This article first appeared on PublicHouse.sg.
Think of coverings that protect you from inclement weather – whether it’s a raincoat, umbrella, or jacket. Now think of sex. What do you think of?
That’s right. I am talking about condoms. The questions below are some of the most commonly asked questions I receive about one of the most common contraceptive methods – the prophylactic for males.
What must I look out for when buying a condom?
You may wish to look out for the size of the condom, to ensure a better fit. Most quality condom brands indicate the size of the condom on the box. Some safety precautions include checking if the box is sealed and that the expiration date is at least six months from your date of purchase.
How do you know if the condom is right for a man?
He may wish to measure the length of his penis with a ruler, followed by the girth with a tape measure around the base. These two dimensions will give you a better idea of what type of condoms you should be getting. Besides putting on the condom properly, the effectiveness of a condom and the sexual pleasure possible is largely dependent on getting a correct fit.
But aren’t condoms extremely stretchable?
While it is true that condoms can stretch to many times their normal size, men with larger penises may experience condom breakage more frequently than men with typical or smaller-sized penises. In addition, if a condom is too short, some STIs (sexually-transmitted infections) could be transmitted between the exposed part of the penis and the partner.
What if his penis curves at an angle?
It is normal for penises to have some curvature. Having some curvature does not mean you need a special kind of condom. Latex is very thin and flexible, so any kind of condom will work just as well for men with curvature as they will for men without.
What are some precautions to note when putting on a condom?
A lot of guys tend to put their condoms in their pockets, wallet or the glove compartment in their car out of convenience. They do not always realise that the heat from the vehicle or wallet can compromise the quality of the condom. Condoms kept in pockets or wallets may be more likely to tear due to the friction caused by rubbing during sitting and walking.
Do you still need to use a condom if she is on birth control pills?
The Pill is an effective method of birth control when used properly. However, it does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, as the condom can. Some women are prone to yeast and vaginal infections and condoms can ease related anxieties, helping to make sex even better. Even couples in monogamous relationships I know continue using condoms because of the convenience in cleaning up afterwards. There are so many types of condoms on the market – textured, flavoured, etc. – which are just as safe as the plain ones. I am certain you will be able to find a one good for you.
Can I use the condom in water?
Condoms are perfectly safe to use in water. Having sex in water can be tricky because the lubrication (whether vaginal or from the condom) tends to get rinsed away. Without enough lubrication, the friction can cause the condom to break. Therefore, you may wish to use silicon-based lubricants which do not rinse away as easily, yet are perfectly safe when used with latex. Also, it is easier to put your condom and lubricant on when outside of water.
What is going on? I feel a burning sensation after using a condom!
Check for a latex allergy. There are other types of condoms on the market which are for those allergic to latex. For instance, Durex Avanti is for those allergic to latex. Are you using a thick condom? Extra thick condoms really don’t provide any extra protection. So using regular or ultra-thin is just fine.
With perfect use, condoms are highly effective, around 98%. Be safe and remember to wear your “raincoat”.
Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.