Why are women judged for carrying condoms?

With all the talk about safe sex, why do unfair double standards still exist for women who carry condoms?

Written by Aisling Concannon


I recently responded to a survey tweeted by SpunOut.ie asking about carrying condoms, the Internet and sexual education. The questions were pretty much what you would expect, nothing too controversial. There were separate questions on what I thought of a male carrying a condom and what I thought of a female carrying a condom. This made me think. “Ah, they think they’re going to find some variation between the two, the big eejits. Sur’ hardly, in this day and age like”.

Lo and behold, to my shock and severe disappointment, one of the key findings listed in the survey results was the negative attitudes towards females carrying condoms. I’m ashamed to say that of the 140 participants, there was a reported “overwhelmingly negative attitude towards females who carried condoms, with both males and females saying it made them look ‘easy’ and ‘slutty’.”

Hold on there… So, I assume it’s grand if a lad carries protection with him, but for a girl to do the same, for her to take positive action to protect herself and her body, makes her a ‘slut’. I’m not gonna lie… I.Just.Don’t.Get.This. I’ve tried looking at it from all angles, even squinting a little and cocking my head to the right, but I just don’t see the logic here.

“Good lads – make sure ye wrap it before ya tap it”. “Ladies – If I see a flash of the telltale blue of an ExtraSafe in your handbag you must be easy”. How is this possible? These are 17 to 25-year-olds. Who, presumably, know the dangers of unprotected sex. We’ve all heard the word chlamydia. One of the countless scary things-that-you-could-get-if-you-don’t-use-a-condom.

We’ve all heard the stories of unwanted/unexpected pregnancies. We all know how to prevent these! And with such a quick and easy method, why should anyone, whether man or woman, take the chance? In my humble opinion, everybody should carry a condom on them, regardless of whether they’re 99.99999% sure it’ll never see the light of day. It doesn’t make you promiscuous and it doesn’t mean you’re on the prowl. It means that you are a responsible adult.

So why, oh why, am I easy and slutty for taking steps to protect myself? And yes, I do mean me personally. I am proud to say that I am a young woman intelligent enough to carry a condom. (Not to say that those who do not are unintelligent). But carrying a condom is in no way something to be associated with ‘easiness’. If anything, it indicates that I consider the consequences of my sexual actions, not that I am this scarlet woman ready to jump into bed with the next yoke with a pulse.

Please, somebody explain to me how this negative attitude can be justified. It’s ridiculous. It’s time now to grow up, we are adults, we can leave the Catholic conservatism behind. It’s 2013, and we should be proud of women, and men, taking control of their sexual lives. We are not ‘sluts’.

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