Condoms are probably one of the most readily available and convenient methods of contraception available in the market today. You don’t need a prescription in order to get your hands on them and you don’t need a nurse or a doctor putting it on you. They don’t contain hormones, meaning no hormonal side effects – unless of course, you’re allergic to latex – and they keep you safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
At the risk of sounding like a condom propaganda machine, condoms are great, and these are just some of the reasons it’s the go-to contraceptive for many. That said, there are many ways you can compromise and sabotage the effectiveness of your condoms.
These are 6 things you should definitely take note of when it comes to using or even storing your condoms. I mean, for all the money you spent on them, and for that trip you specially made to 7-11, you want your condom to do its job, right?
1. Don’t store them in warm places
Condoms are heat sensitive. They’re made of latex and latex doesn’t react too well to heat. In other words, storing them in warm places such as the glove compartment box of a car or a wallet that’s constantly in close contact with your body heat could compromise the quality of your condoms and reduce their effectiveness.
Keeping your condom in your wallet can work, but keep that wallet in a bag and far away from a heat generating source.
2. Don’t use them past their expiration dates
Did you know condoms have expiration dates? Well, now you do. As with tons of other products we use on a daily basis, condoms expire. While some of you may have the habit of ignoring expiry dates, you don’t want to do that when it comes to your rubbers.
If a condom has expired, don’t use it. It’s more likely to break and a broken condom leaves you vulnerable to both pregnancy and STIs. In other words, using an expired condom defeats the entire purpose of wearing a condom.
Also, condoms are a ‘good for one use’ kind of product. They’re disposable and shouldn’t be reused. If you’re going to go for round two, switch out your condom for a new one.
3. Don’t double up on condoms
If you’re new to this, you might think doubling up on protection will keep you twice as safe. While the logic seems sound, doubling up on condoms means your condoms will rub against one another, creating friction and potentially cause your condom(s) to break – bad, bad idea.
If you don’t feel safe with just one layer of cover, you’ll want to invest in a brand you trust and stick to using just one at a time!
4. Don’t use an oil-based lubricant with a condom
Many people use a lubricant to help slide things along in the bedroom. Take note that using an oil-based lubricant with a condom could weaken your condom and cause it to break. As with heat, the latex in condoms don’t play too well with oil.
Instead, get a lubricant of the water-based variety! If you’re having trouble finding a water-based lubricant, Durex pleasure gels are all safe for use with condoms!
5. Don’t do it dry
Speaking of lubricants, lubes do come in handy when you’re doing the deed. Too much friction, such as when it’s a desert down there, can also cause your condom to break, so you’re going to want to make sure you have a lubricant to make a romp in the sack a little more pleasant!
6. Don’t use ill-fitting condoms
When it comes to condoms, size does matter – specifically, getting a condom of the right size matters. Most condoms work well with the average man’s member – between 4 to 7 inches. Anything bigger and your man is probably going to need something a little more accommodating.
If the condom is too tight or too loose, there’s the risk of it either snapping or slipping right off. In both of these instances, the chances of pregnancy and spread of STIs are increased, so make sure to get the right-sized condom before you get busy.
Be sure you’re safe…
STIs are a serious matter. While some of them can be treated with a dose of strong antibiotics, there are others that don’t go away as easily. Pregnancy is not only a life-changing event, but you’re also about to create a whole new human being – that’s kind of terrifying, especially if you’re someone who isn’t ready for that kind of responsibility.
Neither of these things should be taken lightly, so make it a priority to be protected while having sex. Using a condom was a good first step – now, just make sure you’re not doing anything to ruin its quality and effectiveness!