Contraception Spotlight: Condoms

Today, we’re talking about a topic that’s crucial for keeping our sexual health game strong – condoms! Let’s break down everything you need to know about this trusty form of contraception. Whether it’s your first time thinking about using them or you’re looking to learn more, we’ve got you covered!

What Are Condoms?

Condoms are a type of contraception that not only prevent pregnancy but also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They act as a barrier, catching sperm and keeping it from entering the vagina. There are also condoms made for anal and oral sex, which help prevent STIs in those activities too.

Types of Condoms

There’s more variety than you might think when it comes to condoms. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Latex Condoms: The most common type, great for most people, but not for those with latex allergies.
  • Non-Latex Condoms: Made from materials like polyurethane or polyisoprene, perfect for those with latex allergies.
  • Textured Condoms: These can have bumps or ridges to increase sensation.
  • Flavoured Condoms: Ideal for oral sex, making it a bit more enjoyable and safer.
  • Internal Condoms: Worn inside the vagina or anus, these offer another barrier method that’s controlled by the receptive partner.

How to Use Condoms

Using a condom is easy, but it’s important to get it right:

  • Check the expiry date: Yep, they can expire!
  • Open carefully: Don’t use teeth or scissors!
  • Put it on right: The rim should be on the outside, and leave a little space at the tip. Watch this short video here.
  • After sex: Hold the base while pulling out to prevent it from slipping off.
  • Dispose responsibly: Wrap it in tissue and toss it in the bin (not the toilet!).

No Shame in the Game

Getting your hands on condoms shouldn’t be embarrassing – it’s super responsible. If you’re between 16 and 24, you can snag free condoms through the eC-Card scheme. This awesome program allows you to pick up condoms at various locations across Essex, all for free and in discrete packaging. Just register, watch a few short videos, and pass a quick quiz.

What to Watch Out For

While condoms are generally safe, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Allergies: Be aware of any latex allergies.
  • Lubrication: Use water or silicone-based lubes with latex condoms as oil-based products can cause them to break.
  • Integrity: Never reuse a condom, and avoid ones that are dry, brittle, or damaged.

Condoms are an excellent way to protect yourself and your partners, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the fun parts of life without unnecessary risks. Remember, using condoms shows that you respect yourself and your partner. So, keep it safe, keep it consensual, and let’s break the stigma around buying and using condoms!

If you are still unsure about using condoms, or having any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Essex Sexual Health Service.