Advantages of Condoms and Why Size Matters
Condoms are a safe and effective form of contraception that protect against STIs and pregnancy. But why you should use condoms? What are the advantages of using them and does your condom size really matter? Even if getting it on seems like a distant memory thanks to lockdown and the intricacies of *whisper it* social bubbles: join our guest writer, Henn Mossery-Golan, for the do’s, don’ts, and how to’s to get you back up to speed.
What can I use condoms for?
Condoms are barrier protection worn on the penis. They are 98% effective and are the only non-hormonal form of contraception that prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV and chlamydia. However, they cannot provide complete protection against certain STIs, such as herpes or genital warts, as these are transmitted through skin to skin contact.
How do I use a condom?
The condom should be put on when the penis is erect and before you engage in penetrative, oral and anal sex. Gently pinch the top of the condom when you roll it down to make sure no air is trapped, as this can then burst during sex and cause a leak. Before use, check the expiration date, make sure the condom packet is not punctured or damaged in any way, and only open it with your fingers (definitely not scissors) to decrease the chance of it tearing. Prefer a well-lubricated ride? Don’t use an oil-based lubricant, as this can damage the material of the condom, water-based options are much safer, generally more natural and kinder to your body. Speaking of natural, although coconut oil is a popular (and tasty) natural lubricant, it isn’t safe to use with condoms and can damage the natural pH of the vagina. We stan a resourceful lover: you can cut off the tip and along the side of a condom, and lay it flat to use it as a makeshift dental dam for oral sex.
Oh, and while I’m here, wearing two condoms at once does not provide twice the protection; it actually makes it more likely that both condoms will break. This is because they rub against each other causing friction, which can then lead to tearing. Likewise, you wouldn’t need to use an internal condom at the same time as an external one, as the friction could break both.
Does size really matter?
Repeat after me: a better condom fit makes for a more comfortable feel. If a condom is not worn properly, it could be only 85% effective. You can also be at risk of unwanted pregnancy if your condom does not fit properly, as it will be more susceptible to tearing or may even come off during sex. Condoms need to fit properly to shield against fluids and exposed skin which could lead to STIs or pregnancy. The girth (the thickest part of an erect penis) is the most important factor when choosing the right size, not length. If a condom is baggy at the tip or has excess rolls at the base, forgo the standard size and look for ‘snug’ fit instead. An indicator that a condom is too small is if it looks overstretched, split almost immediately or doesn’t cover the penis entirely. If this is the case, look for bigger condoms, such as HANX Large Size.
Safe sex = better sex
Using condoms properly means you can enjoy sex and stay in the moment without having to worry about getting pregnant or STIs. Condoms shouldn’t hurt or burn, so if something doesn’t feel quite right, make sure it’s on properly, and if the sensation continues, perhaps it’s time to explore non-latex options. Condoms are non-hormonal, meaning unlike hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill or implant, you can have fun without them having an effect on your hormones. Not everyone can use other forms of contraception, but condoms are inclusive for all. They come in multiple materials and size, so there really is one for everyone out there! Condoms are safe, don’t have serious side-effects, and won’t affect your fertility. Using condoms also distributes responsibility more equally between partners, as all the pressure isn’t just on the one using hormonal contraception. There are different styles and shapes that can make sex even more pleasurable for both partners, and even sometimes delay cumming, so making sex last longer. Side note: if using pleasure enhancing condoms, you might want to take a look at the ingredients as numbing agents and spermicides can increase the risk of damage to the vagina. Condoms aren’t as high maintenance as other methods of protection, perfect for people who only require occasional protection and prefer not to use a full-time birth control method.
Consent is key, and so are condoms
Before engaging in any sexual activity, you must ensure you have enthusiastic, verbal consent from your partner. Asking “should I get a condom?” is a very natural way to bring up consent and allows you to check-in with your partner to make sure they want to continue. Taking a condom off during sex without your partner’s consent, also known as Stealthing, is illegal and regarded as a form of sexual assault. Find out more in our Naked Truths blog here. Remember that any penis can fit inside a condom, and don’t let someone lie to convince you otherwise. Don’t let your partner manipulate you into having unprotected sex if you don’t feel comfortable with it. How you want to have sex is absolutely your choice, always communicate your desires and put your health first.