What Is Condom?/Condoms are a form of barrier contraception that also prevents the spread of certain STDs. Most condoms are latex consisting of a reservoir tip and base ring that is connected by a thin latex tube. There are a top side and a downside to each condom. When the condom bag is opened, the side where the reservoir tip is pointing up, unimpeded, is the top. To apply, the tip of the reservoir is pinched between two fingers, while the ring is then rolled over the erect penis. To remove grasp the base ring and pull the condom off before erection is lost. Wrap the used condom in a tissue, or tie it off, and dispose of the used condom. Female condoms consist of two rings, one with a closed-end, connected by a tube of latex to the opposite open, larger ring. The index finger is placed in the closed end, which is inserted into the vagina pushing the closed end in as far as possible. This discussion will solely focus on male condoms.[rx][rx][rx]
Types of Condom
There are 2 basic types of condoms available in the UK: male and female. The female condom is sometimes called a femidom because Femidom is its brand name in the UK.
During sex, male condoms are worn on the penis to prevent semen (sperm) entering the woman’s vagina when the man ejaculates (comes). The condom should be put on when the penis is erect (hard) and before it comes into contact with your partner’s body.
To use a male condom correctly, follow these steps:
- Carefully open the foil packaging that the condom is wrapped in, taking care not to tear the condom.
- Hold the tip of the condom between your forefinger and thumb to make sure it’s put on the right way round and no air is trapped inside (the condom may split if air is trapped inside).
- Place the condom over the tip of the penis.
- While squeezing the tip of the condom, roll it down over the length of the erect penis.
- If the condom will not unroll, it’s probably on inside out – start again with a new condom as there may be sperm on it.
Make sure that the condom stays in place while you’re having sex. If it comes off, stop and put on a new one. After ejaculation (when the man has come) and while the penis is still hard, hold the condom in place and carefully withdraw the penis from your partner’s body. You should only take the condom off the penis when there’s no further contact with your partner’s body. Wrap the used condom in a tissue and put it in the bin. You should never flush condoms down the toilet as they may block the toilet and can cause environmental damage.
Female condoms allow women to share the responsibility of choosing what type of contraception to use before having sex with their partner. Female condoms can be inserted at any time before sex, but must always be inserted before the penis touches the genital area.
To use a female condom, follow these steps:
- Carefully remove the female condom from its packaging, taking care not to tear it.
- Place the closed end of the condom into the vagina, holding the soft inner ring between your forefinger or middle finger and thumb.
- Use your other hand to separate the folds of skin (labia) around the vagina, then put the squeezed ring into the vagina.
- Put your index or middle finger or both in the open end of the condom until the inner ring can be felt and push the condom as far up the vagina as possible, with the outer ring lying against the outside of the vagina.
- The outer ring of the condom should rest closely on the outside of the vagina at all times during sex – if the outer ring gets pushed inside the vagina, stop and put it back in the right place.
- Make sure that the penis goes in the condom – take care to make sure that the penis does not go between the condom and the wall of the vagina.
Immediately after sex, slightly twist and pull the end of the condom to remove it, taking care not to spill any sperm inside the vagina. If this happens, you’ll need to seek advice about emergency contraception from your GP or pharmacist. Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it away in a bin, not in the toilet.
Condoms come lubricated to make them easier to use, but you may like to use an additional lubricant (lube). This is particularly advised for anal sex to reduce the chance of the condom splitting. If you use a lubricant when having sex, make sure it’s water-based. Oil-based lubricants, such as lotion or baby oil, can damage latex and polyisoprene condoms, and increase the likelihood that they’ll break.
Health Benefit of Condom?
- Condoms function as barrier contraception preventing contact between semen and the opposite genitalia. It also prevents direct skin to skin contact of the penile glans and penis shaft and prevents contact from penile, vaginal, or anal secretions. Male condoms come in many different types, sizes, materials, colors, textures, odors, and flavors. Some include reservoir tips, special lubricants, or spermicides. Condoms come in various sizes from snug to medium to large.
- Reservoir tips are designed to allow for ejaculate pooling. Condoms without reservoir tips may carry the risk of semen leaking around the sides to the back of the condom.
