International Condom Day 2020: Everything you need to know about condoms

Today, on International Condom Day, let’s look at why exactly we should be thankful for this invention back in 1839 and how to take full advantage of it.

Myupchar February 14, 2020 15:34:59 IST
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International Condom Day 2020: Everything you need to know about condoms

Nothing is sexier than safe sex. And what makes sex the safest? Condoms. Today, on International Condom Day, let’s look at why exactly we should be thankful for this invention back in 1839 and how to take full advantage of it. Also, we’re answering many of the questions you may have had at some point but never really knew whom to ask.

International Condom Day 2020 Everything you need to know about condoms

PTI

Firstly, what is a condom?

There are two types of condoms: male and female.

Male condoms are more popular. They’re used during sexual activity to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. A male condom is a sheath-shaped barrier that covers the penis to contain the semen within.

A female condom works the same way, by providing a barrier. It is inserted into the vagina or anus instead. It is tube-shaped with two flexible rings at each end.  

How safe are condoms?

If used correctly every time, male condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy and female condoms are 95% effective. But it is common for people to miss something or use the condom incorrectly. With this kind of use, the effectiveness falls to about 85% for male condoms.

When should you use a condom? 

Condoms should be used during vaginal, anal and oral sexual intercourse. A new condom should be used for every sexual activity, even if there was no ejaculation. You should use a condom during your first time having sex just as much as any other time. Condoms are also needed for sex during period, when having sex in water and regardless of the sex position. Use condoms if you’re sharing sex toys. Condoms can be combined with other methods of protection like birth control pills. 

How to put on a condom?

Open the packet carefully - don’t use your teeth to do it. Remove the condom from the packet and hold the tip between your index finger and thumb to ensure no air is trapped within. Don’t hold the condom with your nails. While holding the tip, place the condom over the head of the penis and roll it on the erect penis. There is no shame it practising this at home until it happens naturally. Girls, you really can try it on a banana. Do not use two condoms at once. Do not use a male and female condom at the same time. The friction caused can increase the chances of a tear.

Also read: 11 myths about condoms you shouldn't believe

Do condoms reduce pleasure? 

On the contrary, condoms can actually make the sex a lot better, depending on how you go about it. Sexual pleasure has more to do with your brain than the condom. Anxiety stemming from unsafe sex can cause a lot of problems during intercourse, including not being able to orgasm and involuntary spasms. Once you take care of the anxiety, you’ll be able to enjoy the sex a lot more. It may take some getting used to at first but some condoms nowadays feel like a second skin and don’t noticeably compromise on sensation.

Are all condoms the same?

There are many, many, many different types of condom.

Size is the first thing to consider - you have sizes from small to extra large. Fit is extremely important. If the condom is too big, you may risk a leak and if it’s too small, it might not fit or tear.

You have different materials like latex (most popular), polyurethane or polyisoprene (plastic) and lambskin. Lambskin condoms are a bit more expensive and biodegradable but not so effective against the transmission of STDs.

Condoms come in many flavours too like strawberry, cherry, vanilla, bubblegum, chocolate and even bacon. These may be preferred during oral sex.

There are also different textures available in condoms, like ribbed, dotted and some with a combination of both. These may provide more pleasure during intercourse.

What to do if the condom breaks? 

If the condom breaks, you should stop immediately and use a new one. If you’re worried about pregnancy, you can consult a doctor about emergency contraception which should be taken within 72 hours of intercourse. Emergency contraceptive may have some side-effects, especially with over-use, so don’t take them lightly. If you’re worried about STDs, you and your partner should get tested soon as some STDs do not have obvious symptoms.

How should you dispose of a condom?

Take the condom off carefully and immediately after intercourse. Tie a knot to prevent any leakage. Wrap this up in some tissue paper and then dispose of it in a dustbin. Do not flush it down the toilet as it can clog the pipes. And take out the trash regularly to avoid any smell.

Do you need condoms in a long-term relationship? 

Many couples in happy and long-term relationships continue to use condoms as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases that you both may be unaware of. It has nothing to do with trust but doing what is best for your health as well as your partner’s. Don’t feel guilty about this decision and also don’t try and make someone feel guilty about using condoms. It’s a wise decision to use condoms for as long as you wish to.

Can one be allergic to condoms?

While rare, one can be allergic to one of the materials that condoms are made of - latex allergy is the most common. Such an allergy might be noticed before in your life as you come in contact with other things made from rubber, like balloons. In this case, you can try polyurethane condoms instead which are just as good at reducing the risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

Read Condoms: types, uses, how to use for more detailed information.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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