Male Condoms 101

A condom is a physical barrier that can be fitted around the penis (male condom) or inserted into the vagina (female condoms) before sexual intercourse to prevent semen and other bodily fluids from entering the vagina. Condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If worn correctly, sexual intercourse can be very enjoyable and stimulating. In this article, we will focus on the most common types of condoms in the market - male condoms. 

Types of condoms 

The most common type of condoms on the market is latex condoms. However, there are other types of materials out there, including plastic and lambskin, which are suited for those who are allergic to latex. Both latex and plastic condoms can prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies; for condoms made out of lambskin, they are less effective against STDs and pregnancies. Other types of condoms include textured, flavoured, spermicide-coated, ultra-thin, and even ones coated with a specially formulated lubricant to produce a tingling sensation. You may want to shop around in order for you to decide which condoms best suit your preferences, lifestyles, and needs. 

How effective are condoms

Condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancies and STDs. When used correctly, they are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Condoms also reduce the chances of getting an STD, such as HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea; in fact, the likelihood of getting HIV is almost 100%. It is not as effective in protecting against human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common STD worldwide, but nevertheless provides some protection at the very least. 

How to fit a condom

The size of the condom matters. Depending on the size of your penis, a condom that is too loose or too small may cause the condom to slip or break, which reduces the effectiveness of the condom. In order to know what size suits you best, you should measure your own penis when it is erect. If you measure your penis when it is flaccid, the chances of getting a size too small are much higher. You will need to measure not only the length of your penis, but also the girth of your penis. To measure the length, use a ruler and start from the base to the tip of your erect penis. To measure the girth, use a measuring tape or a string and wrap around the widest part of the shaft of your penis. 

How to wear a condom
  1. Open the wrapper of the condom. Try to avoid using your teeth as it may tear the condom.

  2. Place condom on the tip of your erect penis

  3. Pinch air out of the tip of the condom

  4. Unroll condom over the shaft of your penis all the way to the base

  5. Make sure it’s not inside out before penetration

  6. At this point, if your condom is not lubricated, you may want to apply some water-based lubricant

  7. Before pulling out, hold the condom at the base of your penis

  8. As you pull out, keep your hand at the base of your penis

  9. Remove the condom, tie a knot over it and discard it properly

  10. Do not reuse a used condom!

Condom Tips
  1. Most condoms fit an average sized penis. However, you can get a condom fitted correctly by measuring your penis!

  2. Remember to use enough lubrication. Avoid using oil-based lubricant as it may break down the latex and reduce the effectiveness of condoms

  3. Do not use expired condoms

  4. Use a new condom every time you engage in a different sex act

  5. Ensure you have extra condoms in your wallet or pockets if you have sex regularly

  6. Get adventurous - try out different types of condoms

Stealthing

Stealthing is the act of removing a condom prior to penetration without the partner’s consent. It is recognised as rape under law in many countries. Last year, the state of California became the first state in the United States of America (USA) to make stealthing an illegal act. In recent years, with the advocacy of various LGBTQ and women’s rights groups, there has been greater awareness of it as a non-consensual sexual act. This issue was explored in the highly popular British TV miniseries “I May Destroy You” starring Michaela Coel. Countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Canada have successfully prosecuted men accused of stealthing. Victims of stealthing (which can occur to both men and women) may feel traumatised from the experience. It also puts victims at risk of STDs. For women, it can also lead to an unwanted pregnancy. If you have been a victim of stealthing, know your rights and reach out to someone you can trust or a sexual support group.

Image by Deon Black