How a condom works:
A condom provides a barrier between the person wearing the condom and the other partner. If the condom is being used to prevent pregnancy, the condom collects the ejaculate and prevents the sperm from coming in contact with a female partner’s ovum. Condoms also work to reduce other bodily fluids from coming in contact with any of the STI receptor cells that are found around the genitals, mouth and anus. They can be used on penises, and also on sex toys.
Types of external condoms:
1) Lubricated: Most condoms that are available commercially or through clinics come pre-lubricated. In some cases this is beneficial. However, the lubricant might not be sufficient for some people, and it is okay to add more. Other people might experience irritation from the pre-lubricated condoms, and may find that they don’t like them.
2) Non-lubricated: There are condoms available without lubricant. For most people, adding lubricant to these condoms helps reduce friction. By choosing non-lubricated condoms, people have the ability to choose their favourite water or silicone based lubricant. This can be important for people who have sensitivities to certain lubricants, in particular the lubricant on the pre-lubed condoms.
3) Non-latex: Many name brands have their own version of non-latex condoms; polyurethane is one material that has become increasingly popular. The benefit of polyurethane is that it warms up and becomes softer, resulting in a more natural feeling. They are also typically thinner than conventional condoms allowing for a ‘closer to skin on skin’ feeling. Non-latex condoms are also a great option for people who have latex allergies. However, non-latex condoms are also made of plastics, which are not biodegradable and are not the most environmentally friendly option.
Types of internal condoms:
Reality/Female condom: At this point, there is only one option for internal condoms. It is called “Reality” or “Female” condom. They are made from polyurethane, and are approximately $2.50-$3.00 for one condom. They are shaped like a tube, with a ring at the bottom that fits against the external body, and a loose ring on the inside that can help with insertion, but can be removed if uncomfortable.
They are not as cost-effective as external condoms; however, they are a latex-free alternative, as well as an excellent option for partners who do not want to wear an external condom, and it can also be inserted up to 8 hours before sex! They are also not biodegradable. Although they have not been officially approved for use with anal sex, many people have started using them for anal sex. When using it for anal sex, some people prefer to take the inner ring out, which doesn’t detract from the effectiveness of the internal condom.
- Regular cut
- Slim fit
- Ultra thin
- Flared head
- Glow in the dark
- For her pleasure
- Pleasure shaped
- French ticklers
- Magnum (large/extra large)
- Vibrating Ring
When walking down the condom isle at a drug store, the choices may seem quite overwhelming. A lot of the choices make no difference on how sex will feel for either partner, and in reality is simply a way to market condoms. Many people don’t notice much of a difference between all of the brands or styles. However, some people have preferences for certain types or styles of condoms. For example, some men prefer a magnum condom or a flared head condom to give a bit more room for movement inside the condom, and some men prefer a slim fit condom that is more snug and allows them to feel less of the condom and more of their partner. Another example is a man who has not been circumcised may prefer a condom without a flared head because the extra room might reduce the movement of his foreskin, or he might prefer the flared head because it might allow the foreskin to move more freely. Some people prefer the ones they get at the
Which condom works best?
Condom selection is an individual process where people can do some of their own consumer research: Have fun trying out different brands and styles! A lot of the specialty stores (Womyn’s Ware, Art of Loving, etc) have the option to purchase individual condoms, and some of the drug stores sell packs of 3 condoms.
The difference between novelty and approved condoms:
There are many different types of condoms, and most of them are approved for use for the prevention of pregnancy and reducing the transmission of HIV and many other STIs. However, there are also condoms that are produced as ‘novelty’ condoms, and may not be meant for use in the prevention of pregnancy and reduction of HIV/STI transmission. How can someone tell? The condoms that have been approved have a statement similar to this one on the package:
“When used properly latex condoms will help to prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of transmission of HIV (AIDS) and many other STIs. No condom, however, will eliminate risk.”
If there is no approval message printed on the condom package, or if the condom is clearly marked as novelty, it might not offer the same protection.
The “How to” of putting on a condom!
Believe it or not, there are 10 steps to putting a condom on properly! Why is this important to know? Using a condom properly reduces the chances of breakage, slippage, and other accidents that can lead to accidental pregnancy or STI transmission.
Steps to putting on a condom:
1) Check the expiry date!
- It’s often difficult to read the date- especially in the dark! It is a good idea to check the date on the package of condoms before putting them into the bedside table/purse/etc.
- If there is no air in the package, it can indicate that the package has been punctured. Since there is no way to tell where the package was punctured, it’s a good idea to throw out that condom and start again!
4) Take the condom out of the package and identify which way the condom rolls
- The Blow test: By blowing some air into the condom, you should be able to quickly identify which way the condom should roll (the rolled bit should be on the outside).
- If the condom is placed the wrong way, it will not roll down.
- Because pre-ejaculate can have a high concentration of STIs if the person is infected, it is important to NOT use a condom that has been placed the wrong way. Throw the condom out and start again with a new one!
- Another method is to add lubricant to the reservoir tip of the condom. This helps reduce the friction of the condom on the penis, and makes for more movement
- Some men like to pull the foreskin back before putting the condom on as it helps add more sensation.
- The reason for pinching the tip is so that there is somewhere for the ejaculate to be contained. If there is an air bubble the condom may be more likely to break when the penis ejaculates.
- Using lubricant with condoms reduces the risk of condoms tearing!
- It is important to withdraw the penis before it gets soft
9) Tie the used condom and wrap in tissue or package
10) Throw used condom into the garbage can (not into the toilet!)
Tomorrow: Part 2: Condom Trouble Shooting!