Condoms: Everything You Ever Needed to Know


Male Condoms

The decision about whether to have sex is extremely important. Considerations include the possibility of contracting an STD, the potential for an unwanted pregnancy, and the psychological and emotional ramifications of intimate contact should the relationship end. Sex represents a psychological, physical, emotional, and financial commitment to another person. Don’t be reluctant to bring up the topic of safer sex. The ability to discuss important issues is a sign of personal and social maturity.

It's all well and good for someone to tell you that you need to use a condom if you're going to have sex, but it's not quite that simple. How do you use a condom? How do you choose which condom to use? Don't worry. All your answers are here...

Condoms can be effective in protecting against STDs if used properly. Here are some guidelines for proper use:

Choosing a Condom for Oral Sex

Although most people don't like to think about it, oral sex is not inherently safe sex. Many STDs can be transmitted through oral sex, and so it is important to use condoms or other barriers. There are, however, some special considerations when choosing a condom for oral sex.

Why are we seeing such a declining trend in condom use?

At the individual level condoms remain unsexy. Many men won’t use them because they believe they reduce sexual pleasure and many women are afraid to ask their partners to use them for fear of being called names and possibly facing violence.

See: How to persuade your partner to use a condom

Are condoms really effective?

If used correctly and consistently condoms are highly effective. They act as a barrier to prevent ones' partner from getting into contact with the sexual fluids of the other partner.

Reasons why condoms burst during intercourse

Is it true that some condoms burst during intercourse? What may cause condoms to burst? Condom bursting may be due to:

Friction caused by lack of foreplay

  • Incorrect use such as failure to squeeze the air out of the tip when putting the condom on to create space for the semen,
  • Using the wrong lubrication i.e. Vaseline or other oil-based products which weakens the rubber.

Is it necessary to use condoms when one is HIV positive?

  • Yes, even when both the partners are infected, to avoid re-infection. Everyone’s virus is slightly different, using your own DNA to replicate. Re-infection add strain on the immune system, weakening it.
  • If one partner is negative and the other positive it is important to maintain condom use to ensure that the HIV negative partner does not contract the virus.

Why do some people develop irritations when they use condoms?

Some people are allergic to rubber/ latex from which condoms are made. However, in circumstances where irritation continues to seek medical attention or access condoms which are made of other materials such as polyurethane (plastic)

What should you do if a condom remains in a woman’s vagina after sex?

You can avoid this situation by withdrawing immediately after ejaculating before the penis becomes flaccid. If it does happen, don’t panic. Tell the person to squat with knees wide apart and insert two fingers and pull out the condom. Don’t worry; it will not go further than that and it will not affect your partner’s health. You or your partner can remove it easily with your fingers.

Does using two condoms at the same time provide double protection?

No. One condom if used correctly is enough to provide you with adequate protection.

Does using both a male and female condom at the same time provide more protection?

No. A couple can decide to use either a male or female condom but not both at the same time. The friction between the two rubber surfaces can lead to damage

Is it okay to apply Vaseline/creams on a condom for lubrication?

No. Vaseline and other oil-based lubricants such as baby oil weaken the rubber and cause the condom to tear.

Can a condom be ineffective before its expiry date?

Yes. Depending on how it is handled/ stored, a condom can lose its effectiveness before the expiry date if stored in a hot or damp place or exposed to direct sunlight. Make sure you don’t keep condoms in your wallet.

Can an expired condom offer protection if doubled?

No. Condoms should have lost their measured effectiveness three years from the stipulated date of manufacture.

Do condoms cause cancer?

No. There is no scientific evidence linking cancer to condom use.

Can one condom be used more than once?

No. A condom should be used once and disposed of.

Can a condom fit small and big penis sizes?

Yes. A condom has the capacity to expand and fit all sizes for adult sexually active persons. Men with large penises might find larger condoms more comfortable and ICON™ condoms were specially developed to ensure that even very well-endowed men can enjoy very sexy safer-sex in comfort.

For how long can one condom be used in a sexual intercourse?

A condom remains effective for one round of sex.

Can one get infected with STIs / HIV during the process of removing a condom after a sexual intercourse?

It is possible for the infection to occur if you have wounds or sores on your fingers which might come into contact with sexual fluids or if one cleaning cloth is used for both partners.

Is true that some people get infected with STIs in spite of using condoms consistently?

Using a condom correctly and consistently protects from most sexually transmitted infections. It is possible to be infected during other sex acts such as oral sex. You can also be infected with some STIs through contact with infected blood.

What should a person do when a partner objects to condom use?

Ideally, be assertive and say “No condom no sex!!” Try to educate your partner on the great benefits of condom use, such as prolonged erection.

Should married couples also use condoms?

Yes for several reasons. People may not be aware of each other’s HIV status, one of the partners might be cheating, condom usage is encouraged in couples that are serodiscordant and condoms are also an excellent form of birth control for couples choose to space out their pregnancies.

Why do some condoms have bad smells?

The bad smell may be due to chemical compounds which were not washed out during the production process, some condoms have a rubber related smell unless they are scented.

Which is the best condom to use?

Which is the best soap to use if you need to get clean? All condoms distributed by the Department of Health and HIV organizations are effective. Make sure they have not expired by checking the date stamp before use. There are lots of brands available so try a different one to work out which ones you prefer.

Do condoms make sex less pleasurable?

No. In fact, many people report feeling freer and more relaxed during sex because they aren’t worried about infection. There is also the added benefit of prolonged erection for many men. Used properly and consistently, condoms can actually increase sexual pleasure.

How To Use a Male Condom?

Using a condom is pretty straight-forward, but it is possible to do it incorrectly. Using condoms the right way will drastically reduce the likelihood of breakage and other condom failures.

How to Use a Female Condom?

Often, an individual's first reaction to seeing a female condom is "Huh?" Fortunately, they're actually quite easy, and fun, to use once you know what you're doing and what to expect.

Common Condom Mistakes


Condoms are easy to use correctly, but here are some common errors that you might want to avoid.

SEE: How to Use Condoms Correctly
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