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Condoms for Males and Females

Condoms for Males & Females

Information here is general in nature. Over time information may get changed, contradicted or added to. You should always consult a medical practitioner or pharmacist for up to date and comprehensive information.

Condom (Male)

So, whatcha going to do? Buy them or not? Here's an interactive set of clips you might enjoy going through.

Approximate effectiveness: up to 95%

(Note: Different sources quote failure rates of from 5 up to 15%. Typically over the course of 1 year, 5 to 15 out of 100 typical couples which rely on male condoms alone to prevent pregnancy will have an accidental pregnancy. The higher failure rates may result from incorrect use of the condom, which will be more reliable when used properly)

Condoms are the second best , after abstinence, protection against most STDs

A condom is a (usually) latex rubber tubular cover with only one opening that fits snugly over the erect penis during intercourse. Polyurethane condoms are now available for people who have a latex allergy. When used properly a condom offers good protection against most STDs, including HIV, and against pregnancy. They are fairly cheap, easy to buy, use and to carry around. "Properly used " is an important phrase here. We'll get to that. Many condoms have a "spermicide", a chemical called nonoxynol-9 which kills sperm. However, recent research shows that this doesn't really improve the effectiveness much, if at all, of it's birth control properties.

There are "female" condoms but they are less common and a bit more expensive. Here is a link to information about them.

How do condoms protect against STDs? They are a "barrier" method of both pregnancy control and STD control; they present a physical barrier to sperm and to viruses or bacteria touching the other person's body.

(Exceptions are some condoms made with animal membrane which cost a lot more, need to be washed and handled properly and which will allow some viruses to pass through the membrane. Those types of condom are pretty rare and are not recommended. The reason some men still use them is that they say they feel more natural; but they don't prevent disease or pregnancy as well.)

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How to use a condom properly :

Practice might help! Condoms are cheap enough to try out before hand, so go get one and practice!

When having sexual intercourse, put it on as soon as the penis is erect and before making any penis-to-vagina contact. It's really important that you not insert the penis, even "just a bit", before it is cloaked by the condom. A guy will often release "pre-ejaculate" (pre-cum) as soon as he becomes aroused, that is, gets an erection. This lubricating fluid can contain sperm cells. Also be careful that neither person gets "pre-cum" on his or her hands that then go the female's genitals. While the odds are low that pregnancy could result they are not zero. And any STD bacteria or virus in the fluid can be transmitted to the female. So put on the condom before making contact!

Only put it on the penis after it becomes hard. Read the paragraph above for precautions.

Do not use a condom which has expired because the risk of breakage is higher. Check the expiration date on the wrapper. Condoms should be stored in cool, dry places. Your pocket or wallet is not a cool dry place! Gently squeeze the condom wrapper. If there is a soft pillow of air the package is intact and no air has leaked inside the package. If it goes flat under pressure, toss it and use a new one.

Carefully open the wrapper, being careful not to tear the condom inside. It looks sort of like a rubber dome with the tip sticking up a bit.

Gently pinch the tip of the condom as you put it over the tip of the penis. An uncircumcised guy should pull back the foreskin first.

While still keeping the tip pinched roll the rest of the condom down the shaft of the erect penis. The pinched tip is basically keeping a reservoir at the end for the semen containing the sperm. Roll the condom all the way down to the pubic hair and try to keep any air out of it. That will help it feel more sensitive and also help prevent breakage.You're ready to have sexual intercourse now.

If you use a lubricant (other than the lubrication a woman's vagina provides when she's aroused) be certain it is a water-based lubricant. K-Y Gel or liquid, and Astroglide are well known brands. Do NOT use petroleum jelly ( like Vaseline) or mineral oil as a sexual lubricant because it can weaken the latex condom. It is OK to use petroleum jelly with polyurethane condoms, though they tend to have a slightly higher breakage and slippage rate than latex.


