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Condom dos and don’ts

12 November 2013, 09:10

Condoms are to sex what seatbelts are to driving cars: while they’re never 100% safe, they’re probably the most effective, simplest and cheapest way to protect you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And as an added bonus - unlike seatbelts - they help prevent pregnancies as well.

Take a look at this guide on condom use. Every guy should master this skill. And once you’ve got the basics down, there are several issues you should be aware of:

Condom dos:

  • Only ever use silicone or water based lubricants such as KY Jelly, both on the inside and the outside of condoms. Extra lubricant is a good idea since it helps to stop condoms from getting too dry and tearing.
  • Store your condoms in a dry, cool place, but not in your fridge – that’s too cold.
  • Always check the expiry date - yes, condoms have them too - as they tend to become dry, brittle and weakened with age.
  • Put the condom on your erect penis before any sexual contact with your partner.
  • Find a condom that fits you. If it’s too small, it’s probably constantly near breaking point and if it is too big, chances are it will slip off in mid-action. Try on different makes and models to find out which works best for you.
  • Before unrolling a condom onto your erect penis, carefully squeeze the tip between your thumb and index fingers (watch those sharp fingernails though) to allow for enough space to catch the semen and prevent air from getting trapped.
  • Use a new condom every time. This is one instance where recycling is not advisable.
  • Use a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex - for the latter, try one of those flavoured ones – but make sure to replace the used condom with a new one every time you swap from one to the other.
  • Be careful with body piercings and make sure they don’t puncture or damage the condom.
  • Do use condoms together with other contraceptive methods such as the pill or a diaphragm. Going “Double Dutch” means being extra safe.
  • To prevent spillage after sex, hold the condom in place at the base of the penis as you withdraw.
  • Wrap used condoms in a tissue and throw them into a trash bin. Nobody enjoys stepping onto a gooey, used condom.

Condom don’ts

  • Never use condoms that are past their expiration date, look damaged, feel sticky or just don’t seem quite right.
  • Don’t use animal-skin condoms. They don’t protect against STDs. If you are allergic to conventional latex condoms, use ones made out of polyurethane, a type of plastic.
  • Never expose condoms to direct heat (e.g. your back pocket or your car’s glove box) or light (e.g. a hot lamp or direct sunlight) and don’t keep them near hard objects (e.g. coins in your wallet, keys in your pocket, or nail clippers in your toiletries bag).
  • Don’t use your teeth, fingernails, scissors, or any other sharp objects to open condom wrappers and make sure you do it in sufficient light to be able to see that the condom isn’t damaged while you remove it from the wrapper and put it on.
  • Never use lubricants that contain oils, fat or grease such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline®), baby oil, hand or body lotions and creams, cooking oil, massaging lotion or sun cream. They can damage condoms by creating tiny holes and tears.
  • Don’t unroll the condom or blow air into it before putting it on – it will no longer be reliable.
  • Don’t use more than one condom on your penis at the same time.
  • Don’t use male and female condoms at the same time – they may stick to each other and slip off.
  • Don’t flush condoms down the toilet. They have a nasty habit of clogging up pipes and ending up on our beaches.

(Andrew Luyt, Health24)


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