Utilizing Condom-Based Logic: Surprisingly Useful.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 10.854% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Look. You’re telling me Google’s developing self-driving cars, but condoms remain mired in old-school technology?  We all know that condoms are a) necessary and b) suck; shouldn’t someone have created a better, more pleasurable, condom by now?
As it turns out, people are trying. And the government’s insane standards of safety are making it more difficult.
That article I linked to is one of the most educational I’ve ever read – it debunks some of the “lambskin condoms are unsafe!” discussions I’ve had in the kink community.  (Short version: the government mandates a label that says, “Not to be used for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To help reduce the risk of catching or spreading many STDs, use only latex condoms.” And that label is based on outmoded tests created when we were most ignorant on how HIV was transmitted.)
Yet here’s the thing about condoms:  is it better to have a condom with a 99% protection record that people only use 70% of the time, or is it better to have a condom with a 97% protection record that people use 99% of the time?
Because that’s an ugly truth about condoms: so many people hate ’em, they refuse to use ’em.  (Even though, yes, they should.)  And if we’re judging safety by real-world standards, it’s a very legitimate concern to say, “Yes, latex condoms are very safe, but also uncomfortable enough that maaaaaybe it’s better to develop a slightly riskier condom that people will use more consistently.”
It’s a weird math there.  But it adds up.
And I used that math the other day, because one of the lasting effects of my triple-bypass emergency heart surgery is that I have to take a medication called Welchol. It comes in a packet, and it’s this gritty sand with a saccharine lemony aftertaste that is just awful to drink. But the doctor says it’s the best.
After months of not taking Welchol on the road because it’ll make you retch to drink it with straight water and it’ll ruin any cup you put it in, I thought:
Is it better to have a less effective medication that I take every day, or a better medication that I struggle to take four days out of seven?
I called the doctor and we changed my prescription to a pill.
And now that I’m aware of it, I use that condom-logic a lot: yeah, it’d be better if I worked out for forty-five minutes at a shot – but if I commit to that, then I get around to it maybe once a week. Whereas if I commit to a twenty-minute workout, I can do that three or four times a week.
With condom logic, I take my own foibles into account and stop asking, “What would be best in a vacuum?” and instead ask, “What would I be more realistically likely to do on a regular basis?”  And if there’s a less effective alternative that you know you’d use more often, then stop trying to hold yourself to this gold standard that you’ve proven you’re unable to achieve consistently, and go for the bronze standard you can hit all the time.
Because here’s the weird thing about bronze standards: Used to be that I worked out three times a week for fifteen minutes.  Now, on average, I’m working out four times a week for twenty.  You make that stuff a regular part of your habits, and there’s a good chance they stick and grow.
Which, of course, is not to say that you should excuse the non-usage of condoms, or missing heart medications, or couch-based exercise programs.  But something’s almost always better than nothing.  And you see that in New Years’ Resolutions, which at this stage of the year are often crumbling away because people vowed “I WILL LOSE FIFTY POUNDS!1!1!!1!” after years of vowing to lose fifty pounds and never keeping it off – instead of vowing something more reasonable, like “I’ll stop buying Frappuccinos from Starbucks on the way home.”
Look. It’d be nice if you lost fifty pounds and slid into your teenaged swimsuit and then went to the high school reunion to swan your figure around. But maybe losing fifteen pounds and getting a little more jogging in is what you’re capable of.  And doing the condom logic won’t make your life as good as, yes, the gold standard would, but if you have yet to win the gold after years of trying maybe you should see what you can realistically accomplish to less fanfare.
But seriously, kids. Use condoms.

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