All about Condoms
A Comprehensive Guide to Condoms
Millennials and Gen-X have probably heard their parents and grandparents talking in hushed tones about condoms. They may believe or think that the condom is a fair recent invention that came with the introduction of vulcanized rubber. This is not a subject that is even touched on in school. Teachers, even health teachers, do not announce to the class to bring out their books and turn to the section covering the history of condoms. Most students find world history rather boring. Is the history of condoms the same?
Actually, when you learn how condoms were made and what the purpose was it is really very interesting. If you ignore cave drawings which picture crude penis coverings, the first written account of a condom actually dates back to around 1,000 BC. The word ‘crude’ was not meant in a derogatory way. Most cave drawings were amateurish in nature and sometimes a lot of detail could not be carved into stone.
It was believed on the island of Crete that the sperm of King Minos was filled with scorpions and snakes because all of his mistresses had the misfortune of dying. His wife, Pasiphae, said enough was enough and fashioned her own protection by placing a goat’s bladder in her vagina. You could say this was the first female condom.
The Egyptians were great innovators. Most ran around without a stitch of clothing so they had to have some way to determine people of different classes. It’s similar to our own beliefs about those who buy their suits custom made or at Walmart. Men wore caps on their penises of different colors to differentiate classes. They were also used to protect them for a disease known as bilharzia which in itself sounds horrendous. Today it is called ‘snail fever’ and is a parasite that can enter the body and get into the digestive tract.
When the Romans arrived on the scene they also used bladders of animals. These were not used as birth control but to prevent women from contracting diseases. There are many more accounts of female condoms being invented to protect women, whether from pregnancy or disease.
A tribe in New Guinea used a sheath made from a plant that was inserted into the vagina prior to sex. One end was closed and the other end open and it was to prevent pregnancy. The early Chinese were big into the silk trade and developed a sheath made from silk paper that would be lubricated with oil.
Those in the UK can thank King Charles I for trying to protect his army from the perils of visiting prostitutes during the English Civil War in the 1640’s. Since syphilis was a contributor to solder deaths, King Charles had his medical team develop condoms made from intestines of just about every living animal or fish. It was also during his reign that he became a little tired of having so many illegitimate children running around due to dalliances. His team came up with a condom made from lamb intestines to prevent conception. This was the precursor to today’s lambskin condoms.
There were many other ideas and sheaths that were concocted through trial and error. It wasn’t until 1855 that rubber was introduced into the recipe for condoms, now colloquially called rubbers. In 1912 latex was introduced which made condoms affordable to all and these were to be used one time only. Many countries’ soldiers were provided condoms at this point to ensure if they came home alive, they would be disease free.
Reservoir tips came on the scene in the 1950’s. It was during this time that condoms became thinner, tighter and lubricated. With the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s condom companies began advertising their wares and the word ‘condom’ was routinely used. However, there was no answer for those allergic to latex until 2006 when polyurethane was introduced.
To use a line from an old advertisement for cigarettes aimed at the female consumer, ‘We’ve come a long way, Baby.’ There have been so many additions to the condom world now, there is one that will fit and please every user.
Materials Now Used
Most of the condoms manufactured today are latex. This fabrication is the most researched and is the least expensive to mass produce. Also, it is the most regulated condom material across the globe. Each country has its own standards that must be met and the condom must be certified.
You must use a water based lubricant only. An oil-based lubricant can destroy the condom. The man needs to pinch the air out of the top of the condom prior to rolling it on so that sperm has a place to go without leaking. Many men believe that keeping a latex condom in a billfold that is worn close to the body is a good idea. Actually, latex condoms can become brittle with too much heat. Either replace it often or keep your inventory in a cooler, dry place at home.
Believe it or not, polyurethane is a synthetic cousin to plastic and is tolerated well by those will allergies to latex. On the negative side they are not as elastic as latex but they tend to be wider than a standard latex condom. The material is a great conductor of heat so the man feels more of the natural warmth of the woman. Another plus is that users can enjoy either water-based or oil-based lubricants. Available research shows that polyurethane condoms are nearly as reliable as the latex ones if used as instructed.
If this sounds foreign to you, it did not enter the condom world until 2006. It is another non-latex material but is said to have more of a feel and elasticity of latex than polyurethane. They are fine for those with latex sensitivities and must pass the same rigorous testing and certifications as latex condoms.
