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Safe Sex Catchphrase? Practice Makes Perfect

You’ve repeated this motto in the middle of long sports practices, while learning a new hobby and countless other times when you’ve needed motivation. It turns out that this phrase comes in handy in safe sex, too.

According to a handful of studies, practice is a key part of learning about safe sex. What’s the finding that intrigues us the most? A recent study found that men practicing condom use helps them learn to use condoms correctly and consistently.

Practice and Safe Sex: How They Connect

A group from the Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team have researched the use of condoms for over 10 years. They find that practice is a vital part of ensuring condoms are used correctly, noting that “merely wearing a condom is not enough to provide effective protection against STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Condoms need to be used correctly, yet fit-and-feel issues can result in erection difficulty, loss of sensation, removal of condoms before the intercourse episode ends, and other problems that can interfere with their correct use.”

practice condom sexual health

Condom Homework

This group of researchers implemented a “homework strategy” to test their theories. To give their assignments, they gave bags of condoms and lube to men and instructed them to practice with at least 6 condoms. The results of this approach enforce the idea that practice is necessary. Practice, in this sense, helped men learn about the different options of condoms, feel more comfortable using them, and learn to use them correctly.

Practice and Learn

This idea brings us back to the basics. Practicing something makes you more familiar with it. You learn by doing something first hand and trying again and again until it works. So, it seems natural that practicing safe sex habits should take some practice, too. Practice and education are the best ways to encourage safe sex habits. Learn more by following our blog and contacting a lab near you to discuss STD testing.


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“Masters of Sex” | Sex as a Research Topic

It seems that not long ago, it was rather uncomfortable to talk about sex and related topics in public places. To many members of the baby boom generation, this is still true, even though that generation is responsible for starting the ongoing sexual revolution. At the forefront of that revolution was William Johnson and Virginia Masters. Now their personal lives, as well as their research about sex, will be portrayed in a new television series titled “Masters of Sex.”

“Masters of Sex” – The Charactersempty bed sex research

William Masters was a gynecologist from Cleveland, Ohio. He received his medical degree from the University of Rochester Medical School. Masters studied the nature of human sexuality and the treatment of sexual disorders as a faculty member of Washington University in St. Louis.

Virginia Johnson was a sexologist from Springfield, Missouri, who studied music at the University of Missouri and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She transferred to Washington University in St. Louis to study sociology where she became an assistant to Masters.

Masters and Johnson

It was under Masters’ guidance where Johnson learned about psychology, medical treatments and human behaviors. Although Masters was the senior partner of this research team, it was Johnson who performed as the team’s workhorse, logging many hours to research human sexual responses.

Masters and Johnson were married in 1971, and they were divorced in 1992. Unfortunately, their divorce led to the end of their research. Nonetheless, their body of work on human sexual responses still serve as a blueprint for today’s psychologists, gynecologists and sexologists.

Masters and Johnson – Sex Research

In the initial stages of their research during the 1950s and 1960s, sexual research of this kind was rather shocking. They set out to have scientific understanding of a topic that was rarely talked about openly.

Masters and Johnson developed what is known as the human sexual response cycle, which consists of four separate stages: the excitement phase, the plateau phase, the orgasmic phase and the resolution phase. They studied this cycle of sexual arousal by observing couples and individuals engaging in sexual activities such as intercourse and masturbation. This type of research was definitely considered groundbreaking and taboo for their time, as participants walked a thin line of being labeled as either “daring” or “perverted.”

The discussion surrounding sex in the mid-twentieth century is in high contrast to today’s cultural attitude toward sexuality.

Today, it seems that talking about sex is almost as common as chatting about the weather or last night’s game. As culture shifts over the years, certain “taboo” topics become less risky and more appropriate for conversation.

The steps that Masters and Johnson took helped change our attitude toward sex. By analyzing the sexual experience and talking about it unashamed, they encouraged people to explore sexual topics and learn about sexual health.

Open up the discussion about sex

The show airs this Sunday. Check it out — you may learn something new. We think that opening up the discussion about sexuality and sexual health can be beneficial for all of us. Check out our advice about discussing STDs with your partner and the truths behind common sexual health myths.

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Too Much Sex on TV?

Could television be adding to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? Maybe.

The growing amount of casual sex on television can create the perception that casual sex is perfectly safe… which is not true.

Just sit down one night and watch Primetime sitcoms. There’s a LOT of sex on TV.

How much sex are TV characters having?

We found a ten-year-old article from USA Today where a parent examines the popular sitcom Friends. We find the writer’s research astonishing:

I just spent the past two hours reading 226 plot synopses for TV’s Friends. According to my calculations, during the course of the show’s 10 years on the air—up to and including the most recent episode—the character of Rachel (played by Jennifer
Aniston) has had some sort of sexual relations with about 20 men.


The example may be 10 years old, but we get the point. As viewers, did we ever see any negative consequences for Aniston’s character (other than something fun that added to the plot?) Nope.

Is that reality?


In today’s world of STDs and Sex on TV

Today, one out of every four people have STDs. So, take Rachel from Friends.

Over the course of the show, her sexual relations with 20 men means that statistically, at least five of the guys had an STD.

And say that Rachel was the one with an STD – she affected at least 15 men who possibly didn’t have one before their rendezvous. (Oh – and did you know in some states, lawmakers want lack of STD disclosure to become a felony?)

Now that would really make an interesting episode.

If you think Friends is the only example, we can pick a ton more.

Charlie from CBS’s Two and A Half Men sleeps with a different woman, by our estimate, on every episode. Schmidt, a character on FOX’s New Girl prides himself on his numerous sexual endeavors and never fails to teach his friends his methods.

Name any show on TV without a character that runs after sex and has multiple partners. Short of Seventh Heaven, there are few on the list.

The fact that these characters’ actions are without consequence is dangerous to viewers. Although funny to watch, a lifestyle of casual sex and multiple partners depicted on TV display harmful lifestyles that shouldn’t be emulated.

Sure – we all love a great comedy or drama that captives our attention and lets us unwind. Just make sure you remember that what you’re watching is not fact.

If the characters run around … and sleep around … without STDs becoming an issue – that’s definitely fiction.

Need an STD test? Call our friends at TEST SMARTLY LABS. No insurance needed. Very confidential.

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Some STD-related good news

Whaaa? Is there such a thing as good news when it comes to STDs? Well, maybe not “good” news, but we’ll take progress:

About 60 percent of sexually active high school students say they used condoms the last time they had sex, researchers said at the International AIDS Conference. That’s an increase from the 46 percent who were using condoms in 1991.

The proportion of high school students who’ve had sex is 47 percent today – down a bit from 54 percent in 1991 – and they typically start at age 16, CDC said. Black teens showed a bigger decrease, with 60 percent sexually active today compared with 82 percent two decades ago.

Fifteen percent of high school students say they’ve had four or more partners, down from 19 percent in 1991.

Read the full article “Research shows more teens using condoms” from ABC News.


Statistics show that 60 percent of black teens are sexually active today compared with 82 percent two decades ago.

Progress for preventing STDs

The article indicates that there is still much work to do for STD education and use of proper STD prevention. However, reading that more teens are using condoms today than they were a few years ago, and that teens are having fewer partners, shows progress. Especially within the black community, with almost 20% fewer teens are having sex.

Teens understanding how STDs work, realizing that condoms are one of the only methods of STD prevention and committing to STD testing will allow us to see continued progress. It might not solve the problems completely, but it will certainly keep us moving in the right direction.


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