Don’t be fooled – condoms are most effective (98% to be exact), comfortable, and pleasurable when people use them CORRECTLY! Here are 10 of the most common condom myths and the facts that prove them wrong.
Condom Myth #1: One’s good. Two are better.
It may seem like two or more condoms could provide twice or even three times the protection. However, layering two male condoms or using a male and female condom together can actually decrease their effectiveness.
When the two materials rub together, the friction can cause them to break or tear. This leaves a pathway for bodily fluids to travel through. So, it’s best to stick with one condom at a time.
Condom Myth #2: Any liquid-y substance is ok to use as lube.
Experimenting with lube is common. Among others, the mass media loves to emphasize whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and sensual oils as possibilities. However, food products and oils can not only put you at higher risk for urinary tract and yeast infections, many of them break down latex, making it less effective in blocking bodily fluids.
If you’re opting for lube, there are a few options to choose from. You want to make sure it is condom-compatible, meaning that it won’t affect the condom and cause it to break. Using oils as lubricant can make a condom break in about 30 seconds. Some water-based lubes contain glycerine (a type of sugar) which can feel sticky and cause some women to get yeast infections, so it’s best to avoid those.
The best options are a water-based or silicone-based lubricant. Silicone-based lubricants are very thin and slippery and last longer, but can be more expensive than water-based. Experiment and see which type works best for you.
Condom Myth #3: Condoms ruin the mood.
We think “ruin” is a strong word. Yes, stopping a hot and steamy love session to put a condom in place can put a momentary pause in the action, but they do not have to erase all sexual arousal, and there are ways to work condoms more easily into intercourse.
Condoms can be opened ahead of time to eliminate a step in the heat of the moment, or one partner can put it on the other partner to keep the feeling of intimacy intact. What can really ruin the mood? An STI or unplanned pregnancy.
Condom Myth #4: Condoms kill pleasure.
Condoms can make sex feel different for each partner involved, and they may decrease the feel-good sensations that come with sex, but there are many new styles of condoms available to enhance pleasure from very thin condoms to condoms with extra space at the top to feel good for the man. Many an orgasm still takes place even with condoms involved.
Condom Myth #5: Condoms always prevent pregnancy and STIs.
Condoms are only 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly. They are less effective when used improperly. When it comes to protecting against STIs, condoms can break on occasion leaving an opportunity for bodily fluids to pass through. In addition, condoms are not reliable in protecting against certain STIs like herpes and genital warts, which may exist on patches of skin not covered by condoms.
Condom Myth #6: If a condom is put on inside out, it’s ok to remove it and put it on the right way.
If a condom is put on inside out (like with a lubricated condom), it should be removed and replaced with a fresh one. Even before intercourse, males and females can produce bodily fluids that can be transferred onto male or female condoms. Furthermore, cells from skin conditions like herpes or genital warts can also transfer to condoms.
So, turning condoms inside out and re-using them can lead to STIs and pregnancy.
Condom Myth #7: Condoms can be used again.
See #6. And, even if a condom isn’t turned inside out, fluids can still leak out and get on both sides. Also, using a condom more than once can be smelly and dirty in general. Best to start each romp with a new one.
Condom Myth #8: You can use plastic wrap instead of condoms.
Some people think that as long as some material like plastic or even paper is providing a barrier between partners, they are being protected. However, some materials are porous (have small holes allowing fluids to flow through), some break easily, and some do not stay on if used as condoms.
If you and/or your partner want to use a condom to help protect against STIs or prevent pregnancy, use an actual condom.
Condom Myth #9: If you are allergic to latex, you can’t use condoms.
It’s true, some people are allergic to latex and they cannot use latex condoms. The good news is that people with this allergy can use polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms instead.
Condom Myth #10: It’s ok to use the condom that’s been in a wallet for months.
It’s not ok to use the condom that’s been in a wallet for months. For one, condoms have expiration dates, so be sure to check those. But, more importantly, the heat and friction that occurs when someone is sitting with their wallet in their back pocket or when the condom is being pressed by the wallet can cause breakage (think old rubber bands). So, that condom in the wallet should just be for show.
Glad we’ve dispensed with that bad wrap (zing!). Now spread the word and use this information wisely! When the time is right, of course.
Reviewed by Dr. Amy.