Condoms are one of the most widely used forms of contraception around the world. They have been in use for centuries, with the earliest evidence of condoms dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Romans. However, there is still a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding condoms, making it important to shed light on this contraceptive method. In this article, we will discuss what condoms are, their history, types, effectiveness, and how to use them correctly.

What are Condoms?

Condoms are thin, stretchy sheaths made of rubber, latex, or polyurethane. They are designed to be worn over the penis or inserted into the vagina or anus to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some condoms also come in non-latex materials, such as polyisoprene, making them a suitable option for people with latex allergies.

History of Condoms:

The earliest known evidence of condom use dates back to ancient civilizations. The Egyptians used linen sheaths to protect against STIs, while the Romans used animal membranes or intestines as condoms. However, it wasn’t until the 16th century that condoms made from animal intestines became popular in Europe.

In the mid-1800s, the invention of vulcanized rubber led to the mass production of rubber condoms. This made condoms more accessible and affordable, marking a significant step in the history of contraception. In the early 20th century, latex condoms were created, which eventually replaced the use of animal membrane condoms.

Types of Condoms:

There are two main types of condoms – male condoms and female condoms. Male condoms are the most commonly used type and are worn on the penis. They come in various sizes, textures, and flavors, making them a popular choice among sexually active individuals. On the other hand, female condoms are worn inside the vagina or anus and provide protection against STIs and pregnancy. They are made of polyurethane and have rings at both ends to keep them in place. Female condoms are a good option for people with latex allergies and can also be used for anal sex.

Effectiveness of Condoms:

When used correctly, condoms are an effective form of contraception, with a 98% success rate in preventing pregnancy. This means that if 100 couples use condoms as their only method of contraception for one year, only two of them will become pregnant. However, it is essential to note that the effectiveness of condoms also depends on their proper use.

How to Use Condoms Correctly:

Proper use of condoms is crucial to their effectiveness. Here are some essential steps to follow when using condoms:

1. Always check the expiration date of the condom before use. Expired condoms may not be as effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.

2. Carefully open the condom package, making sure not to tear or damage the condom inside.

3. Hold the tip of the condom and place it over the tip of an erect penis. If using lubricated condoms, make sure the lubricant is on the outside of the condom.

4. Squeeze the tip of the condom to remove any air and unroll it all the way down to the base of the penis.

5. After ejaculation, hold the base of the condom and carefully pull out before the penis becomes soft. This will prevent the condom from slipping off.

6. Dispose of the condom properly. Do not flush it down the toilet as it can clog the pipes.

Benefits of Condom Use:

There are several benefits to using condoms as a form of contraception:

1. STI Prevention: Consistent and correct use of condoms can significantly reduce the risk of contracting STIs, including HIV.

2. Pregnancy Prevention: As mentioned earlier, condoms are an effective method of preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
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3. Affordable: Condoms are readily available and relatively affordable, making them accessible to a wide range of individuals.

4. Low Sexual Side Effects: Unlike hormonal methods of contraception, condoms do not have any sexual side effects, making them suitable for all sexually active individuals.

5. Ability to Plan: Condoms can be used when needed, giving individuals the flexibility to plan their sexual activities.

Myths about Condoms:

Over the years, various myths and misconceptions have emerged regarding condoms. Some of the most common myths include:

1. Condoms reduce pleasure: While some people may find condoms to be less pleasurable, this is mostly due to incorrect use. When used correctly, condoms do not reduce sexual pleasure.

2. Condoms break easily: As long as condoms are not expired and are used correctly, they are highly unlikely to break. However, using oil-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly, can weaken the condom, increasing the chances of breakage.

3. Double bagging increases protection: This is a dangerous myth as using more than one condom at a time increases friction, making it more likely for both condoms to