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Condoms are a barrier type of device used during sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies. While doing so, they also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, to name a few. As per statistics from the year 2016, AIDS is known to affect 2.16 million Indians, which is a very huge number. AIDS is contagious and maximally spreads through the sexual route of transmission. Since no known procedures are available to completely treat individuals affected by AIDS, it is highly important to prevent it by making the use of condoms. Many of you may be aware of these basic facts. But, do you know how to put on a condom to ensure its best efficiency? Did you know that female condoms are also available (with the same benefits)? And did you know condoms can actually increase your sexual pleasure? Read on to find out answers to many more such questions.

  1. What are condoms?
  2. What are condoms used for?
  3. Types of Condoms
  4. Best condoms
  5. Condoms Use
  6. Female condoms vs Male condoms
  7. How to wear female condoms?
  8. How safe are condoms?
  9. Doctors for Condoms: types, use, how to put on

Condom refers to a sheath-like device, which is used for protection during the act of sexual intercourse (sex). Protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis etc and contraception (birth control) are the primary reasons for using a condom.

Its use is thus suggested both by couples and individuals with multiple sex partners for different benefits. Condoms are a barrier type of contraceptive device and are the only birth control method, which also offer protection against STDs. However, it must be ensured to carefully dispose of it off after use, since they are rendered ineffective after a single use and can act as a medium of these infections.

As opposed to the common belief that condoms reduce sexual pleasure, some of them actually enhance your experience without having to worry about the after effects of sex. Condoms are thus an effective method of birth control and have thus been employed within family planning initiatives in India for population control. Condoms can be worn by both males and females, and different condoms are available for both the sexes based on their structural anatomy.

Condoms are used for protection from STDs and unwanted pregnancies during the act of sex. Here are some of the benefits of condom use:

  • Condoms prevent unwanted pregnancies
    Condoms are highly effective contraceptive agents. If used correctly, they are 98% effective against pregnancies, but practically, they are over 85% effective. Studies have shown that the lowest pregnancy rate can be achieved with the use of condoms as a barrier. You can improve the effectiveness of condoms to enhance the chances of contraception by precisely following the step by step insertion, as enlisted in the subsequent sections of this article.
  • Condoms prevent STDs
    In addition to being a birth control method, condoms help to avoid all sexually transmitted diseases, like syphilis, gonorrhea, genital warts and even AIDS. So, it is a good idea to use condoms, even if you rely on other methods of birth control. This will even enhance your chances of contraception since no known method guarantees a 100% success rate.
     
  • Condoms reduce the risk of cervical cancer
    Condoms are associated with a lower risk of cervical cancer by forming a barrier against the entry of HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus, which causes the disease.
  • Condoms have no side effects
    Other contraceptive measures, be it, oral contraceptives (birth control pill), the emergency pill (postcoital pill), injectable contraceptives, intrauterine device or implant contraceptives, have some or the other side effects. This can hamper your health. Birth control pills are known to interfere with the menstrual cycle (periods), due to which intermenstrual spotting (bleeding between two-period cycles) can occur. It can also have long-term side effects like weight gain or amenorrhea. Certain cases of increased susceptibility of women to develop stroke or heart attack have also been observed among women who regularly consume birth control pill. So, it can be easily said that condoms are the safest method of contraception.
     
  • Condoms are easy to use and carry, are readily available and painless
    Condoms are easily available over the counter and do not require a doctor’s prescription or consult, unlike other contraceptive methods. They are very comfortable and painless and can be easily carried anywhere by keeping them in your pocket.
     
  • Condoms are a reversible method of contraception
    If you and your partner are currently looking for contraception but might want to start your family soon, condoms might be your choice. They are completely temporary, reversible and do not affect your fertility or cause any delay in parturition once used. (Read more: infertility)
     
  • Condoms are cheap
    Compared to other methods of birth control, condoms are very cheap and you can even get them for free, following regular initiatives made by the Government of India to reduce STDs in the nation.
     
  • Condoms improve sex
    Currently, different varieties of condoms are available, which can actually improve the sexual experience or make you last longer, depending on the type of condom opted by you. Certain condoms enhance pleasure with their textured surface, whereas others are medicated to make sex last more; others are lubricated for a smooth hassle free process. Without worrying about any side effects or focusing on pulling out before the ejaculation time, you can actually enjoy good sex by making the use of a condom.

Different types of condoms are available and you can choose one for your best pleasure and comfort from the following list:

  • Regular condoms: are made of latex or polyurethane; most commonly available.
  • Thin condoms and Ultra-thin condoms: They are thinner than the regular condoms, thus offering better sensations.
  • Ribbed condoms: Fine ribs are added in these condoms for better stimulation of both the partners.
  • Flavored condoms having different synthetic added flavors: They are available in different flavors like mint, grape, chocolate, etc. and are best suitable for oral sex.
  • Safe condom or Spermicide condom: It has spermicide on its tip which further enhances its contraceptive actions, reducing the risk of pregnancy.
  • Large condoms: For a larger size of penis.
  • Small condoms: For a short, thin or small penis.
  • Customised condoms: They are custom-made for individuals who are unable to find the best fit or comfort with the commercially available condoms.
  • Ejaculation delayers: It contains substances (benzocaine) which reduce sensations at the tip and prolong the ejaculation time.
  • Strong condoms: They are thicker and less likely to tear or break.
  • Dotted condoms: They improve stimulation and enhance sexual pleasure.
  • Long lasting condoms: They contain products (like lubricants or benzocaine) which help in prolonging the duration of sex.
  • Textured condoms: They contain textures like dots or ribs, for added pleasure.
  • Lubricated condoms: They are pre-lubricated, which makes insertion easier. Sensations are also enhanced by the lubricant.
  • Non-latex condoms: They can be used by men allergic to latex.
  • Glow in the dark condoms: They are visible in the dark and can easily be used for night time sex
  • Vegan condoms: Free of animal products being used in the synthesis of condom.

