Using a condom correctly offers effective birth control and safeguards against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Research indicates that around one in 50 women who use condoms flawlessly over a year of sexual activity may still experience pregnancy. The consistent and proper use of latex or internal condoms significantly reduces the combined occurrence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis in women at high STI risk.
When to Employ a Condom
It is advisable to employ condoms during vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse to safeguard both you and your partner. Even in situations without a penis involved, using condoms on toys can prevent bacterial vaginosis (BV) development or STI transmission. It’s important to note that STIs, including HIV, syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, HPV, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia, can still be transmitted during oral sex.
The use of condoms during menstruation is encouraged to prevent pregnancy and STI transmission. This is vital due to elevated rates of STI transmission during specific points of the menstrual cycle, including menstruation.
Diverse Condom Types
Two primary condom types are available: external (male) condoms and internal (female) condoms. The more common and accessible male (external) condom is placed over an erect penis just before intercourse. Additionally, female condoms exist, which are inserted into the vagina and differ from dental dams used for oral sex.
While female condoms effectively prevent unintended pregnancy, male condoms are more reliable. Correct usage of female condoms leads to about 5 pregnancies per 100 women in a year. This is comparable to male condoms, which yield a protection rate of approximately 2 pregnancies per 100 women annually, when used accurately.
In cases where a condom feels uncomfortable, various sizes and types can provide a better fit. Proper sizing is crucial since condoms that are too tight could break, and those too loose might slip off.
Using Male Condoms
- Check the expiration date on the package and ensure the condom is within its validity period.
- Open the package with care, avoiding the use of teeth or scissors. Inspect the condom for any brittleness, dryness, or damage.
- Identify the reservoir tip’s direction (a dome-like structure). Rolling the condom in the correct direction is important. The rim should encircle the penis or object’s dome. If the rim faces inward, the condom is inside out and should not be used. Begin anew with a fresh condom.
- Put on the condom before any genital or oral contact. Pre-ejaculatory fluid may contain sperm.
- Lubricant enhances comfort and prevents condom breakage. Water-based or silicone-based lubricants are best for male condoms. Avoid oil-based lubricants as they can cause condom breakage. Lubricant can be added inside the condom and on the exterior after application.
- Pinch the condom’s tip and roll it onto an erect penis, leaving a space at the top to contain semen. For uncircumcised individuals, retract the foreskin before placing the condom.
- Keep the condom on throughout intercourse.
- After ejaculation, hold the condom’s rim while withdrawing the penis to prevent semen leakage. Remove the condom cautiously.
- Dispose of the condom in the trash, not the toilet.
- Condoms are not reusable. Employ a new condom for each sexual encounter.
Using Female (Internal) Condoms
The female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before intercourse. It features two flexible rings—an inner ring holds the condom in place, while an outer ring prevents it from slipping into the vagina.
Unlike male condoms, the female condom doesn’t require an erection for use. The outer and inner rings may provide extra stimulation during sex.
Practice inserting the female condom alone before using it with a partner.
Inserting a Female Condom
- Check for defects and the expiration date, ensuring clean hands. Open the package carefully.
- Pinch the inner ring to narrow it. Insert the ring as high as possible into the vagina or anus, similar to a menstrual cup.
- Ensure the outer ring is just outside the vaginal opening.
- Ensure the penis or sex toy stays inside the condom.
- To remove, twist and pull out the condom. Discard it; female condoms are single-use.
Removing a Female Condom
For quick cleanup, remove the female condom lying down. Grasp the outer ring and twist it to contain fluids.
Using Two Condoms
Using two condoms simultaneously increases the risk of breakage. Stick to one condom and condom-safe lubricants.
Remember, only condoms provide protection against pregnancy and STIs. For maximum safety, combine condoms with another form of birth control.
Here are well-known condom brands available without prescription:
Male Condom Brands:
Female Condom Brands:
- FC2 Female Condom
- Velvet Condoms
- Women’s Condom
- Cupid Female Condom
- Reddy Condoms