Many thanks to all who participated in our Sex Ed Mythbusters at the Sex Ed Conference this year (either by blowing up condoms & slathering them with various oils, opening condom packages with your teeth, or by wielding power tools).
First, here is the handout, with a few callouts of the myths we were testing: Sex Mythbusters Handout
My Blue Waffle
The first video we actually did not show at the conference, & deals with the persistent myth of the “Blue Waffle.” It features fabulous Dr. Elizabeth Boskey, video generously provided by Whatever Floats Your Boat Productions.
Conclusion: definitively and artistically BUSTED
Microwavable plastic wrap as a dental dam
We’re told that we cannot use microwavable plastic wrap as a dental dam, because it’s got tiny pores big enough to for viruses to get through – and yet, you cannot buy microwavable plastic wrap. What’s an unprepared oral sex aficianado to do? Again, many thanks to Whatever Floats Your Boat Productions.
To test the vodka tampon myth, we had cups full of water (carefully poured from vodka nip bottles), and tampons with both plastic & cardboard applicators. Through careful experimentation, participants discovered that if you put the tampon in the “vodka” before removing it from the applicator, scarcely any vodka would be absorbed into the tampon. If you removed the tampon prior to soaking it in the vodka, it would grow too big to be inserted by squeamish teenagers. Further, one participant pointed out that the tampon didn’t absorb nearly enough “vodka” to get anyone drunk – & finally, that even IF the tampon absorbed the “vodka” and was successfully inserted, it is the job of the tampon to absorb and retain fluid, NOT disperse it into the surrounding tissue.
Conclusion: definitively BUSTED
Oil and Condoms
To determine whether one could use oil-based lubricants with latex condoms, we (by which I mean eager participants) inflated condoms into enormous balloons (incidentally busting the myth that condoms don’t fit) and covered them with different oils: baby oil, vaseline, and vegetable oil. Also, during the conference we were told by the Astroglide representative, that people at various parades and festivals were repeating they myth that silicone degrades latex as well (even though we as educators know that latex condoms tend to be lubricated with silicone in the packages). We decided to put this to the test as well. And in the name of quasi scientific rigor, as a control, we also covered some latex condoms with water-based lube.
Merely covering the inflated condoms with lube and leaving them alone didn’t seem to affect them at all. But on the general principle that sex involves a certain amount of friction, we though to rub the oils into the condoms. This produced almost immediate results: all of the oils degraded latex condoms enough that, with rubbing, they would burst in under a minute. The baby oil condom was the most spectacular – letting go almost immediately, followed by the other three oils.
Latex condoms cannot be used with oil based lubes (Vaseline, vegetable oil, and baby oil). They can of course be used with water & silicone lubes.
Polyisoprene condoms behave the same way latex condoms do – they were incompatible with the oil based lubes, but worked with silicone and water.
Polyurethane condoms stood up to all but one of the oil-based lubes (I believe it was vegetable oil, however I don’t remember – please email us if you do). However, an expert in the audience – Sheri Winston – told us that chemically, the oil based lube should not have degraded the polyurethane. And so you have homework: re-run this experiment at home. And while you’re at it, re-run it in the classroom! This is one of the activities we do that can easily be reproduced in the classroom.
And so has it been repeated by sex educators the land over: thou shalt never use two condoms at once, for they afford no better protection, and the friction between the condoms will likely tear one of them. This is repeated so often, and yet with no attribution or reference, and so we just had to test it.
To do this we used a reciprocating saw, fitted with an attachment (provided by Eric Broman, who sells custom tools on etsy). Over this we carefully unrolled two latex condoms, fit one end into the clinically named Tenga Male Masturbation Toy, and turned on the saw. The high-speed reciprocating saw … reciprocated at 3000 thrusts per minute for about 3 minutes – after which we pulled both condoms off of the tool and inflated them both. Neither had any visible hole or tear – both inflated to full size.
Alas, I have neither photograph nor video that I can post here – however, there is a great fact sheet from Planned Parenthood Federation of America that discusses this and some other condom myths (the material on Double Bagging is on pages 4-5)
Conclusion: Hilariously BUSTED