After the male ejaculates <Pronounced " Ee-jak-yew-laytz"> ("comes" or "cums"...don't ask me, I didn't make up these words!) the semen with the sperm have all rushed out the end of his penis and been trapped in the tip of the condom, all screaming "let me out of here!" OK, they aren't screaming that, but don't let them out anyway. Immediately -before the penis starts to go soft again- encircle the opening of the condom at the base(bottom) of the penis so no semen/sperm can escape down the sides (and so it doesn't come off and stay inside the woman), pull the penis out of the vagina. It's really important to do this immediately, before going soft. "Soft" allows semen to drip out and/or the condom to stay inside the woman where semen drips out. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a condom for both birth control and for STD control. Next, roll the used condom up off the penis and wrap the condom in tissue paper and discard it in the garbage. Don't flush it down the toilet where you may have to explain to a plumber about the condom that got caught in the drain trap. Wash your hands thoroughly so you don't end up taking live sperm back to the woman. It's not a bad idea to wash your genitals as well to reduce the possibility of bacteria or viruses being transferred. Soap and water is best but water alone will be helpful. No "double-bagging"! That means, do not put a condom over another condom hoping that you'll be twice as protected. It will do the opposite. Friction and air pockets between the two increase the likelihood of breakage. Do not use the same condom twice. If you can't afford more than one condom at a time, you can't afford the possible consequences of sexual intercourse.

Here's an article on how to use a condom, both male condoms and female condoms.

Avert.org also has some good information on condoms and their usage.

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Because condoms are so popular, I'll go on a bit more about them.

They are cheap, usually two bucks or less, and are often free from Public Health Clinics, University/College Health Clinics or Planned Parenthood. (It sometimes amazes me to hear people moaning about not being able to afford to buy condoms. I have to wonder if they realize the potential cost of not buying them! Babies and/or STD treatment tend to be pretty costly.)  Condoms can be gotten from clinics and drugstores and sometimes vending machines. They are often free from clinics and if you are on campus, ask your health services people.

I've heard some debate about the quality of condoms from vending machines, especially those from, of all places, gas stations or bars. Perhaps they are fine and of good quality but personally I would not trust the expiration dates because of the temperatures they may be stored at. As well,vending machines condoms are often "novelty" condoms and will say right on the machine "not intended for birth control or disease prevention". If you are tempted to buy a condom from a machine just to avoid dealing with a cashier at a store, let me assure you of something when you buy a condom: Nobody cares! They are just another item and the clerk really has other things to think about. If they bother to think about it at all, they'll be thinking you are being responsible.  And almost half of all condoms are bought by females, so don't be shy about protecting yourself, ladies.

How do you talk to your partner about using a condom? It seems odd that we may be willing trust someone to have the most intimate physical experience with them but talking about using a condom is sometimes a very awkward conversation. ASHA (American Social Health Association) is a great site with STD information, and has a page to help you be ready for that conversation. Click here to open that page.

Condoms are often seen as something that will protect you from nearly everything sex related...pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But condoms simply "reduce the risk" - they don't eliminate all risk. They will, for instance offer good protection against both pregnancy (and many STDs,) but not 100%. If you fall into the approximately 3 to 5% for whom condom fails, you are 100% pregnant.. So, depending on your situation in life and what you may have to lose if you get pregnant, perhaps a backup method of birth control would be a good idea. Talk to your Doc! And it's also important to know that condoms do not prevent all STDs. Either because they simply don't cover the area that may be affected by some STDs, or because the condoms slips, breaks or is incorrectly used. It's about reducing the risk, not completely eliminating risk.

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Some of the drawbacks of condoms are:

They can break, though, if used properly, it is rare. If they do, there is no barrier between the people having sex, and the risk of pregnancy and/or STDs increases considerably. About preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases...they improve the odds of not getting an STD. Condoms are not magic! They do not guarantee 100% prevention of disease.

They can be damaged by heat. So don't store them in warm places. That includes your wallet guys!

They can be damaged by oil based lubricants like petroleum jelly (the most common brand being Vaseline), or baby oil, mineral oil...basically any kind of oil. The exception to that is the less common and more expensive polyurethane condom. However, there are some water-based lubricants that can be used with the common latex condom. Astroglide , Gyne-Moistrin and KY-Gel are well known brands.

If your are going to have sex, you are going to have to have a condom or two with you, or go get some. And take the time to put it on properly.

On the other hand, they:

Have a high rate of reliability if used right, both for preventing pregnancy and STD transmission.

