Having a safe and healthy sexual lifestyle contributes to complete physical well-being. This is why it’s always important to take precautions when engaging in sexual encounters, to prevent contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other life-threatening conditions. One way to do this is to use a condom whenever you’re engaging in sexual intercourse.
A condom is a thin tube, usually made of latex, plastic or lambskin, that is worn over the penis or inserted into the vagina before sex. Condoms can also be made of polyurethane or polyisoprene. A condom is the only form of contraception known to simultaneously prevent pregnancies and protect an individual from STIs.
Types of Condom
Basically, there are two types: the male condom (aka external condom) and the female condom (aka internal condom).
The external condom is worn over the penis to prevent semen and other bodily fluids from getting into the vagina, mouth, or rectum during sex, especially when the man/penetrative partner ejaculates. External condoms come in different sizes, so there’s one for every penis.
The internal condom is inserted into the vagina to prevent semen from flowing through the vagina into the uterus, during or after sex.
Condoms are oftentimes coated with lubricants in their packaging. This is to help stop the condom from breaking and make penetration easy and less painful.
An external condom is about 98% effective when used correctly, while an internal condom is about 95% effective. It is critical to use it properly to prevent pregnancy and lower the risk of contracting STIs. When the condom covers the genitals fully, it prevents viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing microorganisms from coming into contact with the body of the other individual.
Using a Condom
- Open the condom package, carefully tearing through the zigzagged edges.
- Hold the tip of the condom between your forefinger and thumb to ensure air isn’t trapped in, and put it on the tip of your fully hard penis. If you’re uncircumcised, first pull back the foreskin of your penis.
- Roll the condom all the way to its full length on your penis.
- After sex/ejaculating, hold the condom in place and gently pull out your penis while it’s still hard.
- Throw the condom in a bin after usage.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Open the condom package, carefully tearing through the zigzagged edges,
- You can either squat or stand with one leg elevated higher than the other.
- Squeezing the sides of the inner ring, gently insert the condom into your vagina and push it further with your index finger until it rests on your cervix.
- As the outer ring hangs outside your body, guide your partner’s penis into the opening.
- After sex, twist the outer ring gently, and remove.
- Throw the condom in a bin after usage.
Where to Buy
You can purchase condoms at your local drug store/pharmacy or supermarket.
Correcting the Misconceptions
Condoms are safe and do not contain carcinogens. So no, you can’t get cancer from using a condom. You can still use a condom while using other forms of contraception like implants, injectables, contraceptive pills, vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc. Even married couples, can use a condom. You can still have great sex when using a condom! And whoever told you condoms block the uterus definitely didn’t know what they were talking about.
Points to Consider
• Dry your hands before tearing open a condom package. It makes it easy.
• Using the same condom twice is a no-no.
• Stacking on two condoms causes them to break due to friction.
• Use either an external condom or an internal condom. Don’t use both simultaneously. Why? Friction!
• Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before inserting the internal condom kills bacteria and germs, and prevents them from entering your vagina.
• If you can’t roll on an external condom, it might be off the wrong way. Throw it away and use another one.
• Keeping a condom in your wallet causes it to weaken due to heat. Keep it in a cool, dry place.
• Use water-based lubricants only, if necessary, in addition to using a condom. Using oil-based lubricants like lotion, petroleum jelly, baby oil and other oil products increases the likelihood of the condom breaking.
• Keep two or more condoms with you. You wouldn’t want to pause and rush out in the middle of such an exciting state to get another condom.
• Stop sex if you feel the condom break.
• If you’re finding it difficult to tear open a condom package, particularly an internal condom, it may be expired.
• Do well to check for expiry dates before usage.
It’s important to play it safe, for yourself and your partner. You bet your life when you take a chance. Use a condom! Catch you on our next read!
This article was written with the aid of resources from www.cdc.gov, www.nhs.uk, and webmd.com