Let's discuss the top 5 myths about condoms
A guest feature by the FPA: The UK’s leading sexual health charity for all ages
I can’t find a condom that fits or feels right
These days you can buy condoms in various different lengths, widths and shapes. They can be straight or flared, ribbed and dotted to enhance stimulation, designed to delay ejaculation, warming, cooling, ultra-thin for a more natural feel, or non-latex for those with an allergy - the list goes on.
Manufacturers regularly introduce new varieties and even if you can’t find a condom that fits in a mainstream shop, there are specialist sellers online that cater for a wide range of needs.
I don’t need protection for oral sex
Some sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be passed on during oral sex so it’s important to use a condom or dam – not just when you have vaginal or anal sex.
A dental dam, which is a small plastic square, can be used as a barrier between the mouth and female genitals or anus, and a rolled out condom cut down one side and opened out will also do the trick.
Condoms are a passion killer
In the throes of passion, stopping to put on a condom might be the last thing on your mind, especially if you have been drinking alcohol. The first step to being prepared is to carry condoms so you always have one to hand. Then you can make putting the condom on part of foreplay. This should be less of a mood dampener than getting an STI.
Talking about condoms is embarrassing
There’s no need to feel embarrassed talking about condoms, but it is not unusual to feel a little shy. Think about using condoms as a positive health choice, to protect both yourself and sexual partners. If a partner doesn’t want to talk about it, or refuses to wear a condom, it’s important to put your own health needs first.
It also helps to bring up the subject of condoms early on when there is still time to talk about it, rather than risk throwing caution to the wind in the heat of the moment.
Condoms break easily
Condoms are designed to withstand rigorous use and if you are buying the right size and fit, and using them according to instructions, they’re highly unlikely to break - though it’s important to be careful if you have sharp nails or are wearing jewellery.
It is also untrue that using two condoms is safer than one. This actually makes them more likely to break.
Remember condoms are the only method of contraception that help protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and they are given out for free at many sexual health clinics, general practices and university campus health centres.
It’s always better to prevent getting an STI rather than rely on treatment – some viruses will always remain in your body, and gonorrhoea, for example, is becoming more resistant to antibiotics.
If you are worried you have taken a risk it’s important to seek help. You can find your local service using FPA’s find a clinic tool.
FPA is the UK’s leading sexual health charity for all ages. They give straightforward information, advice and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to everyone in the UK. FPA also runs www.fpapleasure.co.uk, bringing together information and advice on all things sexual pleasure and wellbeing.