Are cheap and easy to get and take with you. You do not need a prescription and you don't need to see a doctor.

Sometimes they de-sensitive the penis a bit which may let the guy last longer before he ejaculates.

Some types have a lubricant which makes it a bit more comfortable if the female has not produced much natural lubrication in her vagina.

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Some general facts about condoms:

Condom size: One size fits all. "Large" sizes are more marketing than necessity in almost all cases. An unusually large penis may find a large size slightly more comfortable but the regular codoms can stretch and st-r-e-e-tch!

Lubricated condoms: Some have a water-based lubricant which may be more comfortable for the woman. If she produces enough vaginal lubrication, it won't be necessary. It's really a matter of personal choice. Some people don't like them, some don't mind them.

Ribbed condoms: "For her pleasure"...again, more marketing than reality. It probably won't even be noticed; if you want to use them, they aren't any better or worse than ordinary condoms if they are from a reliable manufacturer.

Spermicidal Condoms: Some condoms have a spermicide, Nonoxynol-9, added, to try to kill any sperm that may come in contact with it. Recent research suggests that this makes little or no difference in pregnancy rates. As well, it can be irritating or even allergy causing for some men and women.

Age and storage: Check the expiration date! If it has passed, toss it out. It's not worth the cost of a pregnancy or STD. And store condoms in a cool and dry place. A warm place may affect the performance and could shorten the real "expiry date". That date will likely assume the condom has been stored in a cool, dry place. And guys, your wallet is for money, not condoms.

Reservoir tips: Some have a built-in "reservoir", an extra bit of space at the tip, to collect the semen. If the condom you use does not have this reservoir, gently pinch the tip of the condom before rolling it down over the penis, to create a reservoir.

Colours! Just marketing ...if it is made by a well known company, it's no more, or less effective than non-coloured condoms. If you want to try it, try it.

Flavoured or novelty condoms: You have to be a bit more careful with these. Check the package to see if it is meant for sexual intercourse or if it just a "novelty". If it's a novelty, it's useless for pregnancy and/or disease protection. These tend to be sold in sex shops, gas stations and bars.

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NON-Latex condoms:

Relatively new on the scene are plastic, polyurethane condoms. If made by a reputable, well known company, those are good at both pregnancy and STD protection.(Some research says they are slightly less reliable than latex condoms as far as breakage.) However, there are some condoms, made of lambskin or other animal membrane which have microscopic holes in them, even brand new. This kind of condom is not very common these days, and they allow some viruses like HIV(AIDS) and Hepatitis B to pass through. So use Latex or Polyurethane condoms. The polyurethane condoms can be used by people allergic to latex and they may last longer than the latex ones if they end up getting stored in warm or hot conditions. Which you should try to avoid anyway. They also may feel more sensitive to the male, and can be used with any kind of lubricant.

Fun Condom Facts:

Condom use seems to go back to the ancient Egyptians. The original condoms that were used in Europe in the 1500's were made of linen soaked in sperm-killing chemicals and allowed to dry. In the 1700's condoms were made of animal membrane, sheep's intestines being the favourite.Those well off could use such membranes powdered and scented.

The famous lover Casanova used linen condoms which he called “English Riding Coats”. The English however, called them “French Letters”. England and France referred to the other country derogatorily when it came to naming syphilis. The English called it “ French Pox” while the French referred to it as “The English Disease”. Casanova had a life-long battle with syphilis and it's widely believed that it led to his death.

In April of 2008, Portugese bungee-jumper Carl Dionisio carefully tied together about 18,500 condoms to create a 30 meter bungee rope. He said the condoms were hard to tie together because they were "so slippery". Dionisio expressed 99% faith that the latex rope would hold. Few people have probably been so anxious about a condom breaking at the wrong moment!

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Female Condoms

Approximate effectiveness: 95%

"Female" Condoms offer protection against most STDs that is as good as the "male" condom.

A "Female Condom" is a polyurethane tube, roughly seven inches long. The closed end of the tube is inserted into the vagina, upwards towards the cervix. The open end of the female condom stays outside the vagina. This condom then offers a barrier between the penis and the vagina. Preventing contact between the penis and the vagina like this offers pretty good protection from pregnancy and most STDs.

