Condoms: Over 400 Years of Revolutionary Protection
Throughout history, condoms have been used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Also known as prophylactics, the use of condoms dates back to the 1600s when it was first documented among the royals of Europe. Since then, condoms have evolved in material and form and remain an effective preventative measure for both men and women. In this blog post, we will explore the various types of condoms, their benefits and drawbacks, and the current trends in condom use.
What are Condoms?
Put simply, a condom is a thin sheath of material that is worn over the penis to prevent any fluids from passing between partners during sexual intercourse, reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies and spreading of STIs. Condoms can be made from either latex or polyurethane, and can be scented, flavored, ribbed, dotted, and textured to increase pleasure for the sex act. Condoms are also the only form of birth control for male individuals and the easiest form of STD protection.
Types of Condoms
Male condoms, also referred to as external condoms, are the most commonly used form of protection and can be purchased in a variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and colors. The latex material used for these condoms is durable and helps to prevent STIs while allowing heat transfer for better sensation. Polyurethane condoms are also available but typically more expensive. They offer better sensation and reliability than latex condoms. Additionally, there are lambskin condoms that are made from sheep intestines. While these condoms do not provide protection against STIs, they are effective for pregnancy prevention.
Female condoms are a type of internal condom often referred to as an “internal pouch” that female individuals can insert into the vagina. This type of condom is made of nitrile and helps to protect against STIs while offering ease of insertion and removal.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Condoms
The primary benefit of using condoms is safety. Not only do condoms guard against unintended pregnancies, but they offer a barrier against STIs as well. As mentioned earlier, male and female condoms are effective preventative measures for STD protection and pregnancy prevention and they are widely and readily available.
On the other hand, condoms can be less reliable if used incorrectly or in case of material failure. For instance, condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place at all times. Moreover, oils or skin lotions can cause the condom to break or tear, so it is best to use water-based lubricants.
Condom Usage Trends
In recent years, the usage of condoms has been on the rise among both younger and older individuals. According to a survey, the overall usage rate of condoms among adults in the US has risen from 11.6% in 2011 to 16.7% in 2020. The use of condoms has also been more widely accepted in recent years, as more people are using them with sex partners and more open sexual environments are emerging.
In addition to the increase in condom usage, some new trends in condom use are emerging as well, such as flavored condoms, transgender-friendly condoms, and “eco-friendly” condoms made from plant-based materials. These trends are likely due to the increased awareness around the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STIs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I make sure the condom doesn’t break when using it?
A: To ensure the condom stays intact, you should store it in a cool and dry place, use water-based lubricants, and check the expiration date. You should also double check when putting the condom on that it is rolled down the entire way.
Q: Can I reuse condoms?
A: No, condoms should only be used once and should be disposed of after. Reusing condoms is not recommended as it increases the risk of breakage and reduces effectiveness in protection against both pregnancy and STIs.