Many people enjoy some sort of regular sexual life, whether that’s with a partner or partners, within a committed relationship or solo. We at ONE® believe that everyone should also have the option to enjoy both fantastic and safer sex! Condom use, and sexual health more broadly, spans the full spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity.
And that’s why we think condoms should be the same way! That starts way before your sexual experience: it starts with a cultural and interpersonal conversation. By that we mean, one of the best ways to maintain sexual health for all is by keeping the condom conversation gender inclusive.
Let’s talk about what that means, why it matters and how to do that!
What Does it Mean to be Gender Inclusive?
The phrase gender inclusive is relatively new to the cultural lexicon, but many have been using these language strategies for years. Have you thought recently about greetings like “sir” and “madam”? What about suffixes like “man” in words like policeman and fireman versus something like “weather girl”? Ever wondered why there are sections for “boys” and “girls” toys at the department store?
In simple terms, gender inclusive language is avoiding the use of gendered terms that might reinforce stereotypes or exclude groups of people based on gender. Gender inclusive language can be as simple as swapping something like “you guys” out for “you all” or something similar. Even words like firefighter, police officer, sportsperson, meteorologist, they’re all gender inclusive. Easy peasy, right? And the same can be done when discussing sexual health, safer sex practices and condoms!
The Big Picture: Why Does it Matter?
Gender inclusive language, whether you’re talking to your partner, a friend or someone else in your life, extends beyond language and the physical elements of safer sex. It’s a verbal commitment to diversity and inclusion, and can help push for acceptance and support for people of all genders. On an individual level, it can help establish trust and let people know it is safe to be honest and open with you. The latter is critical in maintaining sexual health for all. When people feel comfortable being themselves with you, it is much easier to discuss sometimes very personal preferences, practices and perspectives.
How to be Gender Inclusive in Conversations about Condoms
So just how can you apply these same ideas to talking about condoms? By dismantling the gendered language around condoms and safer sex, which goes way, way back to the early days of condoms. Historically, condoms have been called a handful of different names, from sheaths to prophylactics to rubbers and more. Unfortunately, some of the terms have also been gendered in nature. A standard condom was called a “male condom” for many years, while internal condoms were frequently referred to as “female condoms.”
These terms have started to shift over time but they highlight the importance of gender inclusive language around condoms. Because all bodies and every person are different, not everyone looking to wear the condom will have a gender identity or physical characteristics to match historical terms. And that’s wonderful! Everyone should have the option to use condoms to prevent pregnancies and protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
Want some more hands-on advice? Here are some helpful ways to be gender inclusive in discussing condoms:
- The More You Know: It’s always good to start out by doing a bit of research to brush up on new terms and phrases, new products and what your personal preferences are. This will equip you with the tools you need for your conversation. There are a lot of great resources online for this, too!
- The Earlier, The Better: Our best advice is to start the conversation about safer sex way before you’re hot and heavy, in the heat of the moment. It is much easier to keep a cool head and discuss testing history, risk factors, preferences and supplies while you’re not...otherwise occupied. *wink*
- Don’t Assume: This is generally solid advice, but is especially important to be gender inclusive. For example, it’s better to let someone tell you their pronouns rather than to guess based on what you see. The same goes for people’s bodies and sexual preferences around safer sex. It’s better to ask in advance and be sure everyone is comfortable!
- Same Safer Sex Suggestions: As always, you’ll want to follow all the same suggestions for successful condom use. This includes everything from checking the expiration date, pinching the tip, rolling down the full length of the shaft, avoiding the use of oil based lubricants and carefully cleaning up afterwards.
- Bonus: Toys, Tools and More! One of the elements that many people enjoy in their sexual lives are various sexual toys, either alone or with partner(s)! This is yet another reason to be gender inclusive, and especially important for many LGBTQIA+ people. Take for example, something like a dildo or strap-on made out of silicone. You would want to take the same precautions in using a condom, especially when sharing between or among partners. So rather than specifically refer to penis-related terms, you might instead use something like “shaft,” “tip” and “base.” The same would be true for any penetration-oriented toys like a fleshjack or the like. Simple shifts like this can encourage all who enjoy a regular sex life, with the inclusion of toys, to participate in a fruitful conversation about condoms.
Where to Find Condoms for All
We at ONE® are committed to providing premium sexual health products to any and all who are looking to enhance their sexual experiences and ensure they are practicing safer sex. This includes a variety of quality-tested condoms of all sorts and styles, as well as slippery, smooth personal lubricants. Sound like what you’re looking for? Shop our online collection here.
Also, because we also appreciate that all bodies are different, we are proud to have recently celebrated the four-year anniversary of our myONE® products. These custom-fit condoms boast feature 60 size combinations, designed to provide you with comfort, confidence and great-fitting condoms. Check out myONE® here, and find your perfect fit today.