When you become sexually active, whether for the first time ever or the first time with a new partner, it’s important to talk about contraception. After the birth control pill, male condoms are one of the most commonly used (and easily accessed) contraceptive methods. You can buy condoms at any drugstore or even get them for free at family-planning and other medical clinics.
Unfortunately, despite being 98% effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy and many STIs, there are a lot of myths about condoms that make people hesitant to use them. It may be a simple case of misinformation, or someone may claim one of these myths is true to talk you out of using a condom. For the sake of your sexual and reproductive health, let’s debunk some of the most common myths that circulate about condoms, so you can make an informed decision.
Myth #1: Sex isn’t as good with a condom.
You may have heard some men, or even women, claim that sex doesn’t feel as good when wearing a condom. The truth is, knowing you’re protected against STIs and unplanned pregnancy will make sex a more enjoyable experience for both of you. If you or your partner feel discomfort when having sex with a condom, it is likely an issue of size, wearing it incorrectly, or needing additional lubrication.
Myth #2: Condoms are one-size-fits-all.
Speaking of size, there is some confusion out there about available and correct condom sizes. Not all penises are the same size, which means it is possible for some condoms to be too tight or some to be too loose. Standard latex condoms can stretch to fit any penis—so don’t let anyone tell you they’re too big to wear one. However, if your partner is well-endowed, a regular-sized condom may fit but feel tight or uncomfortable. When a condom is too tight, it is at greater risk of breaking. If this is the case, you should research which size and brand will work best for their measurements.
Myth #3: Two condoms provides double the protection.
Some people mistakenly assume that doubling up on condoms offers an extra barrier against unwanted pregnancy and STIs. In reality, “double bagging” actually puts you at more risk. Two condoms on top of each other create friction that makes one or both more likely to tear. This applies to two male condoms as well as a male and a female condom. One condom is all you need.
Myth #4: Condoms can break easily.
As mentioned earlier, when used correctly, condoms are effective at preventing pregnancy 98% of the time and also provide protection against STIs. However, hearing horror stories about the other 2% of the time has led some people to believe that it is common for condoms to have holes in them or break during sex. The truth is that condom manufacturing has to meet FDA industry standards for Class II Medical Devices. This means that they are tested for defects and the manufacturer’s testing process is inspected by the FDA for quality assurance on a regular basis. Condoms are strong, you just have to be careful when putting them on.
Myth #5: Condoms don’t protect against all STIs.
While it’s true that condoms are not 100% effective at STI prevention (like any contraceptive method, there is always room for error), extensive scientific research has shown that condoms significantly reduce your risk for spreading and contracting all types of STIs and STDs. They act as a barrier for STIs passed via genital fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. For STIs that spread through skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes, HPV, and genital warts, condoms are less protective but still reduce the risk of transmission by covering the infected skin.
As a leading abortion and well-woman’s clinic, South Avenue Women’s Services promotes safe sex, family planning, and accessible contraception for women all throughout Western New York. That’s why we provide condoms and other types of birth control to regular patients and visitors alike.
To receive condoms, information about other birth control methods, or inquire about abortion and other women’s health services we provide, give us a call or send us a message today!