This Week in Sex: 9.10.99

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This Week in Sex   
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September 4–10, 1999

Next Time, Maybe Use a Lubricant?

Chances are, you’ve bought condoms at least once in your life. And you probably remember the flush of embarrassment that first accompanied (or perhaps still accompanies) this act. But not like this. Never like this.


In Cadiz, a beach town in southern Spain, an unidentified 23-year-old man was getting it on with his girlfriend when he suddenly realized (and isn’t it always so suddenly?) that neither of them had a condom. According to a report this week in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the young lovebirds hunted down the nearest pharmacy and deposited a few coins in the condom vending machine out front. When the machine jammed and nothing came out, the man pounded on the machine in frustration and shoved his hand into the opening to retrieve his prophylactic. Unfortunately, two of his fingers got stuck inside, and as a result, the couple was stuck outside — captives of the condom dispenser for the next four hours. While the girl tried in vain to free him — eventually she had to call in the fire department — her boyfriend was subjected to a barrage of humiliating comments from passers-by. Meanies.

Oh Yeah? Tell It to the Spanish Guy

As awkward as buying condoms can be, it’s nothing compared to using them for the first time with a new partner. Now that’s tricky.


For years, the subject of safe sex has been a source of insecurity for new couples, and studies have suggested that many people are afraid to bring up condoms for fear that their partner will think they have a sexually transmitted disease. But researchers from the University of Georgia at Athens say they now have evidence that shows that insisting on safe sex doesn’t send a negative message at all; in fact, it does just the opposite.


In their study, the researchers had 268 college students role-play a situation where they were about to have sex with a new partner of the opposite sex. Some students were instructed to insist on condom use; others were told to refuse it. The result? “If you insist on the use of condoms, your partner will like you better,” says doctoral student and study researcher Don Turk. Now, the study’s not perfect; researchers acknowledge that people’s behavior may vary in different situations, such as one-night stands or same-sex encounters. And of course, if your hand gets stuck in the condom machine, all bets are off.

Bad News for Fans of the Female Condom

Apparently, sex with a condom is not necessarily safe sex — at least, not when the condom’s designed for a woman. According to a new study out of Atlanta (they sure do spend a lot of time researching condoms in Georgia), use of the female condom corresponds to a relatively high rate of semen exposure — as much as 22 percent. Researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say that this correlation — which raises questions about the female condom’s effectiveness in fighting HIV and other STDs — can be attributed to mechanical problems with the condom 59 percent of the time. Unfortunately, that means that 41 percent of the reported semen exposures in the study came when there were no apparent signs of condom failure.

And Now for Something Completely Condom-Free

Polly wants a cracker, nothing more. And that’s the problem.


According to a report in the Times of London, the New Zealand kakapo — a flightless, nocturnal parrot — is stumbling toward extinction, the victim of a diminished sex drive among the females of the species, who are more concerned with eating than with breeding. Now, with fewer than a hundred kakapos left in existence, biologists at the University of Mississippi are considering using a relative of Viagra — delivered via an epidermal patch — to stimulate the female kakapo and encourage breeding.


Male kakapos are unanimously behind the plan.

Quotes of the Week

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m a prude. I had to say the word ‘pussy’ in the pilot, and it took me weeks to prepare. I don’t use the F-word. These are just not things that I say.”

Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, in an upcoming Redbook interview.

“There is a lot of revealing of body parts. [Women] flash me a left one. Which . . . I have to say, I am not mad. A brother is not upset at all. I take no offense.”

— Gracious soul singer Maxwell, on the behavior of female fans at his concerts.

“Being an actor in my milieu was regarded as a slightly sissy profession. My father actually thought I was telling him I was gay.”

Michael Caine, 66, on coming out as a thespian to his parents when he was a young man.

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©1999 Dan Reines and