Why Condoms?

Why do we need to wear condoms? And, what kind of condoms are there?

In this article, we will go through the general types of condoms, their benefits and effectiveness, and proper techniques on how to use them. 

The most commonly used type is the male condom (or external condom). These are worn over an erect penis, to cover the head and shaft, until the base. A female condom (or internal condom) is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse, with the outer portion covering part of the vulva and vaginal opening. Internal condoms can also be used for anal intercourse. 

Condoms, if used correctly, are an excellent way to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acute Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This is achieved via a barrier method of protection against genital secretions or genital ulcers, and preventing transfer of bodily fluids via skin or mucosal micro-tears that may occur during sexual intercourse. 

When used correctly and consistently during oral, vaginal and anal sex, condoms are highly effective in reducing the risk of STD or HIV acquisition, as transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner. This means using condoms throughout the entire sex act, from the start of sexual contact until the finish.

Condom use may also prevent transmission of genital ulcer diseases such as herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) related infections and cancers. These diseases are spread via skin-to-skin contact from sores, ulcers or infected skin. The use of condoms helps prevent their transmission when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected. 

Regular condom usage can also help to prevent pregnancy. 

So, how do we use condoms? A proper technique of using them is essential for achieving the maximum protective effect.

Male condoms (external condoms)

To use a male condom, carefully remove the condom from its wrapper. Place the condom on the head of the erect penis. (If you are uncircumcised, you will have to retract your foreskin first.)

Place condom

Pinch the air out of the tip of the condom, and unroll the condom all the way down the penis. 

Pinch air out of the tip of condom

After sexual intercourse, remember to hold the condom at the base before pulling out. 

pulling out condom

Female condoms (internal condoms)

Female condoms, or internal condoms, can be used during vaginal and anal intercourse. 

Start by removing the condom from its wrapper carefully. You will notice the condom has two rings. The thick, inner ring with closed end will be placed in the vagina or anus, and the thin outer ring will remain outside of the body. 

Hands holding female condom at the thick, inner ring.

Find a comfortable position. While holding the outside of the condom at the closed end, squeeze the thick, inner ring together and insert into the vagina or anus. Use your finger to push the inner ring as far up/ in as it can go. You have to make sure that the condom is not twisted. 

Finger inserting female condom into vagina.

The thin, outer ring should remain outside. 

Hands positioning female condom in place to cover vulva.

Stop intercourse if the condom slips out, or the outer ring slips into the vagina or anus. 

Lastly, be mindful of the following tips, for effective condom usage. 

  • Use a condom from start to finish, every time you have sex.
  • Do make sure your condom has not expired.
  • Do store your condoms is a cool and dry place.
  • Do not keep condoms in wallets, as this can to lead to tears or defects cause by friction. 
  • Do not reuse condoms.
  • If you accidentally put a condom on inside out, replace it with a new one. Reusing the side that has touched the penis can possibly transfer an STD. 
  • Do not use male and female condoms together, as this can lead to tearing.
  • Only use water-based lubricants with latex/ polyurethane condoms. Oil-based lubricants may cause condom breakage. 

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