Condoms are one type of birth control that not only prevents pregnancy, but also can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But, there are many facts about condoms that can cause confusion, potentially limiting their effectiveness.
What types of condoms are there?
There are two types of condoms, the male condom and the female condom.
Most condoms are made of a type of rubber called “latex.” Latex condoms are the most effective condom at preventing STDs. Recently, condoms made of polyurethane (a type of plastic) have become available. These are more expensive than latex condoms and seem to break more easily. They are mainly useful for people who are allergic to latex. There are also “natural” condoms, which are made of animal membranes (lambskin). These are expensive and although they are effective at preventing pregnancy, they do not decrease the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases.
The female condom is a lubricated polyurethane (plastic) tube that has a flexible ring at each end. One end of the tube is closed.
What are the most important things to consider when buying condoms?
Both male and female condoms can be purchased at most drug stores, in addition to being available at clinics, as well as other locations. When choosing a condom, here are some things to should keep in mind:
- Size. One size does NOT fit all. While the standard size will fit most men, extra-large condoms are available, as well as “snug” sizes that are a little smaller and fit tighter than the standard size.
- Shape. Some condoms come with a nipple in the end to hold the fluid when the man ejaculates. Others have a rounded end. Either way, both size
- Thickness. Extra-strength condoms are available. These are stronger and are especially useful for rectal sex and for men who have problems with condom breakage. Extra thin condoms also are available, but these are not recommended because they may break more easily.
- Lubrication. Many condoms come pre-lubricated. This lubrication can be a substance that kills sperm (spermicide) and many disease-causing germs. Lubrication may give some extra protection in preventing pregnancy, especially if the condom breaks. Lubricated condoms taste bad and are not recommended for oral sex.
4 Biggest Condom Mistakes:
1. Double Bagging Doesn’t Work.
Using two condoms will not give you double protection, and neither will using a male condom with a female condom. All this will do is make them more likely to tear, which would actually put you at increased risk of infection and pregnancy. Don’t worry, one is enough. If your condom does break or slip off and you’re worried about pregnancy, you can get the morning-after pill.
2. How You Take Off The Condom Matters Too
Most men lose their erection pretty quickly after they ejaculate, says Kerner. So you’ll want to take the condom off before you go soft, since that could mean a lot more room in your condom and more opportunities for semen to spill out or the condom to slip off.
When taking off the condom, hold the rim as you pull it off to prevent any spillage. Bonus points for tying the end in a knot before you toss it in the trash.
3. Read The Label
Who reads the labels on condoms? Well, you should start. Yes, condoms expire. Even though some last for a few years, other condoms with added lubricants or spermicide have a shorter shelf life. So be sure to look it up before you wrap it up.
4. Keep It On (the whole time)
In order for condoms to work their magic, they need to be worn for the entire duration of the sex, even if you’re…