Exploring the Safest Condoms and Their Proper Use

When seeking protection against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) without the need for a prescription, condoms emerge as a discreet, cost-effective, and hormone-free option available at your nearest convenience or drug store. If you’re curious about the safest condoms on the market, here’s a comprehensive guide.

How do condoms prevent pregnancy?

Condoms create a barrier between partners during sexual activity, preventing skin and bodily fluids from coming into contact. This barrier serves as an effective means of preventing both pregnancy and the transmission of STIs.

Two main types of condoms are available:

  1. Male condoms:

Worn on the penis during oral, vaginal, or anal sex, male condoms are usually made from latex or polyurethane. They come in various options, including lubricated or non-lubricated, with or without spermicide. When used correctly, male condoms offer 98% protection against pregnancy. However, with typical usage, their effectiveness drops to 85%.

  1. Female condoms:

Fitting inside the vagina or anus, female condoms are typically made of polyurethane or nitrile. They tend to be more expensive than male condoms. When used correctly, female condoms are approximately 95% effective, but with typical usage, their effectiveness drops to about 79%.

Which condoms are best at preventing STIs?

For protection against STIs transmitted through fluids, male condoms made from latex, polyisoprene, or polyurethane are the most reliable. These condoms can protect against infections such as HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. However, STIs like herpes and genital warts that spread through skin-to-skin contact may not be completely covered by condoms.

It’s essential to note that while condoms made from lambskin or natural materials protect against pregnancy, they may not offer full protection against all STIs due to their porous nature.

Top-rated condoms to consider:

Condom effectiveness depends on the material and application, making specific brands not inherently safer than others. Here are some top-rated condoms with their unique features:

  1. Trojan ENZ: A lubricated latex condom known for its classic design and added safety with a reservoir tip.
  1. Durex Extra Sensitive: An ultrathin condom coated with extra lube for heightened sensitivity.
  1. LifeStyles SKYN: Made from polyisoprene, this condom is marketed as the “closest thing to wearing nothing” and is available in various varieties.
  1. Trojan Her Pleasure: A ribbed and contoured latex condom designed to enhance the female experience during sex.
  1. FC2 Female Condom: Made from polyurethane, this female condom is comfortable and suitable for those with latex allergies.

Proper condom use:

To maximize a condom’s effectiveness, it is crucial to use it correctly. Remember, condoms are for one-time use only, so always use a new one for each sexual encounter. Here’s how to use both male and female condoms:

Male condoms:

  1. Carefully open the package, avoiding any tearing with your teeth.
  2. Pinch the tip of the condom to leave room for ejaculate.
  3. Place the condom on the erect penis and unroll it down the shaft with your other hand.
  4. Consider adding water-based lubricant to reduce friction.
  5. After intercourse, hold the base of the condom as you remove it to prevent spills and slipping.

Female condoms:

  1. Open the package carefully, avoiding tearing with your teeth.
  2. Squeeze the first ring and insert it fully into the vagina, similar to a tampon.
  3. Keep the second ring outside the vagina, covering the vulva.
  4. After sex, squeeze the outer ring and gently remove the condom.

What to do if the condom breaks:

Stay calm if a condom breaks during use. Discuss potential next steps with your partner. If concerned about pregnancy and not on any other birth control, emergency contraception like Plan B One-Step is available without a prescription, ID, or age restriction. It should be taken within three days for maximum effectiveness.

For added protection, consider using a backup method like birth control pills or an intrauterine device (IUD) alongside condoms. Remember, condoms do not protect against STIs, so regular testing is essential, especially if you suspect exposure to an infected partner.

In conclusion, condoms are a reliable and affordable option for safe sex. Always prioritize correct usage and explore different types to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Remember to engage in open communication with your partner about your chosen protection methods for a healthy and secure sexual experience.