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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Ask Becci

My boyfriend and I are about to have sex for the first time. We’re both really excited (as you can imagine), but the issue of condoms is concerning me! There are so many different kinds! What is the difference between them, and which do you recommend?

A good question! In recent years, the availability of unconventional condoms has exploded. With options such as flavoured, ribbed, ridged, and even vibrating (a personal favourite ;) ), you’re really spoiled for choice!

You have to ask yourself, what are you looking for exactly? For example, obviously flavoured condoms would be a waste of money if you’re not having oral sex. But if you are, they can make going down on your man that much more enjoyable.

Size can be important. It is important that the condom fits your boyfriend snugly, to ensure that it doesn’t become loose and fall off during sex. However, some condoms are specially designed to fit tightly around the base of the penis, but be loose at the end, allowing the latex to rub. This is aimed at increasing pleasure, but so are tight-fitting condoms! It just depends on personal preference.

Thickness of material is often worth considering. Thinner condoms can prove more rewarding, but are more prone to breakages. Thicker condoms are correspondingly safer, but allow less feeling.

The thickness of the condom is more aimed towards male pleasure, but studded or ridged condoms are all about you! Not all girls like the feel of this, as it can feel a bit unnatural at first, but it really does help!

As for the most recent condom development, the vibrating condom, the biggest drawback is price. However, these are really something everyone should try at least once! The same goes for glow-in-the-dark condoms; pretty pointless really, but soooo cute!

The main thing here is to experiment! You can’t really go wrong, and if you find one kind you don’t like, just don’t buy them again! Thanks for the question, and have fun!

I’ve got a rather embarrassing question. Recently it’s grown intensely itchy in my… you know … pubic area. What should I do?

I notice you didn’t include your gender in the question, but that’s okay! The treatment is the same.

The first thing you should do is take some time out to have a good look down there. Is there a rash? Can you see lice? Crabs do actually bear a striking resemblance to their namesake, but they’re tiny. Under good light, you should be able to see the littlies crawling around.

If there’s a rash, you’re probably best to go to straight to a doctor. The ‘wait and see’ approach is often adopted, and while delaying a visit to your GP is unlikely to be harmful, you will probably only get more uncomfortable in the meantime.

If you see lice, there are a number of ways to get rid of them. If you’d been considering shaving ‘down there’, now’s probably a good time to try!

Of course, more conventional methods are available. Crabs are essentially the same as headlice, so they are treated in the same way. Creams are available from the pharmacy, and headlice combs will work if used over an extended period of time, but you won’t get a quick kill.

It’s very important to put on clean clothing after treating for crabs. Both your clothes and bedding will need to be washed on a hot cycle.

This isn’t related to treatment, but is still VERY IMPORTANT. You will need to inform your sexual partner(s). Anything you have, they’re likely to have as well. And while you’re still undergoing treatment, you’re going to have to abstain from sex.

There’s really no avoiding this, you’ll just have to “take care of yo’ self” for a little while I’m afraid.

My girlfriend has recently been diagnosed with depression. I want to be supportive, but I don’t know what to do. Can you help?

Depression is always a tough one to deal with. The first thing that you have to realise (although I’m sure you have already) is that this is about her. She’ll come to you when she needs to, and not before. It’s important that you let her know you’re available to talk whenever, and that you’ll support her in any way that you can, but you can’t be pushy about it.

I’m unsure how long she’s been dealing with this, but people are normally at their lowest around the time of their diagnosis. You have to understand that she may not have the energy to do things she used to do, or even want to. One of the major symptoms of depression is not deriving enjoyment from activities that used to be fun. You should encourage her to do things that she used to enjoy, as both taking a break and building a routine are good ways to deal with depression. But if she seems reluctant, you need to respect that.

Another important thing is that you need to be ready to LISTEN. Admittedly, she may want you to take her mind off things more often that not, but if she does decide to talk about what she’s dealing with, you need to be prepared to give her your full attention. Talking about depression is never easy, so you have to be open-minded and understanding.

I’d like to be able to promise that if you do this you’ll see an improvement. But unfortunately mental illness doesn’t work like that. All that you can really do is be as supportive as you possibly can. She’ll deal with this in her own time.


Have a problem? Need advice? E-mail editor@salient.org.nz. All questions will remain anonymous.

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  1. Izack says:

    Hey there. I have had problems with acne for a while now. I have it not only on my face, but my back, stomach and legs. My friend went to a dermatologist and was given some drugs to stop his acne (just face) which cured very fast. It makes me feel insecure when swimming, intimate moments etc. I am worried about the cost of the drugs.

    But would love to get it treated.

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