A Guide to Condoms

This guide to condoms is here to give you information and advice about safe sex. Simply put a male condom is a contraceptive but it provides so much more than just birth control. Condoms are mostly made of very thin latex or polyurethane. A condom covers the penis providing a barrier between the penis and the vagina, the penis and the mouth or the penis and the anus. All condoms work by catching the sperm when the man ejaculates, preventing the semen (cum) from entering the vagina, anus or mouth. As wonderful as sex is, it has consequences and those consequences can be life-changing. Unwanted pregnancy and STIs can easily be avoided if we just take a moment to think about safety.

Facts

The NHS tells us that male condoms are 98% effective in preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Condoms provide instant protection for both partners and a condom should always be used when having sex with someone new, even if one of you is taking birth control. They are also one of the only forms of contraception that can protect against both pregnancy and STIs, but they cannot work effectively if they are not worn correctly or if they don’t fit properly. If condoms are not worn properly, or if they are the wrong size, they can tear or even slip off during sex.

Which Condom should I choose?

With so many different types of condoms available it can be daunting to find the perfect match. Here are some things you might want to consider when shopping for condoms: Do you or your partner have a Latex allergy? Putting on a condom doesn’t have to ruin the mood during sex but an allergic reaction certainly will! If you are unsure, then it is always best to opt for a non-latex condom just to be safe.

Different types of condoms

Latex & Latex Free

Which lube should I choose?

Latex Condoms – Chose a water-based or silicone-based lube. Never use oil-based lube.
Non-Latex Condoms – Chose a water-based, silicone or oil-based lube.

How to use a condom

Remove from the foil wrapper using the tear strip. Hold the condom the right way round, ready to roll: the rim should be on the outside so it looks like a hat. Pinch the tip and place it on the top of your erect penis. Pinching the end helps eliminate air which could cause the condom to tear. Holding the tip with one hand, use your other hand to unroll the condom down the shaft of your penis all the way to the base. It is important to make sure that the condom stays in place during sex. If it moves or even slips off you will have no protection. Should it rolls up, roll it back into place. If it does slip off stop immediately. Dispose of it safely before applying another. Once ejaculation has occurred, withdraw slowly holding the condom firmly.

How can I dispose of condoms safely?

Whatever you do, don’t dispose of condoms down the toilet. Once latex comes into contact with water it is no longer biodegradable. They can end up in our water systems, affecting marine life. The best thing to do is to wrap the condom in paper and throw it in the rubbish bin. This way, the condom ends up in a landfill where it will biodegrade over time along with the paper you wrapped it in. Don’t forget you can recycle the condom box once you have removed any foil wrappings.

What is an STI?

In this guide to condoms, it is important to talk about STIs. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection. Below are the most common types of STI:

None of these are particularly nice and all are easily transferred between partners during sex if protection, i.e. a condom, is not used. STIs should be treated as soon as possible and most are easily dealt with using antibiotics but some are more serious and, if left untreated, they can cause long term health effects including infertility. It is important to remember that an STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. STIs can pass between men and women, and from women to women and men to men.

Many people that have an STI don’t show any symptoms so, even if both partners look and feel fine, you still can’t be sure you are having safe sex unless you use a condom.

If you suspect you have an STI you can seek quick and effective treatment at your nearest NHS Sexual Health Clinic. A quick search on the internet will locate all the relevant details you need or you can contact our customer service team.

If this guide to condoms still leaves you with questions, jump on the live chat where a member of the team will be happy to help.

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