New Year, New Attitude:
17 Tips About Condoms to Help You Ditch the Stigma In 2017!
Condoms: Casanova loved them, and so can you. Did you know that he used to check every single condom himself? Yep, it’s true: the first-ever-recorded condom-quality-control, rumor has it that he would blow them up like balloons before using them to make sure there weren’t any holes. Why would he do this? Probably because he valued safety, and also because he’d have, like, a hundred babies if he didn’t. Unfortunately, while many look up to Casanova for his womanizing, his safe-sex practices get overlooked. This might have to do with the fact that for the thousands of years that condoms have existed, early condoms made of linen, sheep intestines, and even animal horns lay the groundwork for people to have a stigma larger than a Durex XXL. Since the 1800s, condoms that were as thick as bicycle tire tubes seem to be what everyone imagines when they think of how condoms feel, despite the fact that nowadays there’s hundreds of choices, including microthin and non-latex. In honor of the New Year, it’s time to develop a New Attitude towards condoms in 2017. The reality is that using a condom is not only one of the safest ways to have sex, but can also enhance a sexual experience, and totally be fun while doing it!
Wearing a condom helps you and your partner prevent STIs, in addition to pregnancy. According to Planned Parenthood, “If you use condoms perfectly every single time you have sex, they’re 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. But people aren’t perfect, so in real life condoms are about 82% effective.” 82% is still pretty OK, but 98% is way better, and it’s important to wear a condom every time you have sex – especially if it’s your only method of birth control, and pregnancy isn’t quite on the menu just yet.
Here are some tips to stay safe and have fun:
- Wearing only one condom at a time – this means don’t wear a condom on your penis while your partner is wearing one in their vagina, or vice versa.
- Do NOT reuse your condom after wearing it; for round two, put on a new condom.
- Condoms aren’t only recommended for penis-in-vagina sex: condoms should be worn during anal as well, and yes, even during oral.
- If you and your partner are fluid-bonded – meaning your sex is bare skinned – you should either have another form of birth control, like the pill, or you should have both been tested for STIs. Fluid-bonded partners may choose to skip protection during oral, anal, or PIV sex, but many actually still use condoms from time to time just for fun!
- Don’t be afraid to ask, and especially don’t be afraid to say no if your partner won’t wear a condom. Your health and safety are important; before committing to having sex, if you don’t have a condom, ask if they do. If your partner doesn’t have one or refuses to use one, don’t feel bad if you refuse to have sex with them. Be comfortable and confident – condoms are a big deal! Besides, if you don’t have one, nobody said that late-night condom runs to the convenience store have to be embarrassing, and it definitely doesn’t have to be a mood killer; what’s embarrassing about having safe sex? Just grab a condom and get back in the mood!
- How can condoms be fun if you’re not Casanova? Well, remember that saying that “variety is the spice of life?” The old adage applies to condoms, too. Have fun experimenting with your partner by trying out new textures, new materials, and new flavors, and try combining them with lubes, toys, and more! If you don’t like condoms because of how they feel, consider trying a different kind – or many kinds!
- Maybe the condoms you’ve got in your dresser drawer feel just a little too thick – try microthin! Microthin condoms can be just as strong and effective as regular condoms, but the same care should be taken to make sure that they are free of holes, and fit you properly.
- The last thing you or your partner wants is to lose a condom due to it rolling off or breaking during sex, so make sure it fits properly. The base of the condom should be just snug enough to stay put, but not so tight that it cuts off blood flow, or rolls off.
- Alternatively, it should not be too loose – if it’s too big, the condom might come off, thus rendering it completely useless (and not fun, either).
- Think condoms look funny? Hey, maybe they do, but looks aren’t the point. This is why some people can’t bring themselves to use vaginal condoms: condoms worn inside the vagina hang out around the outside, covering the labia majora. Deterred by the funny look of these types of condoms, many a couple have missed out on how great a vaginal condom actually feels. In fact, many people boast that it feels closer to “nothing-at-all” than any penis condom they’ve tried! Additionally, a vaginal condom provides more of a barrier from STI’s, because it covers more surface area, which in itself is an awesome reason to give them a shot. Vaginal condoms are also a great way for us vagina having people to protect ourselves! Remember not to wear an internal condom at the same time as an external condom, though – the friction of the two can cause them to tear; it’s not “double the safety,” it’s extra risk!
- Not sure which condom is right for you? Reviews are your friend! A quick google search of the condom you’re interested in can help you determine if it will fit right and if you will enjoy how it feels, based on others who have used it. Reading reviews has helped my partner and I many times over. Are you or your partner sensitive to some condoms and lubes, like I am? If so, then it’s extra worth it to read reviews and learn from simple trial-and-error, to find out which condom is the best fit for you both.
- A condom should not leave any itching, burning, or generally uncomfortable feelings. This is a sign that you need to try something different. Definitely don’t continue using something that is painful; i’m no medical professional, so if the discomfort persists, please make an appointment to see your doctor!
- No latex for you? That’s no excuse! The good news is that some of the best condoms out there are non-latex! Non-latex condoms tend to feel more realistic, closer to bare skin, and are luckily readily available. Of course it’s all about personal preference and finding what works best for you – so don’t be shy, give non-latex a try!
- Get that condom out of your wallet! Condoms have expiration dates so be sure to check those every once in awhile, especially if your condoms are used infrequently. Besides the possibility of expiration, leaving condoms in your wallet or pocket for prolonged periods of time (think: weeks, months, years) can lead to the condom being worn down and increases the risk of it breaking, even if it is sealed in the package. This should be extra incentive to use it, right?
- Talk to your partner – communication is key when it comes to sex, and condom use is no exception! Work together to find the right condom – communicating with one another and having fun experimenting will send your sexual relationship to the next level.
- Lube it up! Ranging far beyond just tingly or flavored, lubes are a great way to make things a little more personal. Make sure your lube is not oil based before using it with your condom, and then experiment away! Finding that magical combination of just-the-right-condom with just-the-right-lube is a great excuse to have more sex, more fun, and wear more condoms.
- Are you someone who still can’t get over the fact that condoms just look funny? Lighten up a little bit – laughter during sex is a great way to bond with your partner, and being protected while you do it is even better.
Celebrate the new year, new you, and your new attitude! Grab your partner, put on a condom, and put that resolution to “exercise more” into practice!