Here are the best condom brands, which are easily available in India. You can choose one to your liking.

  • Durex Air ultra-thin condoms
  • Durex extra dotted condoms
  • Manforce ribbed dotted condoms
  • Manforce flavoured condoms
  • Kamasutra Skyn natural condoms
  • Kamasutra long last condoms
  • Moods condoms
  • Skore condoms
  • Playgard condoms
  • Carex condoms

Follow these steps to use a condom for the best protection and effectiveness:

  • Carefully open the packing, being cautious to not tear the condom with fingernails or an excessive force.
  • Avoid using teeth to open the packing, since it increases the chances of a tear.
  • Now hold the condom in your hands by placing it between your fingers and the thumb.
  • Place it over the tip of your erect (hard) penis. You need to pull back your foreskin first if you have not been circumscised.
  • If you notice a tweak of air, gently squeeze it out with your fingers and the thumb.
  • Gently roll the condom down towards the base of your penis.
  • If it does not roll down, you are holding it wrong and it needs to be discarded. Use a fresh condom and follow the steps carefully, in that case.
  • Ensure that the condom is perfectly rolled before sexual intercourse or coitus.
  • After coitus, hold the condom at the base, and carefully withdraw the penis while it is still erect at the time of ejaculation. Do not withdraw or pull out, without holding the condom from the base, since it could separate the condom from the penis and the contents (semen) are likely to spill.
  • Be careful at all times to not spill any semen, as this could hamper contraception.
  • Now, carefully dispose of the condom in the trash. Do not flush.

The male condom is designed to fit over an erect male penis, whereas the female condom is meant to be fitted into the vagina and it lines the vagina loosely. Both the types of condoms are made of slightly different materials to cater to the best comfort of the genders.

The male condom is usually made of very thin latex (rubber-like material) or polyurethane (plastic material), and the female condom is made of nitrile polymer (synthetic rubber). Both are highly effective contraceptive (birth control) devices and also offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases. However, the male condom is a slightly better contraceptive, offering 85% contraception, whereas the female condom offers 75%.

Couples are also known to alternate wearing the types, but, one must ensure that both are not simultaneously used. As opposed to the male condom which is worn during the act of sex over an erect penis, the female condom can be inserted before since it stays in place for longer times. This helps to avoid interruption during the act of sex. Pre-lubricated (female condoms) are also available commercially. But, due to better availability, better knowledge and cheaper price in our country, the male condom is more commonly used.

Just follow these simple steps for the best effectiveness of femidoms (female condoms):

  • Carefully open the packing, taking care to not tear the condom.
  • Place it in your hand and look for the two rings, the large ring and the small.
  • Now, spread your legs and sit comfortably.
  • Squeeze the smaller ring with your thumb and fingers to put it into the vagina.
  • Push it as far high up in the vagina as comfortable, with the help of your fingers. We urge you to be careful so that not you get hurt or the condom goes too deep inside.
  • Ensure that the small ring is comfortably and completely inside your vagina.
  • Now, look for the larger ring at the open end of the condom. It should be covering the area around your vagina, as it functions to protect it.
  • Make sure it stays there in position and is not turned around or twisted.
  • You can perform this procedure and insert femidoms well before the act of sex, but you and your partner need to ensure that the penis goes right within the condom in the covered area and does not get stuck between the condom and sides of the vagina.
  • After coitus, carefully remove the condom by pulling and twisting the large ring surrounding your vagina.
  • Ensure that the semen does not leak through.
  • Finally, dispose off in a bin.

Condoms are absolutely safe and anyone can easily use them. They pose no serious side effects or threats to your sexual or general health. However, some people can be allergic to latex, which might cause some kind of irritation or discomfort in them. Such individuals can opt for polyurethane condoms, which offer the same strength and protection. Natural condoms are also available, but are found to be ineffective in protecting against STDs.

Some individuals suggest reduced sexual pleasure and sensitivity during the act of sex while using condoms. In these cases, ultrathin or textured condoms may be tried, which are highly stimulating and offer the same protection.

Some men also feel that putting a condom during the act of sex acts as a disturbance and interrupts the natural process. Some of them also state that they do not feel as aroused and erect after putting on a condom, due to the lapse in time. We suggest the use of femidoms (female condoms) for such couples, since they can be inserted well before the act of sex and are known to stay in place. They are almost as effective and endurant as male condoms and make for good alternatives. However, it must be ensured that both male and female condoms are not worn at the same time. This can cause rupture of the condoms and increase your risk.

(Read more: Erectile dysfunction)

Sometimes, condoms may also fall off or tear, which increases the risk of pregnancy or transmission of STDs. This occurs due to improper placement or use of an excessive force. To avoid this, we suggest you to follow the prescribed steps carefully and use a right lubricant. Water based lubricants should be preferred with male condoms, which smoothen the movements and avoid tearing. Use of oil-based lubricants like vaseline or petroleum jelly should always be avoided to prevent breakage or damage of the condom.

Failure of condoms have also been reported in certain cases where the condom is correctly placed, but conception still occurs. This is more common with the use of expired or unfit condoms. To avoid this, you must always check the expiry date of the condom before use. You must also take care to store it at room temperature, which is neither too hot nor too cold. Care must be taken to prevent it from heat, moisture or direct sunlight as this can damage it. Never reuse a condom or use two condoms at a time to avoid failure.

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Sexology
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Tarun

Dr. Tarun

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

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