Think about the last conversation you had about latex condoms: what were people saying? Were they talking about the important role they can play in sexual health or was it something else entirely? And how sure are you that it was accurate? Well, let’s do some fact checking today!
There is so much information at our fingertips these days, but even with that being the case condoms still sometimes get a bad rap. But it’s time to unwrap and lay it all on the table – here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about condoms.
The Basics: Form and Function
Myth 1: Condoms can easily slip off or break.
This is a shockingly common myth, so we thought we’d tackle this one first. The thin look and feel of condoms can be a bit misleading. Condoms have been engineered for generations to be flexible, durable and form-fitting. They are closely regulated and constantly tested to ensure quality. In fact, they are classified as medical devices under the FDA.
When used consistently (every time you have sex) and correctly (avoiding common condom use mistakes), condoms are up to 99% effective. This includes using the condom from start to finish, using only condom compatible lubricants (any oil-based products will break a latex condom), and using the correct size condom.
Breakage and slippage are more likely to occur if you are using a condom that doesn’t fit correctly. Imagine wearing the wrong size shoes: too big and they’ll slip off, or too small and they might rip. If you’ve ever had trouble with the standard condom sizes, check out MyONE® Custom Fit™! MyONE offers 52 sizes of premium lubricated condoms in sizes snugger and large than any other brand.
Myth 2: When it comes to condoms, the more the merrier.
But surely more layers means more protection right? Actually, quite the opposite. Putting on more than one condom actually increases the risk of condom failure. Multiple condoms means that the two or more layers of latex are rubbing against each other, creating friction and therefore, the likelihood that one or both of the condoms can break. If you are concerned about added protection from unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, you can talk to a sexual health professional or your doctor about adding a birth control option, vaccination series or daily medication to your sexual health arsenal.
Myth 3: Condoms can only be used for penis-in-vagina sex.
Condoms are much more versatile than that! Condoms are incredibly effective at preventing unintended pregnancy and STIs when used correctly during penis-in-vagina sex. However, condoms can also be used during oral sex and anal sex. This is important because STIs can still be transmitted through oral and anal sex with the exchange of bodily fluids, and condoms can help provide protection while you and your partners enjoy a smorgasbord of sexual experiences. And ONE® Condoms is the first and only condom brand to date to receive official FDA approval for use during anal sex. Pretty impressive right? We have a few blog posts on this topic if you want to read further!
Myth 4: If you have a latex allergy, you can’t use condoms.
This is false! Although most condoms are made with latex, the number of non-latex condom options on the market is growing. Condoms made from polyurethane and polyisoprene are just as effective at preventing STIs and pregnancies as latex condoms. The FC2 internal condom (female condom) is also non-latex because it is made of nitrile. Lambskin condoms are also non-latex; however, and important note is they only protect against unintended pregnancy, not sexually transmitted infections. If you are still having a reaction, discuss your allergy with a sexual health professional or your doctor to find your best option.
The Perks: Pleasure and Performance
Myth 5: Condoms can be used with any type of lubricant.
Definitely not! Though lube has been shown to decrease the risk of breakage and increase sexual pleasure, latex condoms cannot be used with any sort of oil-based lotion, creme or lubricant (including Vaseline, baby oil, moisturizing lotion). These cause damage to the latex and increase the risk of breakage. The best thing to use is water and/or silicone based lubricants, which can be found at most major drug stores and at ONEcondoms.com! These are compatible with latex condoms and can be used however generously you like, but remember: a little goes a long way.
Myth 6: Condoms don’t protect against pregnancy.
Condoms can absolutely be a great addition to your family planning efforts, in addition to other forms of contraception. Fun fact: some institutions (big ones, such as the Catholic Church) have historically prohibited condoms on the basis of contraception, that’s how effective they can be. By collecting bodily fluids like pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-cum) or semen (seminal fluid with sperm), the use of condoms during penis-in-vagina sex can drastically prevent the likelihood of unplanned pregnancy. And that is the beauty of the barrier method!
Myth 7: Condoms don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
While STIs are nothing to be embarrassed about, we want to actively prevent them from spreading. Condoms are very effective for added protection from many of the bacterial and viral infections ranging from HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Getting tested regularly and practicing other forms of safe sex will further reduce your risk of contracting anything.
Myth 8: Condoms reduce comfort and don’t feel good.
Of course, pleasure and sensation are subjective, but using the right condom can enhance those feelings! There are a few factors that go into this. There are the broader categories like external/standard condoms (formerly male condoms) and internal condoms (formerly female condoms). There are several different types of condoms out there that are designed to actually increase pleasure, such as those with different textures, ultra thin, flavored, and extra lubricated! As we’ve also already mentioned, condoms are certainly not one size fits all, so squeezing and general discomfort can be avoided by wearing the correct sized condom. Check some of those out here in our recent blog post about different types of condoms and purchase in our web shop by clicking here! After all, we like to think that there’s ONE® for everyone.
Now that those have been debunked, did you learn something new?
Looking for more advice on how to use condoms correctly? From checking the expiration date for what to do once your sexual experience is over and you want to dispose of the condom, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to check out our handy tips and tricks, and read more via UNFPA. Here’s to getting sexually active powered with knowledge!