A non-negotiable when it comes to safe sex, condoms are the only form of contraception that protects against the transmission of STIs. Whilst you might think those school sex education classes taught you all you need to know, we sat down with Superdrug’s Sexpert Alix Fox to find out everything you were too afraid to ask…
Firstly, how effective is a condom?
When used properly, a male condom is about 98% effective, meaning that only around two in every 100 women who use them over the course of a year will experience an unwanted pregnancy. Barrier protection – that’s male and female condoms – are also the only forms of contraception that protect against the transmission of STIs.
Is sex better without a condom?
No – modern condoms are incredibly high tech, allowing them to be thin enough to transmit sensation whilst still being reassuringly strong. Try ONE Vanish Condoms, £7.99, which are 35% thinner than standard condoms.
Should you use a condom for oral sex?
Although the chance of an STI being transmitted via oral sex is far less likely than with vaginal or anal sex, many can be passed from the mouth to genitals and vice versa. If you’re in the early stages of a relationship, I’d advise both of you to get tested so you know your STI status and then make an informed decision as to what you feel comfortable doing.
Can you use a condom underwater?
No official research has been undertaken to show on how well (or not) condoms perform in water but to be on the safe side, I’d say no. However, some protection is better than none, so if you’re going to have sex underwater, make sure your other half uses a snugly fitting condom to help it stay in place, and if he loses his erection a little at any point, make sure water doesn’t get inside the condom.
What should you do if you or your partner is allergic to latex?
This really isn’t a problem, there are tonnes of latex-free condoms on the market now. Try the polyisoprene varieties, like Durex Real Feel – they conduct body heat really well and are extra soft and stretchy, so they have a natural ‘skin-on-skin’ feeling.
Which lubricants should you use with condoms?
Any water-based or silicone-based lube is safe to use with condoms, but avoid using oil-based lubes (especially baby oil or massage oil) with natural latex condoms, as they can degrade the rubber and make it prone to breaking.
Is there any way to make condoms sexy?
Suggest that you help put it on: go down on him for a few minutes before unwrapping a condom and placing it against your lips, with the tip placed inwards and your mouth forming an ‘O’ shape. Use your tongue to push any air out of the tip, then use your mouth and lips to slide the condom over the head of his penis, being careful not to snag it with your teeth. Roll it the rest of the way to the base with your hands, then run your mouth up and down a few times to squeeze out any air bubbles.
What exactly is a female condom?
Female condoms, sometimes known as ‘femidoms’, can also be used by men for anal sex. They consist of a thin, soft, loose, cylindrical bag, usually made of synthetic rubber with a flexible ring at either end. To use them for vaginal sex, you pinch the ring at the closed end, then insert it as far up inside your vagina as you can, as though you were putting in a tampon. When in place, the ring will spring open to help the condom sit comfortably and snugly over your cervix. The ring at the open end should stay outside the body, make sure it’s all hanging straight and isn’t twisted before you begin having sex. When you’re done, just gently pull it out, and pop in the bin.
Do you need a condom for girl-girl sex?
Possibly – certain STIs can be passed on by sharing sex toys, so if you like to use dildos or vibrators on each other, make sure you slip a new condom over your toy every time you switch between who’s using it.
Is it safe to buy condoms online?
If you get them from a reputable supplier like Superdrug.com, then absolutely. It’s convenient too: you can take your time browsing without feeling embarrassed like you might in a shop and they’re delivered in discreet packaging.
Do ribbed condoms really make a difference?
Although they can enhance sensation, especially during the first few minutes of sex when your genitals are ultra-sensitive, the feelings can be quite subtle, so he’ll need to thrust slowly for you to be able to really notice the effect of different textures.
Is it true condoms can make a man last longer?
Absolutely. Varieties like Durex Mutal Climax have a special lubricant inside the tip containing 5% benzocaine: a very low dose of mild anaesthetic that slightly numbs the penis to help him last longer.
What to do if a condom gets stuck inside you?
Don’t panic. The female anatomy means there’s nowhere it can go. If you can’t fish it out with your fingers, pop to a doctor ASAP and they’ll sort you out. Remember that if your condom has come off, you may be at risk of STIs or pregnancy, so as appropriate, arrange to take the morning after pill, get tested for infections, and consider taking PEP (anti-HIV medication that can stop the virus taking hold) if there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to HIV.