In a previous column, I wrote about a pregnancy scare my wife and I recently had. For those who didn't read it, on a slightly drunken evening, I forgot to use a condom and feared the worst.
As soon as the column hit the stands, we started getting all these wise-ass e-mails from our condom-hating married friends asking snotty questions like, “Hey, knucklehead, haven't you heard of the birth control pill?” and “Why not just get a vasectomy, dummy?” as if the rubber is the red-headed step-bastard of marital birth control.
I received so many e-mails and blog comments from all these contraception snobs that I couldn't help but respond to them here in print, all at once. My response is this:
Kiss my lambskins!
W. and I have our reasons for not using any of the aforementioned contraception options, and they are very private, which is why I'm only going to write about them here, and maybe blog about them as well.
Firstly, birth-control pills are not an option because W. can't stand the way they make her feel, and I don't like the idea of her being perpetually on prescription drugs.
As to why not “just get a vasectomy,” excuse me as I expel chocolate milk from my nostrils. Just a vasectomy?
Yeah, right. That's like saying, “Why not just get a face-botomy.” There's just no “just” about it. I would never elect to do anything to my penis that ends in ectomy or botomy.
Yes, I know, you're thinking, This guy's got a classic case of vasectophobia, and it's true, there's that. But it's not an unfounded phobia. Do you know how a vasectomy (also known as a deferentectomy) is performed? It's not like the nice doctor just makes a little slit, snips a piece of tissue and ties a yellow ribbon on it when he's done. No way. He cuts open the bottom of your penis, pulls back a fistful of skin and then—using scissors, clamps, hooks and a scythe—severs the celestial sluice from whence all life springs.
And what about the needle? Nobody factors the enormous needle they stick into your testicles twice in order to get to the point where they can start carving your business like sushi meat.
There are also risks associated with the procedure, such as (PVPS) post-vasectomy pain syndrome (2.2 percent of deferentectomized men, according to one study, reported chronic pain that diminished quality of life), those pesky sperm granulomas (small lumps of decaying sperm nodules floating along the vas deferens), vasectomy-dementia (researchers have discovered a possible link between deferentectomized males and primary progressive aphasia) and, of course, a condition known as pathological degenerative “I want a baby now” prerogativism (when your wife threatens to leave you if you don't get the procedure reversed).
Look, I'm not trying to dissuade or insult any of you vasectomy fans out there, but enough with the vasactivism, OK? To each his freaking own. Perhaps the risk is worth it for you. Perhaps you despise using condoms. I have no such motivation. Not only do I not hate rubbers, I almost prefer them. I find them cozy and calming, like sliding on clean tube socks when you get out of bed on a winter morning.
And when the wife and I are making beautiful music together, the desensitizing nature of latex helps me to, um—let's just say—helps me to sustain the G chord a little longer.
And I don't at all mind that awkward moment between foreplay and coitus, when you're trying to buckle up quickly without spoiling the mood. I barely even notice that moment anymore. It's like undoing a bra clasp: With a little practice, it's a snap.
And they come in different sizes and colors.
I guess what I'm saying is condoms, well—they just fit me. They fit us. We've been using them since we met and beyond. I've pretty much been using galoshes throughout my post-pubescent life. In fact, I would consider myself something of a condom Nazi.
In my teens and early 20s, it was driven by a fear of pregnancy. In my late 20s and early 30s, it was a dread of AIDS, herpes and any of the other strains of Johnson rot that science seemed to be discovering every other month back then. I even wore condoms with long-term girlfriends who were on the pill. Some of them thought I was being weird about it and persuaded me to unsheathe, but it wasn't even open for discussion, and because of it, I stayed healthy. I stayed unpregnant. I stayed firm.
My favorite brand of prophylactic is Trojan. I can hear the condom snobs now: “Dude, Trojans are so lame. Haven't you ever heard of Durex?”
Trojan's are a true blue-collar condom. You know, for the working man! Plus I love all that Trojan-horse mythology. Speaking of the ancients, condoms are not a modern invention. Paintings found in Egypt depict their use before 950 B.C. In Ancient Rome, warriors covered their phalluses with the intestines of their enemies. In Japan, condoms were made from leather or tortoise shells. It wasn't until 1844—when Charles Goodyear patented rubber vulcanization—that condom manufacturing was revolutionized. And sales went through the roof. Probably because, compared to turtle shells, vulcanized rubber must've felt like the vaginal walls of Aphrodite. The new look and feel of them became such a hit in the U.S. that Congress had to intervene, passing the Comstock Act of 1873, which prohibited transport of devices intended to prevent pregnancy. Oh sure, you could still get prophylactics with prescriptions, but only for STDs, not birth control, because, you know, sex for pleasure = Satan and Hell.
Fukken Americans: Leave it to them to demonize contraception. Leave it to them to circumscribe your sexual liberty. Leave it to them to decide what's best for you. And really, that's the basic point I'm trying to make to the contraception snobs. Why does it have to be that your birth-control methods are better than ours? Why can't it be that the vasectomy, or whatever, is better for your marriage and the rubber is better for ours? That's why we have so many contraception options out there, right? Vive la différence? I don't know why I have to keep reminding everybody of that.