It’s National Condom Week!

Originally posted at Empowher.

We’re in the thick of National Condom Week and unless you’re on a liberal college campus, you may have forgotten about it. In honor of this special time, it’s time for a quick recap on the condom, and why it’s one of the more effective ways to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases for many couples.

Condoms, like so many other things, come in a variety of flavors, colors and styles – dry, lubricated, coated in spermicide. They prevent pregnancy by collecting male ejaculate. Covering the penis alsoreduces the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.

Ladies and gents! If you are involved with a partner who uses condoms, you need to know how put them on as well. Being comfortable in putting on condoms keeps sexual intercourse from getting awkward and allows you to focus on intimacy instead of safe sex issues!

Only use a condom once, lubricating the inside lightly and placing the rolled condom over the tip of the hard penis. Leave a small space at the tip to collect ejaculate, pinching the air out of the tip and then unrolling the condom over the penis. Smooth out any air bubbles and lubricate the outside of the condom, and you’ll be good to go!

Many of us forget the advantageous female condom! It’s a plastic pouch inserted into the vagina or anus and like a latex condom, it is inserted right before intercourse and helps prevent pregnancy while also reducing the risk of STDs.

The pouch has two flexible rings at each end – there is a ring at the closed end that holds the pouch inside the vagina, and a ring on the open end that stays outside the vagina’s opening during sex. Depending on how correctly you use the female condom, the method is 79%-95% effective in preventing pregnancies.

If you’re allergic to latex, the female condom is a great alternative. It can be used with oil and water based lubricants. It’s easily available and inexpensive compared to methods such as the birth control pill.  And unlike a latex condom, it stays in place even if the male loses his erection.

Application takes practice: After applying lubricant or spermicide to the closed end, you squeeze the ring and insert it into the vagina like a tampon, until the condom hangs about an inch out of the vagina. To remove the condom you simply twist the open end so that it doesn’t spill any sperm and gently pull out of the vagina or anus.

Make sure you and your partner are tested for STDs and use safe and preventative care when you start to have any kind of intercourse. Your body will thank you later – in more ways than one!

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