worn condom.jpg Gentlemen: it’s never a bad idea to have a condom on you. Even on the first date. Chances are, if your partner’s the kind of person who would 1. want to sleep with you on the first date and 2. ask if you have a condom, he or she is not going to be offended if you whip out a little latex.

Not everyone is so lucky on their first dates, but it’s also not unheard of to have safe, sober, and consensual sex with that hot person you just met a few hours ago. Wouldn’t you want to be prepared for that? Nothing says boner-killer like “no, I didn’t bring one.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the condom responsibility is only one person’s. But it helps if the person with the penis brings two or three of his own. Why him?

Not all penises are made alike. Some are small, some are big, some are VERY big, some are sensitive, and some can’t feel a damn thing. It’s best if the guy (assuming there is a guy in your sexual scenarios) brings a condom that he enjoys and that fits him well. Long-term relationships are the perfect time to find the right condom for you. First date sex with its awkward fumbling and lights-on-or-off battle? Not so much.

Another reason to BYOC: condoms are not necessarily one-size-fits-all, and do you want someone guesstimating what you have in your pants based on outside indicators? Is it big hands? Big feet? Skinny guys? Players? The penis reveal is a loaded moment of expectations and hope, and if your partner’s rubbing the Magnum in their pocket mumbling “big money big money” when you pull out your “snug fit” member…well, I don’t need to tell you what a goldfish in a plastic bag looks like, do I?

But in any sort of first-date pairing, it’s common courtesy to carry condoms, especially if you’re a top. Ladies, taking a ladyfriend back to the pussy parlor? Share your toys but not your germs. Porous toys (like jelly ones) can soak up your juices…and your infections (hello, UTI!). On the other hand, you can easily sanitize silicone toys by boiling them. Just to be on the safe side (and in case, you know, you don’t boil all five of your silicone dongs of varying size and color before every promising first date), slap a condom on the sucker anyway.

HIV is a scarier threat for men who have sex with men (MSM), so there shouldn’t ever be a condom shortage. Unfortunately, HIV is a bigger risk for this group, especially among receptive partners. Whether you’re topping or bottoming, it behooves you to use a condom for your sake and your partner’s sake. Both the top and the bottom should, ahem, come prepared or else they face a difficult situation between an ass and a hard place.

Then there’s the issue of proper storage. Don’t keep your emergency first-date condom in your wallet for months on end — your body heat and general wear and tear will degrade the quality of the condom. Check the expiration date, though condoms are good for a few years after manufacture. In other words, it’s a good idea to tuck in a first-date condom as you head out the door instead of letting it rub a circle into your wallet. An enclosed pocket (so it doesn’t fall out) in your bag or jacket is a handy and secure place for it.

Of course, some circles have a stigma against sleeping with someone on the first date, and that condom represents some sex-negative idea of dirtiness or sleaziness or sluttiness. So what happens if you and your sex-negative self (or partner) end up being so dirty, sleazy, and slutty?

There should be a stigma against sleeping with someone unprotected on the first date. The condom is not the enemy. The condom is your friend, my friend. There’s nothing wrong about safer sex, and there’s certainly nothing bad about being prepared for a fortunate turn of events. You can imagine all you want about what your partner might think of your condom-carrying self and your expectations, but at least you won’t get kicked out of bed if the clothes do come off.

Image from Rebekah Pavlovic.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at christine@sfappeal.com.

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