5 Things You Have to Know About Condoms

A few crucial points to keep in mind before you get busy.
- Amber Madison, BettyConfidential.com

1. He has to put one on before the action starts. You can’t begin to have unprotected sex and then make a guy throw on a condom right before he gets off. Instead, make sure that Captain Winkie is fully wrapped before it’s anywhere near your vagina. Here’s the thing: STDs are spread one of two ways, through infected skin and through infected body fluids. A penis without a condom rubbing against your vagina exposes you to any possible STDs its owner may be carrying on the skin of his penis. Furthermore, sex is like basketball: you dribble before you shoot. And that dribble can be carrying an STD.

2. You have the option of using a female condom. If you’re sick of depending on a guy to put on a condom, or you’re dating a guy who hates them, you can use a female condom instead. It’s a little pouch with a small ring on one end and a larger ring on the other. To use it, you insert the small ring and the pouch into your vagina so that your vagina is, essentially, lined with the condom material. The bigger, open end then hangs out the bottom, and the penis slides into the big end. Because female condoms are made of polyurethane, they can work well for people with latex allergies. , and you can use them with oil- or water-based lubricants. To buy one, check out your local or online drug stores.

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3. It’s not the best idea to keep condoms in your wallet/glove compartment/purse. Being prepared is great, but it’s better not to carry around condoms indefinitely. Condoms that are exposed to extreme temperatures, tumbling around in the depths of your bag, or getting crushed daily in a wallet are much more likely to break. So keep your main stash somewhere in your house, and if there’s any chance at all you might decide to have sex that day, grab a few for your bag. And if you don’t use them, put them back in their “home.”

4. Use unlubricated condoms if you have a sensitive va-jayjay. We think of men as the ones who complain about using condoms, but just as many women will say they don’t like them, because they irritate the vagina. If this sounds like you, stick to unlubricated condoms. But do use some K-Y jelly or another water- based lubricant if you need a little extra glide.

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5. Even if you use condoms, you still have to get tested. Condoms greatly reduce your chances of getting an STD. But they aren’t magic. Even if you’ve been really good about using condoms, it’s still possible to contract a disease. So stay on top of your sexual health. If something feels weird down there, get it checked out. If things feel normal, get periodic STD screenings anyway. And if you ever see something on or around a penis that doesn’t quite look right (or for some reason you suspect a guy might have an STD) don’t just use a condom and feel protected. Don’t have sex, period.

BettyConfidential’s Sexpert Amber Madison is a sex educator and author of Hooking Up: A Girl's All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality, and Talking Sex With Your Kids.

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