Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love your Latex: Condoms 101

Condom Care & Storage:


  • Always get your condoms from a trusted location, where the temperature is controlled and condoms are displayed away from windows and direct sunlight. HGLHC cares for our condoms and stores them in temperature controlled conditions away from sunlight.
  • Always store condoms at room temperature (55° - 80° F) and in a dry place. This means you should avoid leaving them in your car for too long (where it can get too hot or too cold).
  • Always check the date to make sure the condom has not expired and make sure there aren't any tears or holes in the package
  • Always wash hands before handling a condom if you've been handling oil-based products like massage oil, baby oil, some lotions, vegetable oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), Crisco, etc. Why? Oils can break down the latex. That's why you should use water-based lubes like we give out @ HGLHC.
  • Always throw used condoms away in the garbage wrapped in tissue.

  • Never leave condoms in direct sunlight or store them for prolonged periods at temperatures above 100° F or below freezing. Never leave condoms in your glove compartment or your wallet.
  • Never reuse a condom!
  • Never throw used condoms away in the toilet. You'll have a lot of explaining to do to your plumber.

Using a Male Condom....

The best way to prevent a condom from breaking starts before you ever open the package. Follow these simple tips to help ensure you are being protected!

--- Remember, if you have never used a condom before, practice first! Put it on by yourself if you're a male(ladies, use a vibrator or banana) to make sure you know the drill before you are in the heat of the moment.

Before foreplay…

-- Check the expiration date. Never use a condom that is expired. Expiration dates are found on the packaging and also on the wrapper of each individual condom.
-- Make sure the condom wrapper has not been opened. If it looks extremely flat and smashed, don't use it.
-- If you feel good about the condom you chose, leave it un-opened in a handy, easy-to-reach location, like on the night stand near the bed... under the living room couch... in the kitchen cabinet... wherever you might get it on!

When to put it on…

-- Put the condom on at the time the penis is erect (hard) before it comes in contact with other skin. This will reduce your risk of spreading disease and will keep pre-cum away from your partner's body.
-- Use the condom during oral sex. You can still spread/contract sexually transmitted diseases and infections through your mouth! Try mint-flavored ones... freshen your breath while you're at it ;)

How to put it on…

-- Carefully open the condom wrapper. Start to tear the edge that has a zig-zag cut. Make sure you are only tearing the wrapper and NOT the condom! Never use your teeth, scissors, etc. to open a condom.
-- Pull the condom out check which side is up. Place your thumbs in the center of the condom and try to unroll it. If you can't, flip it over and try again. You want the rolled edge to be facing out. It should look kinda like a sombrero, like this:

-- PINCH THE TIP OF THE CONDOM so that you are pinching around an inch of latex and then (while you're still pinching the tip!!) put the condom on the penis. This is important-- you don't want any air in the condom because that could cause it to break when the guy ejaculates ("comes"). Put it on, while you are pinching the tip, and unroll it all the way to the base of the penis.
-- Use extra lubricant. Add water-based or silicone-based lube to the outside of the condom after it is already on. This helps to reduce friction and takes more stress off the condom. Don't apply lube to the shaft of the penis before the condom is on! This could cause the condom the slip off. However, a small amount of lube on the tip of the penis before the condom goes on is great for sensation and extra sensitivity.... so, a little lube is alright, but not down the whole penis, please!
-- Never use an oil product with condoms, including Crisco (ick!), Vaseline, hand lotions, or massage oils.

During and after…

-- If it slips off while you're getting off, get a new condom. If it breaks, get a new one. If you are ready for round #2, get a new one. Never re-use a condom or try to put it on after it has been unrolled.
-- When pulling out, hold the base of the condom to make sure it stays in place.
-- Take it off by grasping the opening of the condom at the base of the penis and slowly sliding it off. Wrap the used condom in a tissue and throw it in the garbage. Never flush a condom down the toilet.

Have fun, y'all!

-- Jamie B 
Safety Net team member--

So many condoms, so little time!

The really cool Safe Sex Store has the scoop on all the different condom varieties to help you choose the right kind. Mix it up - try something new!

Monday, April 19, 2010

April's Safety Net Message :)

Hey Safety Net team & volunteers,

Please send out by text or email the following Safety Net message, especially to any men who love men that you know.... and don't forget to fill out the survey after you send it!

Survey is here:

Message is as follows:


APRIL'S SAFETY NET MESSAGE: **** TXT 4 UR TEST! Know your HIV status? Text YOUR ZIP CODE to KnowIt (or 566948) for ur nearest test center. OMG. GYT! ****

DID YOU KNOW....1 in 2 people who have sex will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25, and most won’t know it. If you’re sexually active, the only ...way to know is... to GYT (Get Yourself Talking and Tested).


Find your nearest HIV and STD testing site online. Or call 860-278-4163 to set up your testing appointment.

