What is it? How does it work?
An external condom, also known simply as a “condom,” is rolled over the penis before sex to stop sperm from entering the vagina. It is one of the most popular forms of birth control because it prevents pregnancy and protects against sexually transmitted infections! There are four different types of condoms: spermicidal, non-spermicidal, latex, and non-latex. If you discover you are allergic to latex, try using a non-latex condom. Just remember, lambskin condoms are not effective at preventing sexually transmitted infections.
How effective is it?
A condom is 82% effective with typical use. With perfect use, a condom is 98% effective.
What are the side effects?
Fortunately, external condoms don’t have too many side effects associated with them. If you or your partner experience a burning or rubbing sensation while using condoms, you might want to try water or silicone-based lube. Just remember to stay away from oil-based lube, as it can cause latex condoms to break. It is also important to find a condom that fits correctly. A condom that is too tight could cause discomfort and is more likely to break. A condom that is too loose may slip off during sex and increase the chances of pregnancy.
Any long term benefits?
You are much less likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection if you use a condom correctly with every sexual encounter.
Any long term risks?
Does it protect me against sexually transmitted infections?
Yes! Condoms are a great way to protect yourself against STIs. For people who do not have sex involving a penis, condoms can still be a great way to provide protection against STIs. If sharing sex toys, a condom can be used to cover the toys with each new partner or when switching from anal to vaginal use. Also, if you cut a condom up the side, it can also be used to cover the vulva during oral sex—kind of like your own makeshift dental dam!