We at Women's Health Practice advocate always practice safe sex, and for most people, that means using a condom during intercourse. But, what’s frightening is that only 5% of men around the world actually use a condom, which is really low, considering the goal is 100%. Not wearing a condom can put you at risk for not only getting pregnant, but also a slew of STDs. It’s better to protect again these STDs during intercourse, instead of relying on treatment after the fact. Even Olympians know this to be true, as Olympic athletes were stocked up with 100,000 condoms in the South Korea games. So if condoms are an easy way to prevent pregnancy and spreading STDs, why aren’t more men wearing them?
Allergy to latex. Most condoms are made from latex, and so strapping one on can appear to cause problems if one is allergic to latex. However, latex condoms aren’t the only condoms on the market. There are actually 4 condoms available for purchase: latex, polyurethane, lambskin (actually lamb intestines), and female condoms. So, allergies shouldn’t be an excuse!
Don’t want to affect the sex. This is a reason some men use in order to justify not wearing a condom, but surveys show that sex is just as enjoyable with the condom on. So, you can both enjoy safe sex while also knowing that aren’t going to get an STD or unwanted pregnancy. (That should make up for the supposed difference).
Assuming women are always on birth control. While many women use some form of birth control, it’s never a safe to assume that your partner has the protection side covered. In fact, it’s best if both partners use some form of protection in order to prevent pregnancy. Additionally, birth control won’t stop an STD from spreading, so it’s still recommended that a condom is used.
Another reason some men might be deterred from using a condom is because they’ve had a bad experience using one in the past. But that doesn’t mean one should abandon condoms all together. There are ways to increase a condom’s effectiveness. Here are some examples:
Don’t always choose generic. Consider the texture, size, thin/thickness, material, lubrication, and many other factors different brands of condoms can offer. Test the waters to see what you might like.
Check the expiration date.
Be warry about the environment you are keeping your condoms. Try to keep them away from extreme temperatures and out of the sunlight for extended periods of time.
Don’t open the wrapper with something sharp.
Squeeze the air out of the tip before putting one on.
Keep the condom rolled up when putting one on.
Make sure the condom is completely on before engaging in penetration (so not room left at the tip).
Stray away from using any oil-based lubricant, as they can alter a condom’s effectiveness.
Use them EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX! A condom only works best when it is worn 100% of the time.
The list could go on, but the main takeaway: learn how to use a condom and then always use one. Condoms are an easy, cost efficient ways to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Better to be safe now than be sorry and regret things later.
PS: Even if you take all of these protective measures and the condom still breaks, don’t panic. If the condom breaks, you have up to 5 days to encourage your partner to use the emergency contraceptive pill. If you have any more questions, contact your primary care physician!