You can even confidentially TEXT MESSAGE the Safety Net team leader, Jamie B, to set up an HIV and/or STD test at the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC). Just text "HIV TEST" to 860-268-3777.

Be Well. Be Yourself.
--your friends on the Safety Net team


Once you've sent the message, please fill out this 30 second survey and you can WIN a fabulous gift card to TISANE!!!

Enjoy their yummy menu items or have a delicious beverage of your choice at one of the coolest gay-friendly joints in Hartford. You can win this, all  because you're doing great work and helping to keep our community safer by preventing HIV & STDs.

big lovies,
-jamie (the gal in the polka dot boots)

How to use a condom... now with pictures ;)

If this is too tiny for you (heh heh heh), click on the image to expand it

The above is borrowed from a sexual health clinic in Ontario, and below is more info from them... I love the little (safer) sex squad cartoon characters, especially the one that looks like STRONG BAD!

Safety Net winner for March 2010

Congratulations to Wendi C., the winner of the drawing for the Safety Net volunteer prize for March 2010!
 She is the Executive Director of New Freedom Recovery Housing, a residence for men and women who are new to recovery, just coming back, or who just need a safe, clean and sober living environment on their journey in recovery from substance abuse.

Wendi has been a wonderful Safety Net volunteer since November 2009, recruiting others to help join our cause to send safer sex and HIV prevention messages to their friends. She won a $25 gift card to V.I.P. (Very Intimate Pleasures) for her participation in March.... way to go, Wendi!

Wendi C, Safety Net volunteer

I Will Survive! (If I use this sexay condom....teeehee)

A disco-ball-shaped condom I picked up at the Planned Parenthood table at the Transgender Lives Conference on Saturday, 4/17.

NOW I see what "Lady GayGay" means when she says she "wants to take a ride on your disco stick!"

You can always get free condoms (including cute ones like this) at Planned Parenthood in CT, and with 18 health centers across the state, there's definitely one in your area. We loves 'em coz they're really LGBTQIA friendly, open and affirming.

You can always get free condoms at Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC), too. Stop in and grab some in all the cool varieties we have to offer, no questions asked!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010



1 in 2 people who have sex will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25, and most won’t know it. If you’re sexually active, the only way to know is to GYT (Get Yourself Talking and Tested).


Find your nearest HIV and STD testing site. Or call 860-278-4163 to set up your testing appointment.

You can even confidentially TEXT MESSAGE the Safety Net team leader, Jamie B, to set up an HIV and/or STD test. Just text "HIV TEST" to  860-268-3777.

Be Well. Be Yourself.

--jamie b., Safety Net team leader

Monday, April 12, 2010

News from HGLHC!

Queer Prom 2010 * April is STD Awareness Month * Gay Bingo April 24 * Komen Foundation Grant at Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective * New Board Member Marci Simmons * Volunteer Spotlight on Douglas Zywiczynski


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Safety Net: Condom Demonstration!

SAFETY NET team members Troy and Jamie show you how to use a male condom correctly!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sex and the UniverCity: Sun, shades and STDs

Sex and the UniverCity: Sun, shades and STDs
From the University of Connecticut's DAILY CAMPUS Newspaper
By Alyssa Carroll

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bikinis, beaches and bodies; spring break is a guaranteed recipe for some seriously sexy times. But with a week of students looking to party, there’s something else that can really make things start burning up: an STD.

Meeting people is bound to happen, but for every sexy accent comes a whole slew of foreign diseases ready to pounce on your freshly-tanned body.

International travelers are at particularly high risk of contracting STDs, including HIV and syphilis, when having sex with locals.

Foreign locations may have legalized prostitution, and just because you would never be involved with one, doesn’t mean the cute guy on the beach never has.

Similarly, when having a one-night stand, take a minute to think about the person you’re with (beyond their cute butt). Think to yourself about how easy a decision it was for that person to sleep with you. If it doesn’t seem like this is a new thing for this person, you may want to wonder how many times he or she has done this before.

According to 1999 World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, “340 million new cases of curable STIs (syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis) occur annually throughout the world in adults aged 15-49 years,” and the number is only growing.

WHO also reports 30 different kinds of sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites.

So, let’s do some quick math.

If there were 340 million curable STI cases in ’99, 30 kinds of STDs and 200 people in the bar you’re partying at, what are the chances of contracting something totally vacation-ruining?

Probably higher than your chances of winning a wet T-shirt contest.

These numbers are not listed to encourage celibacy, but being smart and safe is obviously the most important part of being on vacation.

Now, in an attempt to avoid preachy “safer sex” information about the importance of condoms (and about how they are 99.9 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and how they prevent STDs and general grossness), I’ll skip that whole spiel. [Safety Net editor's note: you can find all that info on this page anyway!]

But remember, crabs are only cute on the beach.