We’ve all had sex ed, whether it’s in the classroom, from parents or even from friends, but there’s no hurt in a quick refresher course in the leading form of contraception: condoms!
There’s 2 types of condoms: female and males, both available in thin latex rubber or very thin plastic (polyisoprene or polyurethane.) As we all know, condoms are essential in stopping the spread of STI’s, as well as decreasing the chance of pregnancy (when used properly,) the male condom is 98 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy, and the female condom 95 per cent effective.
Here’s things to remember when using a male condom, according to FemaleFirst:
- In order for the male condom to be effective, it must be placed on an erect penis.
- Open the condom wrapper, being careful not to rip the condom on jewellery, fingernails or any other sharp object. Never open a condom wrapper with your teeth.
- Hold the teat at the end of the condom between your finger and thumb, and then place it on the tip of the penis, making sure there is no air in the condom.
- Gently unroll the condom down over the penis. If you’re finding this difficult, you may have put the condom on the wrong way, if this is the case then throw the condom away and start again with a new one, making sure it’s the correct way round.
- After sex, withdraw the penis whilst still erect and hold the condom at the base of the penis so that it doesn’t fall off or leak.
- Carefully remove the condom, avoiding spilling any semen. Wrap the used condom in a tissue and dispose of it in a bin. Do not flush it down the toilet.
If you choose to use a female condom, here’s what to remember, according to FemaleFirst:
- Female condom can be placed inside the vagina up to eight hours before sex.
- Take care when taking the female condom out of the packet. Do not rip it on any jewellery, fingernails or sharp objects. Never open a condom with your teeth.
- Squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom between your finger and thumb.
- Using your finger and thumb, push the condom as far up into the vagina as possible. Make sure that the large ring covers the outside of the vagina.
- The outer ring should never go up in the vagina. If it does during sex, then stop and put it back in the right place.
- Make sure the penis enters the female condom and not between the condom and side of the vagina.
- After sex, slightly twist and pull to remove the condom. Be careful not to spill any semen then wrap the condom in tissue and dispose of it in a bin. Never flush it down the toilet.
Some other things to remember about condoms are to use a new condom every time you have sex and to always check the expiry date on a condom. Never use an expired condom, the condom material is breaking down after that date, which can cause tears or holes in the condom, putting you at high risk for STI transmission and pregnancy. It is also possible to have a latex allergy, therefore using latex condoms is not an option, opt for the polyurethane condoms, which should decrease the chance of an allergic reaction. One last thing to remember is that men who have a hard time maintaining an erection shouldn’t use a male condom because the penis needs to be erect so that the semen remains inside the condom.
You can purchase condoms at these places: pharmacies, supermarkets, vending machines in public toilets, websites. Condoms are available for free for everyone at: sexual health or GUM clinics, family planning clinics, selected GP surgeries and brook Advisory Centres (under 25’s only.) Not having accessibility to condoms shouldn’t be a legitimate excuse, seeing that they are available to buy and for free in so many places. You can even purchase them online, but make sure to buy from a legitimate pharmacist or legitimate retailer. Every condom should also come with the European CE mark or British BSI Kitemark as it is a sign of quality assurance.
If a condom is to ever break during sex, you should get tested for STIs immediately at your GP or GUM clinic. For women who want to prevent against pregnancy, they should take the emergency contraceptive pill (the morning after pill), which can you can buy at your GP any pharmacy.
There’s your crash/refresher course in condoms. A little step and effort to use a condom can make a huge difference in keeping you safe and preventing any unintentional developments. Feel free to share this information with your partner so you both are educated in safe sex. Sex is even more fun when both of you are protected, so have fun and be safe!
Photo courtesy of: Female First