Safety is the name of the game right now—from wearing masks to carrying around hand sanitizer when you go outside. And if you still consider yourself sexually active these days (congratulations!), then that calls for its own kind of protection.
Chances are that you have some condoms tucked away for safety—you need to do it right, after all. Used correctly, condoms are an effective way of protecting yourself and your partner. But do you really know everything there is to know about the latex keeping you safe? Here are a few questions you may have asked yourself, but forgot to Google:
Are two condoms better than one?
You may be thinking, “A second condom should make intercourse foolproof, right?” Hold on. It’s actually quite the opposite: It makes your condoms prone to tearing! Condoms are typically made of latex—imagine all the friction if two were to rub up against each other. We can guarantee that it isn’t going to be pleasant down there.
How easily do condoms break?
They rarely do, considering the amount of testing (see: electric shock and air bursts) condoms go through. Most cases of condoms breaking are due to improper use, so you should make sure to put it on properly, be extra careful about sharp nails and teeth, and use lots of water-based lubricant if you can (and never oil-based, which can wear down latex). If the condom doesn’t roll all the way down, it’s probably inside out—don’t try turning it around and rolling it the other way, because there could already be sperm on it.
What should I do if a condom breaks?
Abort mission—or at least, until after you’ve assessed the situation. If the breakage happened earlier on, and there’s no semen or pre-ejaculate involved, then you could actually roll on a new one and keep going. If there is some present, however, you may want to call it quits and talk to your partner about doing the Yuzpe Method of emergency contraception or doing a medical test as soon as possible, whether it’s for a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) or a pregnancy.
Where is the best place to keep my condoms?
The short answer: Not your wallet, your back pocket, your bag, or your car’s glove compartment. We all want to be prepared when opportunity comes, but if you remember what we said about friction, all that movement could wear out your condom and cause it to tear—even if the packaging looks fine on the outside. Store your condoms in a cool, dry place like your bedside drawer and make sure to check the box’s expiry date.
How bad an idea is it to use an expired condom?
Pretty bad. Condoms have a 98% effectiveness when you do everything right, but that drops significantly once their expiry date has come and gone because the latex can become more brittle and prone to breakage. While an expired condom is still better than none at all, it’s best to be responsible and keep your supply up to date—for your sake and your partner’s.
Do condoms really reduce pleasure?
That depends on you. Your mindset is half the battle when it comes to having a good time, and if you go into it prioritizing pleasure over protection, then condoms may indeed reduce the sensations you feel during intercourse. But here’s a fun fact: Condoms can make you last longer before orgasm, meaning a bigger payoff for you and much more time for your partner to enjoy.
That said, staying safe will always be important when it comes to anything to do with your health, sex included. It’s especially true in these times. And when you think about it, using a condom (or any contraceptive) is about more than just protection—it’s a simple show of respect and consideration for your partner.
It’s the right thing to do, so it’s best to do it right: Be informed, be responsible, and of course, equip yourself with the right tools. TRUST has affordable contraceptive products to help keep you and your partner safe from infections and unwanted pregnancies—from condoms and lubricants to pills and injectables. With its high quality and availability all across the country, TRUST is your partner to doing it right.
Got any more questions you’ve always wanted to ask about sex and reproductive health? Head over to Do It Right!, a website specially made to help you explore these important topics without any judgment. You can also follow Do It Right! on Facebook to know more about the campaign: Do It Right! Do it with TRUST Reproductive Health Choices.