Condoms are one of those things you probably don’t think about much until you need one. But of course as a defence against sexually transmitted diseases (and unwanted pregnancies), they only work if they fit right. Not to mention, if condoms are incorrectly sized or uncomfortable, people avoid using them.
They’ve been big in the news this week, with the release of a new range in 60 different sizes by Boston-based company myOne Perfect Fit. Why is that such a big deal? The back-story in The New York Times and Men’s Health explains that the FDA has always classified condoms as a medical device, and in the past they have been heavily regulated. That included a requirement that they be at least 6.69 inches in length, even though an Indiana University study found that 83% of men had penises shorter than standard condoms, with an average length of 5.57 inches.
The FDA figured that you could just roll up the excess at the base, but this could result in slippage, or worse… something that one reviewer in The New York Times article described as being like “an anaconda wrapping around you”.
If you’re looking for a perfect fit, you can download the company’s FitKit, which uses letters and numbers to give you a size code. If you’re not sure whether you should be using one at all, International Business Times (India) has a four point checklist of conditions where it’s fine to have sex without a condom.
With seemingly everyone you know swiping left and right on their phones, new dating terms seem to be invented every week (“submarining“, anyone?). This week there seems no escape from the term Tindstagramming, which Hello Giggles says is a “terrible new dating trend”. It seems that New York Magazine started it, defining it as:
The act of sneaking into someone’s Instagram DMs after failing to match with them on Tinder.
Elite Daily reports Khloe Karashian’s sage advice about this:
Their message is usually something like, “I saw you on Tinder and am so bummed we didn’t match. Anyway, want to get a drink?” No, you don’t! And you didn’t want to when you swiped left the first time either. If a person Tindstagrams you, they have zero boundaries and you should block them immediately.
It’s yet another manifestation of our uncomfortable relationship with online dating, which is a subject that Jasmine Sachar chews on in her Medium article Swipe Fatigue: How Online Dating is Failing Us. We love it, and we hate it. We’re also still likely to feel ashamed talking about it. Metro wonders: Why are we too embarrassed to admit we met our partners online?
In news that mostly won’t surprise any gay man over 25 at all, Kristian Møller, postdoc at the IT University in Copenhagen, Denmark, published his PhD thesis, which found that gay hookup app Grindr has revolutionised dating for gay men. What he did find, which was interesting, was that a lot of people already in relationships searched for sexual partners, and the app has played some part in how non-monogomous relationships are negotiated. So, it would appear that the app is contributing to a rise in polyamory and open relationships. First Post just published a tongue-in-cheek quiz: Dear Gay Men, Are You Addicted to Grindr?
Of course, it’s not all doom, gloom and Tindstagramming in the online dating world, and Tinder (and Grindr) certainly aren’t the only games in town. UK magazine InStyle reports that there are more than 8,000 online dating sites worldwide, and give you their pick of Best Online Dating Sites and Apps: 13 That’ll Help You Find L-O-V-E.
ON SCREENS RIGHT NOW
At select theatres right now is Tom of Finland, the story of Touko Laaksonen, the artist who has probably had more impact on gay culture than any other in history (and pretty much defined the look of Leather culture). The director, Dome Karoukoski, wants to make it clear that this is not a biopic or documentary but a feature film with fictional elements. He also feels that you don’t need to be a bulging leather-clad biker to be a “Tom’s man”:
Tom’s ideas might have caused some men at some point to feel shame about their own bodies. But that would be totally against what Tom would say. He never wanted that everyone should look like that. So in that sense, the film tries to promote the inner joy, the inner proudness of being a Tom’s man. You can be a Tom’s man without the body. Basically anyone can be a Tom’s man, you don’t have look like a Muscle Beach sensation.
