Condoms. Not just a sexual accessory but a necessity. Whether you have sex with more than one partner or you're in a long term monogamous relationship, condoms are a vital part of sex that helps not only protect against pregnancy but all STIs.
So, we've all been to school. We've all had the Health (or PSE, or PE or Sex Ed) teacher or even a parent showing us how to roll a condom down a banana or fake penis but in reality in the heat of the moment some of the very important technique can be forgotten. Used properly condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy (source: NHS online) and can stop the transmission of STIs like Chlamydia, Herpes, Gonorrhoea and HIV. Vital stuff for protecting not only yourself but your partner and all future partners.
However, nowadays there are literally hundreds of different shapes, sizes, smells, tastes and feel of condom so it can be tricky to decide which ones suit you best. Worn correctly and with a drop or two of water or silicone based lube (NEVER oil based) condoms are thin and light enough that sensation is barely affected.
What kind of condom should I buy?
There are coloured condoms, flavoured condoms and even larger than average condoms also available to suit all needs. The most important thing to remember when choosing a condom is your own exact requirements. Don't be tempted to go for XL condoms if you don't actually need them; in reality trying to use an XL condom on an average sized penis can be a disaster. Ripping, slipping, tearing and discomfort are all likely if you're not wearing the right size condom for you but if you do find that condoms are regularly splitting or they feel exceptionally tight then you should try some Extra Large condoms such as the Skins Extra Large Condoms. These condoms have added girth (as all condoms are incredibly stretchy lengthways) to accommodate a larger penis and should provide a much more comfortable fit for any man with a thicker or longer penis than average. According to the NHS, the average man is 2.5-4 inches long when flaccid and 5-7 inches when erect. However these aren't necessarily conclusive figures; as with anything on the human body everyone differs massively. Get the size of condom that fits you the best.
So, now you've chosen the right condoms for you, let's refresh our memories on some condom basics.
How to put on a condom:
1. You will need: one condom.
2. When the penis is erect, carefully push the condom to one side of the unopened packet and tear gently to open. Don't use your teeth; chances are you'll rip the condom itself!
3. If you have one, pull back your foreskin before putting the condom on. Unroll the condom slightly to check it's the right way around before trying to put on.
4. Squeeze the tip of the condom to remove any air (which can cause splits) and place over the head of the penis. Unroll carefully until it reaches the base of the penis. Don't worry if you don't unroll the entire condom before you reach the base- it will still stay on securely.
5. If you're using lube, only ever use water-based lube. Oil based lubes or Vaseline, baby oil or moisturisers will all cause the condom to split. You're now safe to have sex.
6. Every so often during sex check that the condom hasn't slipped off; you should be able to feel it at the base of the penis.
7. Once you've ejaculated you need to withdraw from your partner before you go soft and the condom gets a chance to slip off. Hold it on firmly at the base of the condom while you withdraw then carefully remove it (making sure no semen leaks out), wrap in a tissue and throw in the bin, not the toilet!
NEVER, EVER, EVER wear more than one condom at a time. The ‘doubling up' method may seem like a good idea but in reality it actually reduces the effectiveness of both condoms and makes splits and tears much more likely to happen. A single condom, used properly is the most effective protection against both STIs and pregnancy available. If you want to reduce some of the sensitivity of sex and last for longer in bed then there are special condoms available with delay treatments impregnated that reduce sensitivity in the head of the penis thus delaying orgasm. Or if you're worried about then Extra Safe condoms are slightly thicker and contain a spermicidal lubricant.