This week we are going to talk about the most accessible type of contraception and also something we have mentioned in every other post about contraception; condoms. Most people are familiar with condoms via use or having heard about them in everyday life. Condoms are most often used by men, as the male versions are more popular, so why are we talking about them here? It is a good question and it is very simple. Condoms are as important to women as they are to men. Let’s go over the basics.
First and foremost there are two kinds of condoms. Male condoms are the type more of us are most accustomed to and know the most about but there are also female condoms. The major differences are who uses them, in the applications, and the size.
Male condoms are not as wide (generally speaking) and are designed to be rolled over an erect penis. The middle of the condom should be placed at the tip of the penis with a fingertips worth of space, i.e. the little nib at the end should be left free to collect sperm after ejaculation. If the condom is slippery you have probably but it one the wrong way around. The roll of the condom should be easily rolled down the shaft of the penis upon use. The inside of the condom is usually coated with a light lubrication to avoid chaffing. Even if you have never used one most people shave heard or seen jokes about the use of them. Just in case I am not explaining in a way that makes sense there should be a ‘how to’ instruction leaflet inside each packet you buy.
Female condoms, sometimes called internal condoms, must be inserted into the vagina with the open end at the base of the vagina. The edges should be visible and thus allow you to remove the condom easily when it has completed it’s job as a receptacle. Female condoms should also be accompanied by a leaflet on how to use it, in the same way that tampons do.
So here is the deal, male condoms are the most commonly used type of condoms but female condoms are just as easy to use. As a plus it gives the woman more control in ensuring that protection during sex is used. They are discreet and portable like a male condom and can be used at any time. You can also insert a female condom up to 8 hours before sex.
Now here is possibly the most important piece of information, which we have mentioned before. A condom is basically a shield, a literal physical barrier between you and your partner. That may sound bad to some but inspite of what some may think or say male condoms come in many forms, thickness, ribbed, smooth, multicoloured, flavoured, with different lubes, and with different types of materials used, all to suit your needs. Female condoms are one size fits all and made of hypoallergenic materials to ensure safe use. If you don’t want to feel a condom they now make them so that you don’t notice them as much. The key here is to find one you and your partner like because condoms are a type of contraception that not only prevents you and your partner from unplanned pregnancy but it also protects the participants from STDs. Polyurethane and latex condoms are best for this.
If you are allergic to polyurethane, latex, or any other variants of artificial substances that condoms might be made out of there are natural options for male condoms but they will not be as effective in their preventative measures. You will always want to check the packaging to make sure that your condoms are suitable to your needs.
You should keep in mind that condoms should not break if applied properly but there is always the possibility. Male condoms are 97% effective when used properly but due to breakage they are 84% effective. Female condoms are slightly less effective than their male counter parts but they are effect approximately 79% to 84% of time. Therefore if you are concerned about their effectiveness then they can be used in conjunction with other forms of contraception or spermicide. You should not use more than one condom at a time, or rather the two condoms in question should not be rubbing against each other.
You should also refrain from using anything other than water based lubricants with condoms to avoid breaking and tearing. Should you find that upon opening the condom package that it has a hole in it do not use it. It is also important to keep the expiration dates listed on the packaging in mind.
They have no effect on a woman’s hormones and can be purchased in your local drugstore. Condoms are for single use only, meaning they should not be used for more than one sexual encounter. Condoms are also less expensive than other forms of contraception and are accessible to everyone.
Until next week!