Tom of Finland might be hard to find. It played in NYC and last night in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it’s scheduled for:
San Diego – Landmark Ken Cinema – October 27
Philadelphia – Landmark Ritz at the Bourse – November 24
Denver – Landmark Chez Artiste – December 1
Minneapolis – Landmark Lagoon Cinema – December 8
Atlanta – Landmark Midtown Art Cinema – December 8
Washington DC – Landmark E Street Cinema – December 8
Boston – Landmark Kendall Square Cinema – December 15
More dates are being added, and you can keep an eye out for it coming to your city here. If the best you will do is the trailer, it’s here.
If you like good documentaries, Monogamish also opened in cinemas on October 13. The title comes from a term coined by sex and relationship columnist Dan Savage (who appears in the film). Indie Wire says:
The interviews in the film touch briefly but profoundly on every major alternative philosophy surrounding marriage, feminism, sexuality, and relationships. “Monogamish” is like a starter course in the prevailing thinking around non-monogamy as taught by its foremost writers, philosophers, and therapists.
If you just want to stay home and Netflix-and-chill, in Gerald’s Game a woman accidentally kills her husband during a kinky game. Handcuffed to her bed with no hope of rescue, she begins hearing voices and seeing strange visions. It’s an adaptation of a 1992 book by Stephen King. Screen Rant says:
Driven by two great performances, Gerald’s Game successfully turns King’s source material into a disturbing exercise in cinematic horror and suspense.
That might be a bit intense for you if you don’t have anyone to curl up next to, so no judgement if you are looking for something that won’t have you jumping at every shadow in the window. For lighter fare, Maxim reports that following in the proud footsteps of Mighty Muffin Pounder Rangers, and Pokemon parody Strokemon, There’s a ‘Rick and Morty’ Porn Parody, and You Need to See It.
In 2010, Staci Newmahr from SUNY Buffalo State published her immersive ethnographical study Rethinking Kink: Sadomasochism as Serious Leisure. IFLScience! reports that researchers from Idaho State University have been working to quantify this view of BDSM as a leisure activity. Rather than looking at BDSM from a psychopathologic perspective, lead author Dr DJ Williams says “In considering the many academic and nonacademic accounts of BDSM, our focus is to suggest that a broad leisure perspective currently offers the best theoretical approach to begin making sense of BDSM”.
They surveyed 935 BDSM participants and found that:
Of the participants, whose ages ranged from 18 to 78, 90 percent said that BDSM gave them a sense of personal freedom, 99 percent said it gave them pleasure and enjoyment, 90 percent said they used personal skills, 90 percent said it was associated with self-expression, 91 percent said it reduced stress, and 97 percent said it involved positive emotions.
“Our findings show, overwhelmingly, that BDSM fits properties of common leisure experience, similar to people who enjoy golf, swimming and attending cultural events,” Dr Williams said.
Back to dating again, and Mel Magazine wants you to know that We’ve Reached Peak Pegging Culture. Apparently there’s been a marked increase in men wanting to try prostate stimulation, and some men are asking for it by the second date.
Age gaps have been in the news too. Should you date an older guy? I’ve been reading along, because one of my relationships has a substantial age difference, but it has been scary reading. There’s a fairly balanced article in The Debrief about a relationship with an older man that didn’t work, which concludes that “it wasn’t him, it was 26 year old me”, but Mona Chalbi goes into full-on attack mode in The New York Times’ I Want My 2.3 Bonus Years, saying:
We are socialized into thinking that men are like wine, they get better with time. Whereas women are like cheese, they get blue veins and start to stink.
You’re sure to have noticed #MeToo everywhere this week. Actress Alyssa Milano got it started years ago, but it has blown up lately in reaction to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, encouraging anyone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted to post. Sadly, pretty much everyone, at some stage in their life, has experienced sexual harassment, and the movement has taken on a life of its own. It’s been covered from all angles by every media outlet in the galaxy. The Atlantic has a good summary of how the hashtag got its power.
feature image: Pekka Strang as Touko Laaksonen in Tom of Finland