Men have sworn for centuries that these are the most natural feeling condoms known on planet earth. They are generally the most expensive. For all their wonderful feeling and high price they do have a major drawback. They are great for protecting against unwanted pregnancy but they do not protect against disease. These condoms have tiny micro-holes in them similar to human skin. Sperm is denser than virus and bacteria. Sperm will not permeate the condom but tiny viruses and bacteria will.
This may come as a surprise, but like many items condoms do have an expiration date. If you are purchasing over-the-counter be sure to check that your box has not expired.
Let’s talk about Lubrication
Any woman who has had sex the first time and her partner used a non-lubricated condom will tell you the experience was not pleasant. There is a huge difference between a lubricated and non-lubricated condom. Some couples prefer to use a favorite lube and some do not need any additional lubrication.
A non-lubricated condom is great for oral sex although some may not like the latex taste. However, they can be used by those who are allergic to or have sensitivities to contents of some lubes.
Lubricated condoms are available with and without spermicides. There has been extensive research into the condoms with spermicides. While they may provide a little backup protection, they are not ‘guaranteed’ to prevent pregnancy. The reason is there is just not enough of the spermicide on the condom for it to be effective. Also, some women have sensitivities to the spermicide.
Does Size Matter?
When it comes to condoms, the answer is a definite YES. First, you want a condom to protect you and your partner. A condom that is too tight will probably break with vigorous activity. Add to that the pressure of copious ejaculation and you have a scenario for disaster. If the condom is too loose it will slip off during intercourse. If it is too short the man will be exposing part of his skin to biological secretions from the woman.
In recent studies it was learned that when a condom does not fit properly, men were twice as likely to remove it during sex as those who wore well-fitting condoms.
Sex is fun. Sex is pleasurable. Sex is exciting. Sex can be a dud if the condom does not fit properly. The head of the penis needs to have room within the top of the condom to move around and feel sensations. If it is too tight the man may feel like his circulation is being cut off and in some instances lose his erection all together.
Finding the right size is not trial and error these days. Just about all of the condoms you find on line will give the girth and length of the condom. If you know how to measure yourself, you can purchase a condom that is perfect. If you do not know how to measure yourself, let your partner help. Make it part of foreplay. It does without saying that the measurement must be taken during a full erection.
What’s your Pleasure?
There are now as many types of condoms as there are types of candy at confectioners. You may like lemon drops, chocolate creams or nut clusters. Each has a different taste or sensation in your mouth. And here is another bit of trivia for you, Up to 30% of women cannot achieve an orgasm alone by penile penetration. This is why manufacturers came up with the ribs, dots and studs to create more friction against her vaginal walls.
Many manufacturers make studded condoms which are supposed to give both partners more sensation as are the studded and ribbed. There are ultra-thin that give the man a more natural feeling. While they are thin they must go through the same rigorous testing as standard condoms. For those who desire a more exciting event, there are condoms that contain warming agents for both the man and woman. More heat means hotter sensations.
Using coloured, flavored or textured condoms can add spice to your love life. Be adventurous and spontaneous. If you are a woman who wants something a little different, be proactive and make the first move.
Lifestyle Condoms tells the public what it uses to create the warm and tingly feeling, but Magnum will not release that information. The magic ingredient in the Lifestyles Condoms is simple menthol. Some women complain about the feeling that the menthol causes. It can be a turn off for some but a turn on for others.
It is a sensitive subject but some men hit the ball out of the park during the first inning. There are condoms made especially for the man who finishes before he wants. These condoms have special formulas in the head of the condom what will deaden the glans or head of the penis so he can get more action in before orgasm. The head of the penis is the most sensitive part of the organ. Therefore, if sensitivity is lessened, the man will take longer to achieve an orgasm.
But there can be unwanted consequences of using climax control condoms. Some men will lose their erection due to the small amount of benzocaine or lidocaine in the top of the condom. And if any of the content gets on a woman’s vulva it may prevent her from having an orgasm.
Are all Condoms suitable for Vegans?
Vegans have chosen their lifestyles and they must choose their condoms wisely. A true vegan appropriate condom will be chemical-free, glycerin-free and paraben-free. This includes the lube that is used on the condom. The latex should be free casein which is a dairy-derived product that is commonly used in the manufacturing of latex condoms.
If you or your partner is a vegan you can be assured that any condom line that advertises its condoms are suitable for vegans will be selling condoms that have gone through that country’s strenuous testing. It will be just as safe as a regular latex condom.