The use of condoms is an effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies. However, misuse can significantly reduce their efficacy. Do you know how to use a condom correctly?
Nowadays, sexuality is an increasingly significant part of life, especially among teens and young adults. It may be a source of curiosity, questions, and even worry. Adopting sound and safe attitudes and practices with regard to sexuality early in life contributes to a person’s development and helps maintain good health. Without adequate protection, sexual intercourse can lead to health problems, sometimes benign and temporary, but sometimes more serious and permanent. One of the best ways of preventing such problems is to use a condom.
Choosing a condom
There is a great variety of condoms available on the market, and choosing the right one may be difficult. Latex condoms are most commonly used. If you’re allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms are an effective choice for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms made from a natural membrane such as sheepskin is not the best choice as they do not protect against certain diseases, such as HIV.
Choosing the right size is also important. A too-large condom may slip off during intercourse. If it’s too small, it can cause discomfort and may tear. Trying on different brands and sizes will help you find the one that suits you best.
Using a condom
Follow the 10 rules below to ensure the safe use of condoms:
- Store your condoms in a place sheltered from the heat, cold, light, and humidity.
- Check the expiry date of the condom before use. Don’t use if the date is past.
- Don’t use your teeth or nail to tear the package.
- Before using the condom, check its appearance. If it is fragile, sticky or damaged, throw it out and use another one.
- Avoid contact between the penis and your partner’s mouth, genitals or anus before putting on the condom.
- Pinch the end of the condom when you put it on to leave space for the sperm.
- If you unroll the condom in the wrong direction, throw it out and use another one.
- Avoid oil or petroleum-based lubricants such as Vaseline.
- Use a condom for each act of intercourse or when you change the type of intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal) during the same encounter.
- Hold the condom firmly at the base of the penis when you remove it. The best time to remove the condom is immediately following ejaculation, when the penis is still erect.
After using a condom
Following sexual intercourse, wrap the condom in paper tissue and throw it in the garbage. Don’t throw it into the toilet. If the condom failed in some way (for example, if it tears), speak with your pharmacist, who can suggest options for reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
If you would like to stop using condoms, you and your partner should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, you will have to consider another means of birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
You may feel embarrassed to discuss sexual issues with a healthcare professional. However, your pharmacist is both available and knowledgeable, making him a valuable and reliable source of healthcare advice. Pharmacists are used to discussing a wide range of topics with their customers, including sexual issues. If you need to discuss matters of a more personal nature with your pharmacist, feel free to suggest speaking in his private office. That way, you can ask your questions and seek his advice in complete discretion and confidentiality!