Condoms are no doubt popular in Nigeria and globally, but many users don’t know how to choose the right one and wear such properly. Livingstone Imonitie reports…
A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device that is used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of getting pregnant or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are both male and female condoms which greatly decrease the risk of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS. They also, to a lesser extent, protect against genital herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), and syphilis. Condoms are often recommended as an adjunct to more effective birth control methods (such as IUD) in situations where STD protection is also desired.
While there are various recommendations on how use a condom, the scientifically backed way of wearing the male condom is for it to be rolled onto an erect penis before intercourse. The condom works by blocking the semen from entering the body of a sexual partner.
Male condoms are made from latex; an aqueous dispersion of polymers that can be solidified into rubber, and less commonly from polyurethane (PUR); a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate (urethane) links. In individuals with a latex allergy, a polyurethane or other synthetic version should be used. Female condoms are typically made from polyurerthane and may be used multiple times.
Most condoms have a reservoir tip or teat end, making it easier to accommodate the male ejaculation.
Condoms come in different sizes, from snug to larger, and shapes. Width often varies from 49 mm to 56 mm. They also come in a variety of surfaces intended to stimulate the user’s partner.
Condoms are usually supplied with a lubricant coating to facilitate penetration, while flavoured condoms are principally used for oral sex.
Male condoms are usually packaged inside a foil or plastic wrapper, in a rolled up form, and are designed to be applied to the tip of the penis and then unrolled over the erect penis. It is important that some space be left in the tip of the condom so that semen has a place to collect; otherwise it may be forced out of the base of the device. After use, it is recommended the condom be wrapped in tissue or tied in a knot, then disposed of in a trash receptacle. Do not reuse a condom, the excess semen from the last time can spill out and there is a higher chance of the condom breaking.
Sometimes there may be failures while using the condom, this is because the condoms may slip off the penis after ejaculation, break due to improper application or physical damage (such as tears caused when opening the package), or break or slip due to latex degradation.
“Double Bagging”, using two condoms at once is often believed to cause a higher rate of failure due to the friction of rubber to rubber.
Male condoms have a tight ring to form a seal around the penis while the female condoms typically have a large stiff ring to keep them from slipping into the body orifice. The Female Health Company produced a female condom that was initially made of polyurethane, but newer versions are made of nitrile.
To prevent contacting HIV/AIDS and other STIs, it is advised that quality condoms are used during sexual intercourse.
“Your health should be your number one priority and it is your responsibility to take care of it,” experts warn.