As we usher in a new era of Lizzo-level self-love, we must also understand that caring for our bodies goes beyond staying hydrated and sticking to our nightly skincare routine. Part of being healthy means making responsible decisions about our sexual activities. Gone are the days of being mere passengers on the road trip to someone else’s pleasure. We’re in the driver’s seat now. This means we get to decide what happens to our bodies. Who we want to have sex with, when we want to do it, and what sexual activities we want to partake in, are for us—and no one else—to choose.
This also means that if we want to protect ourselves from pregnancy, HIV, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), then we must educate ourselves regarding birth control and prophylactics, the most common of which are condoms. When we understand not only how to use condoms, but also why, we empower ourselves to have the kind of sex we deserve: safe, fun, and steadfast in the face of the almost-convincing excuses (from our partners—and sometimes ourselves) to go condom-free. So, whether you’re planning to have sex for the first time, or simply want to master your condom game, we’re here to walk you through what you need to know.
But first, let’s get the basics down.
What is a condom?
In the Philippines, condoms are the most easily accessible form of birth control, being relatively affordable as well as available at any old convenient store without the need for a prescription.
So, what is it exactly? A condom is a thin piece of material that fits over a man’s penis and can be used for vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is a barrier that prevents sperm and infection from passing between sexual partners, protecting those who use it from pregnancy, HIV—which can lead to AIDS, and STIs—some of which can lead to cervical cancer.
A condom’s protective barrier is most commonly made out of latex. However, if you find that you and/or your partner are allergic to latex, don’t forego protection! First of all, consult a doctor when experiencing unusual sensations down there (it might be more serious than an allergic reaction). But also, if it is a simple allergy, rest assured: There are condoms made of other materials, which are as comfortable as latex. The catch is that you may have to search a little harder for these non-latex condoms. But take it from us, the search is worth it.
How effective is a condom?
When used properly, a condom is extremely effective, with only a two percent chance of resulting in pregnancy. Moreover, condoms are effective in protecting against HIV and STIs, with the same 98 percent success rate.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of a condom drops when used improperly. In fact, according to Planned Parenthood, about 15 percent of those who use condoms as their only birth control will get pregnant each year. It is also possible to transmit diseases when using a condom because of accidents such as tearing, or because skin that is not covered by the condom could still infect or be infected.
Basically, human imperfection is a huge variable when it comes to the effectiveness of condoms. When used inconsistently, or put on incorrectly, the risk of pregnancy, HIV, or STIs goes up. Therefore, knowing how to use a condom properly is essential in order to benefit from its protective qualities.
How To Wear A Condom
Step 1: Take the condom out of its packet. For optimal protection, this should be done after the penis becomes erect, but before it touches you. To take it out, use your hands to tear the side of the packet as if you’re opening ramen seasoning. Do not use scissors.
Step 2: Make sure the condom is rightside-up. The goal is for it to easily roll down the penis. You’ll know that it is facing the correct way when the rim is on the outside. It will look like a little hat. If you accidentally put the condom on upside-down, don’t flip it over; get a new one.
Step 3: Pinch the tip of the “hat” and place it on the head of the penis. This will leave some room for the semen to go after ejaculation.
Step 4: Roll the condom down the shaft of the penis, all the way to the base. You can start by wrapping your finger and thumb around the head of the penis, where the rim of the condom is, and slide your hand down the length of the shaft.
Step 5: You have the option of adding lubricant outside the condom. It will ease the entry of the penis during sex, and also reduces the risk of breakage.
Step 6: Have sex.
Step 7: After ejaculation, make sure the penis out of the vagina before it goes soft. To avoid letting semen out of the condom, you or your partner should hold the rim as the penis is being pulled out.
Step 8: Maintain a bit of distance as your partner carefully removes the condom so that no semen spills on you.
Step 9: Have your partner throw the condom in the garbage.
These may seem like a lot of steps, but with consistent practice, putting on a condom correctly can take as quick as a few seconds. And don’t worry—pausing to protect yourself won’t ruin the mood. In fact, putting one on can easily fit into foreplay. So, the next time things are getting hot and heavy, take ownership of your own sexual wellbeing, reach for those condoms, and enjoy!
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