When Should You Use a Condom?

Recently I spoke about condom use at TEDxYale. It’s based on the article “A Separate Crime of Reckless Sex” I co-authored with Katharine K. Baker.


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  1. Emre says:

    “to be established by the defendant with a preponderance of the evidence”. So the defendant would have to prove his innocence. And of course, only men could possibly be guilty of this, as only men can wear condoms. That makes two fundamental principles of law violated in a single abstract.

    The worst part? This proposal came from a professor of law. I weep for America.

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    • Matt says:

      The Department of Education is already mandating that universities’ “student justice” systems throw out due process in sexual assault cases. Why not extend that to society at large?

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    • M. says:

      We shouldn’t be surprised that it came from a professor of law. The primary purpose of a professor of law is to study how to manipulate it toward their own ends, and teach others to do the same.

      And of course, if you’ve read Catherine McKinnon (America’s preeminent feminist legal scholar), then you should know that all men are always guilty of everything. We may as well do away with trials altogether for sexual assault or rape. It’d almost be merciful to the innocent to do so, as their lives are often ruined anyway regardless of the verdict largely thanks to one-sided rape shield laws. Why taunt someone the false hope of a trial.

      Ideas like “innocent until proven guilty” and “better the guilty go free than the innocent hang” are dead an buried in America.

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    • Jay says:

      Men can be asked to wear condoms, the other partner is not just a passive body. Also as other noted, the female condom has been around for more than 15 years.

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  2. Enter your name... says:

    “The new law, by increasing condom use and the quality of communication in first sexual encounters…”

    It would be more accurate to say that the new law will increase the incentive for condom use and communication. Whether it will actually work is unknown. Also, I wonder whether it will actually increase the incentive for documenting the communication rather than improving the actual quality of that communication. Quality improvements usually require skill improvements, not just motivation.

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  3. Loren Pechtel says:

    This rule of 3 makes no sense for the sex-only-in-marriage types and doesn’t make much sense for those who wait a long time before a relationship goes into the bedroom.

    Other than those cases, though, it sounds like a good minimum standard at least.

    Something I would be interested in–what are the long term epidemiological effects? Could this drive the STD spread rate down to the point that they might go extinct?

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  4. SKS says:

    STD’s are only one of the two externalities of unprotected sex, the other being unwanted pregnancies. While a select few STD’s are horrifying, life-threatening and expensive, it seems that pregnancies impose the much greater cost than the vast majority of STD infections, both on society and the sexual partners. Does the Rule of 3 have a negative impact of the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies?

    Cutting down the number of unprotected one-night stands will certainly decrease the number of babies viewed as “mistakes”, but as being faithful alone does not lessen the blow of an unwanted pregnancy, I wonder if this rule, if adopted, would make it too easy for sexual partners to feel like it’s okay to have unprotected sex after the first three times… in which case that change in behavior would have had a highly desirable impact on the spread of STDs, based on the numbers given here, but a dangerous one on unwanted pregnancies.

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  5. Ian M says:

    I find this hard to swallow coming from a cheater…


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