This week’s special is condoms. Condoms are the most common form of Contraception, and are also essential in stopping the spread of STIs.
There are two types of condom, the male condom and the female condom. Both are made of either thin latex rubber or very thin plastic (polyisoprene or polyurethane) and if used correctly, the male condom is 98 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy, and the female condom 95 per cent effective.
In order for the male condom to be effective, it must be placed on an erect penis. To do this correctly you will need to:
- Open the condom wrapper, being careful not to rip the condom on jewellery, fingernails or any other sharp object. Never open a condom wrapper with your teeth.
- Hold the teat at the end of the condom between your finger and thumb, and then place it on the tip of the penis, making sure there is no air in the condom.
- Gently unroll the condom down over the penis. If you’re finding this difficult, you may have put the condom on the wrong way, if this is the case then throw the condom away and start again with a new one, making sure it’s the correct way round.
- After sex, withdraw the penis whilst still erect and hold the condom at the base of the penis so that it doesn’t fall off or leak.
- Carefully remove the condom, avoiding spilling any semen. Wrap the used condom in a tissue and dispose of it in a bin. Do not flush it down the toilet.
If you and your partner would prefer to use a female condom, then it can be placed inside the vagina up to eight hours before sex. Here’s how to do it so that it remains fully effective:
- Take care when taking the female condom out of the packet. Do not rip it on any jewellery, fingernails or sharp objects. Never open a condom with your teeth.
- Squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom between your finger and thumb.
- Using your finger and thumb, push the condom as far up into the vagina as possible. Make sure that the large ring covers the outside of the vagina.
- The outer ring should never go up in the vagina. If it does during sex, then stop and put it back in the right place.
- Make sure the penis enters the female condom and not between the condom and side of the vagina.
- After sex, slightly twist and pull to remove the condom. Be careful not to spill any semen then wrap the condom in tissue and dispose of it in a bin. Never flush it down the toilet.
It’s important to remember to use a new condom every time you have sex and to always check the expiry date on a condom. Never use an expired condom.
Sometimes Condoms can be unsuitable. If either partner has an allergy to the latex in male condoms, then using polyurethane condoms will lessen the chance of an allergic reaction.
Men who find it difficult to keep an erection should not use a male condom as the penis needs to be erect in order for the semen to remain inside the condom.
Condoms are available free to everyone, even those under 16, from the following places:
- Sexual health or GUM clinics
- Family planning clinics
- Selected GP surgeries
- Brook Advisory Centres (under 25’s only)
You can also buy condoms from:
- Vending machines in public toilets
When buying from a website, remember to buy from a legitimate pharmacist or legitimate retailer.
Always remember to check every condom comes with the European CE mark or British BSI Kitemark as it is a sign of quality assurance.
Should a condom ever break during sex, visit your GP or GUM clinic immediately to be tested for STIs. Women should also ensure against pregnancy by taking the emergency contraceptive pill (the morning after pill), which can be obtained from your GP and pharmacies.
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK