Why should I use condoms? (The list below has been adapted from a fabulous resource website Avert.org. Check out their website for additional condom tips and information!)
There are many advantages to using condoms when having sex.
- Condoms are the only contraceptive that helps prevent both pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) when used properly and consistently.
- Condoms are one of the most reliable methods of birth control when used properly and consistently.
- Condoms don’t have the potential medical side-effects that some other birth control methods may have.
- Condoms are available in various shapes, colours, flavours, textures and sizes. These can all increase the fun of having sex with condoms.
- Condoms are widely available in pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. You don't need to visit a doctor or have a prescription.
- Condoms make sex less messy.
- Condoms are user friendly. With a little practice, they can also add confidence to the enjoyment of sex.
- Condoms are only used when you are having sex, unlike some other contraceptives.
- Condoms are inexpensive.
- Condoms can be combined with other contraceptive methods to increase reliability.
- Condoms are light-weight, easy to pack, and easy to dispose of!
- Both males and females can be responsible for the contraceptive method!
- Condoms make it easy to keep sex going when wanting to move from anal sex to vaginal sex- just use a new condom!
- Condoms with lubricant can reduce the friction of skin to skin contact!
Ihate buying condoms! I get embarrassed!
When buying condoms, it’s important to remember why you’re buying them- no, not just to have sex, but also to keep yourself safe! Buying condoms shows that you’re taking responsibility for your own sexual health. However, if it is something that embarrasses you, there are lots of other options than going to the drug store:
- Go to the Opt clinic or youth clinic in your area. Clinics provide free condoms! You can take as many as you need, and also ask for some tips on how to use them properly.
- Condoms can be ordered online! Good Vibrations, Womyn’s Ware, One Condoms, and numerous other retailers will ship them straight to you!
- Go with a friend, and ask the friend to help you purchase the condoms.
I’ve heard that I shouldn’t use oil with a condom. Why not?
Most condoms are made with latex, a type of rubber that can be easily broken down with oil. The oil eats away at the condom, weakening it and potentially causing micro-tears in the condom, large enough for STI bacteria and viruses as well as sperm to get through. It takes less than 60 seconds for the oil to completely break down the latex!
Do polyurethane/polyisoprene condoms break down like latex condoms?
No. Polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms are made of plastics, and do not break down the same way as latex condoms do. With the plastic condoms, it is possible to use oil-based lubricants because they won’t break down. Also, plastic condoms won’t break down with heat. This is both a positive and a negative: although the non-latex plastic condoms last longer, don’t break down with heat, and can be used with oil lubricants, they also don’t biodegrade, and are not the most environmentally friendly option. Also, even though they won't break down in heat, all plastics do break down with UV exposure, so try to keep them away from direct sunlight!
Can I use a condom underwater/in a hot tub/in the shower/in the bath?
Yes- however there are extra precautions to take:
- Make sure the condom is put on before getting into the water.
- Remember that chlorine and other chemicals used to keep pool and hot tub water clean can break down the condoms
- Bubble bath and bath oils can break down condoms quickly!
- Natural lubrication as well as water based lubricants might wash away in the water. Using a silicone based lube might be helpful!
How do I make using condoms fun/pleasurable?
Using condoms can actually be a lot of fun! For many male partners, one of the biggest benefits is that they are able to prolong ejaculation- a benefit that both partners typically enjoy! Some other ways to make using condoms more pleasurable are:
- Use lots of lube! Lube helps reduce the friction caused by the condom. Using a little on the inside of the condom is okay too: use enough to fill the reservoir tip
- Try lots of different styles. Condom manufacturers have come out with a variety of sizes, styles, shapes, and thicknesses to help ensure that there is a condom for everyone. The condoms that are available in drugstores are just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended!) and there are many other styles available at specialty stores.
- As technology improves, condoms are becoming thinner and less sensory depriving! Yippee!
- Use trying different condoms as a way to improve communication about sex between you and your partner—talk about which condoms you like and dislike and why. Plus, you get to go shopping, and buy different types that you want to try!
- Although condoms will never be the same as naked skin, there are pleasurable aspects to latex (and non-latex, too!). Condoms can provide different sensations!
- Try doing a blind taste test to see which condom flavour you enjoy the most!
- Start interjecting condoms and safer sex practices into your fantasies. Get used to imagining them as part of your sexual play.
- Many couples find that with a condom on, they are free to enjoy sex more, and become less sexually inhibited when they are less concerned about pregnancy and STI risks.
Why would I use a condom with a sex toy?
Using condoms on a sex toy allow for the toys to be shared between partners, using a new condom for each partner. Putting a condom on the toy also allows for the toy to be used both anally and vaginally- as long as you use a new condom each time you switch from anus to vagina, as you don’t want any bacteria from the anus entering the vagina or urethra.
Can I still buy condoms with spermicide?
Spermicidal Condoms are still available at some drug stores. If you like using spermicide in combination with condoms, we would actually recommend that you use additional spermicidal (foam, jelly or film) as the spermicidal condoms don’t actually have enough spermicide to be used as a back up method. Also, the condoms with spermicide have been known to cause irritation, and definitely are not meant to be used for oral sex.
Why would anyone want to use an internal condom? It looks like a plastic bag!
Why we love the internal condom:
- It’s an alternative to the external condom, which some people find restrictive
- It helps female partners take control of their own STI prevention
- It warms up with body heat
- It can be inserted vaginally up to 8 hours ahead of use (which makes it warm and decreases the squeaking that some people have experienced with use)
- It covers more of the genital or anus, and reduces skin to skin contact, which increases protection from HPV and HSV
- It can be used by those with latex allergies
- You can use oil-based lubes because it’s polyurethane not latex!
- It’s easy to use, and reduces the mess to clean up
- It has almost all of the benefits associated with external condom use
Tomorrow's blog topic: Hot Dam! Other safer sex methods that you may or may not know about!
As always, any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or a comment can be left on the blog. Enjoy!