- The vast majority of condoms consist of rubber latex (80%). Other materials used are synthetic (mostly polyurethane) (15%), and natural membrane (mostly lamb intestinal cecum, 5%).
- Condoms can come in a variety of textures such as ribbed, studded, located on in the inside, outside or both sides of the condom. Condoms can also come bulb-shaped. These different textures and shapes are proposed to try and provide extra sensation to either the male or female partner.
Issues of Concern
- Although rare, the risk of condom slippage or breakage during sexual intercourse has been reported in roughly 2% of cases. Latex condoms should only be used with water-based lubricants such as K-Y, saliva, and glycerin. Oil-based lubricants (e.g., baby oil, hand and body lotions, massage oil, mineral oil, edible oils, whipped cream) have been shown to interrupt the integrity of latex condoms and should not come in contact with latex condoms.[rx][rx][rx]
The Right Way To Use A Male Condom
Condom Dos and Don’ts
- DO use a condom every time you have sex.
- DO put on a condom before having sex.
- DO read the package and check the expiration date.
- DO make sure there are no tears or defects.
- DO store condoms in a cool, dry place.
- DO use latex or polyurethane condoms.
- DO use a water-based or silicone-based lubricant to prevent breakage.
- DON’T store condoms in your wallet as heat and friction can damage them.
- DON’T use nonoxynol-9 (a spermicide), as this can cause irritation.
- DON’T use oil-based products like baby oil, lotion, petroleum jelly, or cooking oil because they will cause the condom to break.
- DON’T use more than one condom at a time.
- DON’T reuse a condom.
How to correctly use an external or ‘male’ condom:
- Check the condom has a British Kitemark and is not past its use-by date (a condom should last five years if stored correctly; the use-by date is printed on the wrapper).
- Take care not to rip the condom (eg, with your teeth) when taking it from its wrapper.
- Make sure you have the condom the right way up by placing it over your finger tip. If you can’t roll it down, you need to turn it over before putting it on the penis. If you notice a condom is inside out once it’s on the penis, start again with a new one, as there may be some sperm on it.
- The penis must be fully erect before the condom goes on – otherwise the condom could come off .
- Try not to stretch or unroll the condom before it goes on as this can weaken it.
- If the condom has a teat at the tip, squeeze the air out of it. Make sure no air or lubricant is trapped under the condom.
- Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis (otherwise it’s more likely to come off) (2).
- If lubrication is needed for anal or vaginal sex, apply water-based or silicone-based lube to the condom once it’s on. Don’t use oil-based lubes – they can make a condom split. Hand cream, oils from the kitchen, massage oils, Vaseline, hair and bath products are all oil-based.
- Don’t use spit as it dries quickly leaving the condom prone to breaking. Be sure to use water-based or silicone-based lube.
How to put on a condom
You’ll find instructions on the condom packet, but here are a few simple steps:
- Check the date on the condom hasn’t passed. An out of date condom is more likely to break.
- Check the packet is in good condition and has a certification mark (FDA, CE, ISO or Kitemark). This means it’s been tested and complies with safety standards.
- Open the packet carefully so you don’t rip or damage the condom. There’s usually an arrow on the packet to guide you in the direction you should open it. Avoid using your teeth or scissors and be careful with sharp fingernails or jewelry.
- The penis needs to be erect before the condom is put on. Always put the condom on before the penis touches a woman or man’s genitals or mouth.
- Condoms come rolled up. Place one on top of the erect penis and pinch the teat at the end of the condom before you start to roll it down the penis. By doing this you’ll squeeze out any air bubbles and ensure there is room for the semen (cum).
- Roll the condom down to the base of the penis. If it’s on correctly it will roll downwards easily. If you’ve started putting it on the wrong way or you’re not sure then take it off and try again. Even if the man hasn’t ejaculated (cum) there can still be semen on his penis (pre-cum), so it’s important to try again with a new condom.
How to remove a condom
- Only take the condom off when the penis has been withdrawn completely but while the penis is still erect. Most men lose their erection very soon after they cum so don’t wait around too long to pull out the penis from the vagina or anus, as this risks semen spilling out, or the condom slipping off.
- Always use a new condom if you have sex again, or if you’re going from anal to vaginal or oral sex. This is important because several different infections can be passed on from the anus to the vagina or mouth.
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