The harassment of Quinn continues apace.

August 24: Eron Gjoni joins the IRC Channel #burgersandfries (a reference to something Gjoni wrote in his original indictment of Quinn’s character). In it he discusses Quinn’s plans to move, how much better he feels having posted his 10,000 word warning, whether Zoe’s family is rich or not, and how he’s being widely hated by SJWs such as myself for his Aug 16 post. He’s generally accepted as one of the boys and shown respect by the anons in the channel. He avoids doxxing his ex (despite repeated requests) but remains in the channel for to answer questions about Quinn’s previous work, her weight, and her previous ex-boyfriends. Memorably, Gjoni writes:

Aug 24 20.50.44 <Cyberserker>	"Ask him why he seems to be making this very personal."
Aug 24 20.51.22 <Eron_G>	Because my girlfriend cheated on me a ton and all of the things I thought I loved her for were an act.

September 6: Zoe Quinn posts screenshots of #burgersandfries.  Eron Gjoni is shown to be in them, coaching anons from 4chan on how to make #gamergate appear like a reasonable, grassroots movement focused on video game ethics rather than a witch hunt designed to ruin his ex’s career. Quinn proves it’s actually Gjoni (and not someone pretending to be him) by using whois, although the logs also confirm his identity, as anons repeatedly ask Gjoni if it really is him and Gjoni reponds to their questions with answers only he could know. He is also given admin status within minutes of his arrival.

September 8: Full logs of #burgersandfries are dumped in some halfassed attempt to exonerate 4chan and prove #gamergate really is about journalism ethics. But to quote David Futrelle, if anyone knew what was in them,  they would have kept them to themselves.

September 9-10: I have a conversation with Eron Gjoni on Twitter about his conduct regarding Zoe Quinn, and how it is libel and/or criminal incitement. I was a little pissed at him. He links me to this post, published the same day the IRC logs were. That’s what I’m going to review and quote here.

My initial impression of Gjoni’s latest blog post was that it was incredibly dishonest; like most of his work. But let’s let Eron Gjoni’s words speak for themselves.

I’d set out to warn people about the sorts of things Zoe does, and here she was very clearly misrepresenting the contents of the logs, and abandoning her own views on the importance of trying to talk to detractors — in order to vilify me for doing just that. And people just believed her about it.

No, I don’t think I was wrong to be in that chatroom. It was overwhelmingly the right thing to do. And if you wondered “what kind of person even chooses to associate with that group of jerks” then simply put yourself in my shoes.

Well, that answered my burning question on Twitter- whether he intended to send a virtual mob to hunt Quinn down or not, he’s certainly not sorry that it happened. Although the content of the original post makes it clear Gjoni wants to ruin Quinn’s career and personal life, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. But Gjoni would rather focus on the real victims here- himself, and the people harassing Quinn.

And I had an open and eager audience willing to discuss things with me, whose views were completely contrary to my own. I wasn’t powerless to prevent things from devolving. I could do something.

So I did. I did the kind of thing I fell in love with Zoe for saying she would do. I did the thing Zoe is now calling me evil for doing. I did the thing that was most needed, and that no one else would do. I talked to them, like they were human.

Because they are human.

They are human. They are human. They are human.

They are human, and they’re willing to listen to you if you’ll just let them know you’re willing to have an open and honest discussion with them. They will talk openly and honestly, and if you do it back, you’ll agree on what sorts of actions are in everyone’s (including their) best interest.

Well, Quinn’s harassers are human! That’s certainly a relief, since they could have been bots, or dogs on the internet, or apes who learned to read and write and use Twitter /sarcasm.

But as Gjoni repeats six times, they are HUMANS, who “just want to be listened to”. This whole thing smacks of false equivalency– Gjoni seems to be suggesting that if everyone just kept an open mind and forgave Quinn’s harassers for harassing her day and night, we would see the virtue of their actions, that these are just poor misunderstood souls whose relentless tweeting of Quinn’s nudes were a misguided act of internet patriotism. Add a side of aggrieved entitlement (the comment on “doing the kind of thing I fell in love with Zoe for saying she would do”) and we have Eron Gjoni and the #gamergate movement to a T. But then Gjoni moves on to the outright lies; the sort he says are Quinn’s trademark but are actually Gjoni’s own.

The twitter harassment didn’t just begin to die down, but was actively being discouraged by members of the movement. When members used the tag to harass; other members would reply to tell them to stop.

Eron, knock it off. I’ve read the chat logs– even persons who at times discourage harassing Quinn will later gleefully do it themselves; and there’s little to no policing of the harassment that Quinn recieved by/from #burgersandfries on the channel itself. Indeed, the only convincing argument that makes anyone think twice about harassing Quinn isn’t the effect it will have on her, but the effect it will have on #gamergate and 4chan’s reputation. That’s not compassion… indeed, one anon cautions against harassing Quinn only because it’s a “bad PR move”. Eugh.

After stating #gamergate is there to “make a difference” (yeah right) and his plans to participate in a podcast debate, Gjoni closes with how, if you just work with the trolls, everything comes out roses:

Things are rougher in the internet hatebox — hateboxes don’t act on consensus, they only act on mutual interests. And by definition, the hatebox is a box that will hate you. The hatebox hated me too at first, and inherent lack of consensus means some of it still does. But I went from being known as a “beta cuck” to a “devilishly attractive beta cuck” to having people eager to speak with and listen to me. So yes, it might be rough at first, but you really can foster honest discussion and even camaraderie with people who initially disagree with everything you stand for. I know it’s not impossible, because I’ve done it. And maybe others can too.

Gjoni, I don’t know who’s calling you a “devilishly attractive beta cuck.” If anything, I would call you a liar and a manipulator, of the caliber you accuse Zoe Quinn of being in your initial indictment. Also; check your privelege– as a white man from New England in his mid-twenties, you’re pretty much the stereotype of the AAA gamer. It is naturally easier for you to fit in, and the rage you recieved from 4chan was but a fraction that Quinn recieved, and once you enter the IRC chat the tone changes markedly. There’s a profound difference from the locker-room type bullying you received and the abject threats and harassment Quinn recieved. To suggest the same is a false equivalence.

It’s clear to me that Gjoni is smart enough to know that posting such an excruciatingly detailed story about his relationship with Quinn (complete with pictures) and forwarding it to 4chan would gin up a virtual mob; indeed he knew she’d been harassed and stalked by anons before. So by writing such a document it’s apparent that Gjoni wanted someone else to do the dirty work of harassing and stalking her; so that he could offer some meek resistance and false-equivalence handwaving, window dressing to make him seem like the unwilling pawn in a groundswell of internet anger which Gjoni just happened to unleash on his ex, through no fault of his own. When I contacted him on Twitter I was interested to know whether or not he had any remorse for doing this, even a little bit– but it’s apparent that inasmuch as Quinn’s been harassed, Eron Gjoni got exactly what he wanted.

However, if anything, it’s unlikely he will ever be remembered as anything but “that douchebag who posted a bunch of personal information about Zoe Quinn to try and ruin her life & career.” Such revenge plans often backfire; indeed, with the groundswell of support Quinn has received in recent weeks it’s unlikely Gjoni should ever be employed again.