The penis can now enter the female condom and ejaculate (Slang: "come" or "cum") the semen into it. Like the male condom, the female condom should be carefully removed immediately after sexual intercourse and discarded. If the couple is going to have sex again, they must use a new condom. The male should not wear a male condom if his partner is wearing a female condom; friction can damage both.

Female condoms are available at drugstores and health clinics. Generally they cost about 30% more than male condoms, but are still much cheaper than an STD, or a pregnancy! They may also be available free at some health clinics. Side effects are unlikely unless either partner has an allergy to the polyurethane the female condom is made from, or to the lubricant that may be used inside it.

Some women may feel a bit strange inserting something that is not as well known as a male condom. However they have a lot of things going for them: they are easily found and fairly cheap and are pretty effective at both pregnancy and STD control. Like the male condom, you do not need a prescription or parental permission to buy them. They may be stronger than male condoms and can be put in well before sexual intercourse. (The male condom has to be put on after an erection happens.) Note, though, that just like using the male condom, there should be no contact between the penis and vaginal area, (with hands either) before the female condom is inserted.

 

g careful not to tear the condom inside. It looks sort of like a rubber dome with the tip sticking up a bit.

Gently pinch the tip of the condom as you put it over the tip of the penis. An uncircumcised guy should pull back the foreskin first.

While still keeping the tip pinched roll the rest of the condom down the shaft of the erect penis. The pinched tip is basically keeping a reservoir at the end for the  semen containing the sperm. Roll the condom all the way down to the pubic hair and try to keep any air out of it. That will help it feel more sensitive and also help prevent breakage.You're ready to have sexual intercourse now.

If you use a lubricant (other than the lubrication a woman's vagina provides when she's aroused) be certain it is a water-based lubricant. K-Y Gel or liquid, and Astroglide are well known brands. Do NOT use petroleum jelly ( like Vaseline) or mineral oil as a sexual lubricant because it can weaken the latex condom. It is OK to use petroleum jelly with polyurethane condoms, though they tend to have a slightly higher breakage and slippage rate than latex.


After the male ejaculates <Pronounced " Ee-jak-yew-laytz"> ("comes" or "cums"...don't ask me, I didn't make up these words!) the
semen with the sperm have all rushed out the end of his penis and been trapped in the tip of the condom, all screaming "let me out of here!" OK, they aren't screaming that, but don't let them out anyway. Immediately -before the penis starts to go soft again- encircle the opening of the condom at the base(bottom) of the penis so no semen/sperm can escape down the sides (and so it doesn't come off and stay inside the woman), pull the penis out of the vagina. It's really important to do this immediately, before going soft. "Soft" allows semen to drip out and/or the condom to stay inside the woman where semen drips out. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a condom for both birth control and for STD control. Next, roll the used condom up off the penis and wrap the condom in tissue paper and discard it in the garbage. Don't flush it down the toilet where you may have to explain to a plumber about the condom that got caught in the drain trap. Wash your hands thoroughly so you don't end up taking live sperm back to the woman. It's not a bad idea to wash your genitals as well to reduce the possibility of bacteria or viruses being transferred. Soap and water is best but water alone will be helpful. No "double-bagging"! That means, do not put a condom over another condom hoping that you'll be twice as protected. It will do the opposite. Friction and air pockets between the two increase the likelihood of breakage. Do not use the same condom twice. If you can't afford more than one condom at a time, you can't afford the possible consequences of sexual intercourse.

Here's an article on how to use a condom, both male condoms and female condoms.

Avert.org also has some good information on condoms and their usage.

 


 

Because condoms are so popular, I'll go on a bit more about them.

They are cheap, usually two bucks or less, and are often free from Public Health Clinics, University/College Health Clinics or Planned Parenthood. (It sometimes amazes me to hear people moaning about not being able to afford to buy condoms. I have to wonder if they realize the potential cost of not buying them! Babies and/or STD treatment tend to be pretty costly.)  Condoms can be gotten from clinics and drugstores and sometimes vending machines. They are often free from clinics and if you are on campus, ask your health services people.

I've heard some debate about the quality of condoms from vending machines, especially those from, of all places, gas stations or bars. Perhaps they are fine and of good quality but personally I would not trust the expiration dates because of the temperatures they may be stored at. As well,vending machines condoms are often "novelty" condoms and will say right on the machine "not intended for birth control or disease prevention". If you are tempted to buy a condom from a machine just to avoid dealing with a cashier at a store, let me assure you of something when you buy a condom: Nobody cares! They are just another item and the clerk really has other things to think about. If they bother to think about it at all, they'll be thinking you are being responsible.  And almost half of all condoms are bought by females, so don't be shy about protecting yourself, ladies.

How do you talk to your partner about using a condom? It seems odd that we may be willing trust someone to have the most intimate physical experience with them but talking about using a condom is sometimes a very awkward conversation. ASHA (American Social Health Association) is a great site with STD information, and has a page to help you be ready for that conversation. Click here to open that page.

Condoms are often seen as something that will protect you from nearly everything sex related...pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But condoms simply "reduce the risk" - they don't eliminate all risk. They will, for instance offer good protection against both pregnancy (and many STDs,) but not 100%. If you fall into the approximately 3 to 5% for whom condom fails, you are 100% pregnant.. So, depending on your situation in life and what you may have to lose if you get pregnant, perhaps a backup method of birth control would be a good idea. Talk to your Doc! And it's also important to know that condoms do not prevent all STDs. Either because they simply don't cover the area that may be affected by some STDs, or because the condoms slips, breaks or is incorrectly used. It's about reducing the risk, not completely eliminating risk.

Drawbacks/ benefits of condoms

Print| E-mail

Some of the drawbacks of condoms are:

They can break, though, if used properly, it is rare. If they do, there is no real barrier between the people having sex, and the risk of pregnancy and/or STDs increases considerably.

About preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases...they improve the odds of not getting an STD. Condoms are not magic! They do not guarantee 100% prevention of disease or pregnancy.

They can be damaged by heat. So don't store them in warm places. That includes your wallet guys!

They can be damaged by oil based lubricants like petroleum jelly (the most common brand being Vaseline), or baby oil, mineral oil...basically any kind of oil. The exception to that is the less common and more expensive polyurethane condom. However, there are some water-based lubricants that can be used with the common latex condom. Astroglide and KY-Gel are well known brands.

If your are going to have sex, you are going to have a condom or two with you, or go get some. And take the time to put it on properly.

On the other hand, they:

Have a high rate of reliability if used right, both for preventing pregnancy and STD transmission.

Are cheap and easy to get and take with you. You do not need a prescription and you don't need to see a doctor.

Sometimes they de-sensitive the penis a bit which may let the guy last longer before he ejaculates.

Some types have a lubricant which makes it a bit more comfortable if the female has not produced much natural lubrication in her vagina.

--------

 

Drawbacks/ benefits of condoms

Print| E-mail

Some of the drawbacks of condoms are:

They can break, though, if used properly, it is rare. If they do, there is no real barrier between the people having sex, and the risk of pregnancy and/or STDs increases considerably.

About preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases...they improve the odds of not getting an STD. Condoms are not magic! They do not guarantee 100% prevention of disease or pregnancy.

They can be damaged by heat. So don't store them in warm places. That includes your wallet guys!

They can be damaged by oil based lubricants like petroleum jelly (the most common brand being Vaseline), or baby oil, mineral oil...basically any kind of oil. The exception to that is the less common and more expensive polyurethane condom. However, there are some water-based lubricants that can be used with the common latex condom. Astroglide and KY-Gel are well known brands.

If your are going to have sex, you are going to have a condom or two with you, or go get some. And take the time to put it on properly.

On the other hand, they:

Have a high rate of reliability if used right, both for preventing pregnancy and STD transmission.

Are cheap and easy to get and take with you. You do not need a prescription and you don't need to see a doctor.

Sometimes they de-sensitive the penis a bit which may let the guy last longer before he ejaculates.

Some types have a lubricant which makes it a bit more comfortable if the female has not produced much natural lubrication in her vagina.

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Copyright © 2008-2014. All Rights Reserved.Information is gleaned from various reliable websites and books but you should always consult a professional for professional information.