Rubber condoms were invented in the XIXth century with latex ones following shortly in the early XXth century. The condom provides perfect protection (>90%) against gonorrhea, HIV, and hepatitis B.
However, according to recent studies, only 1/3 of young people in the USA used condom during their last sex.
This situation is partly due to some myths and misconceptions existing amongst the people. Well, it’s time to dispel the stereotypes associated with condoms.
- “Condoms Have a Scent of Latex”
- “Foreplay Is Bad With Condoms”
- “Condoms Decrease Sexual Pleasure”
- “Condoms Are the Man’s Responsibility”
- “Condoms Cost Too Much”
- “Condoms Provide Full Protection Against Diseases”
- “Two Condoms Ensure More Protection”
- “Condoms Break Easily”
- “You Should be Full-Aged to Buy Condoms”
- “It Is So Awkward to Buy Condoms”
- “It’s Difficult to Catch an Infection”
“Condoms Have a Scent of Latex”
It’s not surprising, is it? Condoms are made of rubber hence they have the smell of rubber. You know, there are many other things that may smell during sex, so the condoms would not be a problem. If you hate that smell, you have options to choose from, for instance, Durex flavored condoms or completely odorless Naked condoms that are made of plastic.
“Foreplay Is Bad With Condoms”
This is a common misconception. But in order not to spoil the preliminary caresses, you just need to be able to quickly put on a condom. In fact, you only need about 20 seconds. Use condoms more often and eventually this problem will go away by itself.
“Condoms Decrease Sexual Pleasure”
According to the research by Mary E. Randolph et al. (2007), a lot of people believe that condoms badly affect sexual pleasure and many males who think so are less likely to use them. In fact, the difference is nonsignificant. Those suffering from allergy to lubricants and latex may feel bigger difference, however, they, again, can choose lubricant-free options made of plastic.
“Condoms Are the Man’s Responsibility”
Some people (heterosexual ones) believe that a man should purchase condoms and carry them around if he is planning to have sex. Are they kidding us?
Really, no matter who has purchased condoms if someone gets infected. The decisions that prevent diseases are a matter of personal responsibility. If you suggest having sex with a condom, it means you appreciate your and your partner’s health.
Moreover, there are female condoms (also called femidoms or internal condoms) – a big condom variation that is inserted in the vagina.
There are schools that distribute condoms for free among adolescents and young people aged 13 to 25. For older folks, there are many other ways to get those at a low price or even free of charge. Some foundations and organizations specializing in sexual health do that.
Agree, condom is a cheap thing in comparison with potential health problem that can lead to huge money-wasting.
“Condoms Provide Full Protection Against Diseases”
Condoms efficiently prevent from sexually transmitted diseases & pregnancy, but they do not guarantee 100% protection. One can get infected with both herpetic infection or genital warts in the area that is not covered by the sheath. Genital warts are small soft growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and occurring on genitals. They are generally safe for males (but they can rarely lead to penis cancer); female persons are more vulnerable to complications of genital warts. Some types of human papillomavirus cause vulva & cervix cancer.
In addition, the warts may cause physical discomfort during sexual act. Similar to genital warts, herpes might disappear by itself, however, it remains in the blood and its breakouts are painful and unpleasant.
This statement may seem reasonable, but that’s not true. “Doubled” condoms don’t maximize the protection. Quite the opposite, this practice can decrease effectiveness of condoms. When you use two contraception sheaths simultaneously, friction occurs between them, which increases the possibility of condom breakage.
Therefore, it is not recommended to use 2 condoms at time, which applies not only to male condoms but also to male plus female condoms.
“Condoms Break Easily”
Condoms have perfect stretchability, and many of them can be stretched up to 1 meter. Condom breakage cases are usually associated with improper rolling on the penis. When you are putting on a condom, there should be no air in it. Also, gaps can be caused by sharp woman’s nails. A lubricant based on oil can make a condom less resistant, therefore it is recommended to use only silicone- and water-based lubes. If you follow the instructions and do everything right, condoms are unlikely to break. You should also store them in cool & dark place so that they will “work” longer.
“You Should be Full-Aged to Buy Condoms”
There are no age restrictions to purchase condoms (unlike alcohol and cigarettes). Furthermore, in some US states, condoms are distributed among teenagers under 15 so that they learn more about contraceptive means and use them properly when the moment comes.
“It Is So Awkward to Buy Condoms”
You don’t have to worry about this. According to statistical data, 450,000,000 contraception sheaths are sold in the US each year. It may be embarrassing to purchase the condom for the 1st time, but agree, it is much more embarrassing to tell someone about the caught sexual infection. If you still have problems with that, you can order condoms online with delivery in a non-descript packaging.
“It’s Difficult to Catch an Infection”
In fact, it is very easy to catch an infection if your partner is a carrier of a sex transmitted disease. Some STDs manifest themselves after a long time so a person can think that he / she is healthy but it is not. HIV can appear in a few weeks in the form of fever, swollen lymph nodes, and other unpleasant symptoms. Then they go away, but after a few years new symptoms of immunodeficiency come back with renewed vigor. HIV is gradually transformed into AIDS.
We do not think we should explain the danger of AIDS, as this is well-known information. Chlamydia can be asymptomatic, but it can lead to miscarriage in women.
Therefore, do not risk your health if you do not have a regular and healthy partner. Clear your mind of myths and use condoms.
Dr. Douglas Goldberg, MD is a Cardiology Specialist in Mineola, NY. He is affiliated with medical facilities Nyu Winthrop Hospital and Mercy Medical Center.