​Top Condom Questions and Answers in 2020

​Top Condom Questions and Answers in 2020

At first we were going to limit the Q&A to the Top Five Condom Questions, but in researching we discovered that depending on age there were a plethora of inquiries. We are giving you the top questions, but we are also giving you some inquiries that will give you a lot of information.

Q. What’s the deal with condoms? They are relatively new, so what does this have to do with me?

First, condoms are not new. They have been around for centuries. They may not have been made of the same materials as those today, but they were important to men as far back as ancient Egypt. There have been recorded hieroglyphs and tomb paintings showing the use of penis covers. Mostly they were made from animal intestines and some were fabric. But they were there.

Inside the Temple

Why were they important? Early on condoms were used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, only the upper class could afford them. Then scientists determined that condoms could prevent the spread of diseases. In early times it was not unusual for the gentry to have mistresses or to frequent brothels. The last thing they wanted was to bring a disease back to their sainted wives who were the mothers of their children. So the rich had protection.

Then condoms became more affordable. During the World Wars men were sent into battle with their own stashes. Military officials wanted to protect their men when they came into contact with loose women when they were far from home.

Not to belittle your question, but anyone who can read should know that a condom is a superior method of birth control and it is the only protection you have against acquiring an STD including HIV/AIDS. Disease is not something that happens to other people. Both men and women from all economic backgrounds are diagnosed with STDs every year. Because these are sneaky bacteria, old strains that were killed off by antibiotics have now morphed into new strains that are anti-biotic resistant.

If you care about your present and future health, you will use a condom for all casual sexual contacts including vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Q. How effective are condoms?

When using a male condom, the man has to have the right fit and use the correct lubricant. With those parameters, as a birth control method, if used correctly every time a couple has sex, a condom is 98% effective. This means that in a year’s time, if 100 couples used condoms each and every time they had vaginal sex – and used the condom correctly – two women would become pregnant.

Male Lion

Condoms can be up to 95% effective in the prevention of HIV. To explain further, among 10,000 uninfected women whose partners have HIV, if each couple has vaginal sex just once and has no additional risk factors for infection, on average:

  • If all 10,000 did not use condoms, about 10 women would likely become infected with HIV.
  • If all 10,000 used condoms correctly, 1 or 2 women would likely become infected with HIV.

These numbers should include anal sex as well as vaginal sex. The skin in the anal passage is very fragile and can tear. STIs can be easily spread through anal sex. In fact, anal sex is the riskiest form of sex for getting HIV/AIDS. Using a condom for oral sex can protect both parties not only from the typical STDs, but may prevent a person from becoming infected with the human papillomavirus.

Q. Can a man use two condoms to be extra-safe?

The short answer to this question is a definite ‘no’. The reason is that the condoms will rub against each other and will certainly fail.

If a man is considering this concept for anal sex, purchasing an extra-strong condom that is made expressively for anal sex would be the best option.

Q. How common is a latex allergy?

Sensitivity to latex really is quite rare. However, if you or your partner have reactions to items like latex gloves, it would be wise to purchase non-latex condoms. A mild reaction involves redness, itching, rash, or swelling of the skin that comes in contact with latex rubber. A severe reaction involves hives or rash over much of the body, dizziness, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness after coming in contact with latex.

Forearm showing Capillaritis

In today’s market place there are several options for non-latex condoms. If you and your partner are using a condom for the prevention of pregnancy only, then you may want to consider a lambskin condom. But be forewarned, lambskin condoms will not protect you from any sexually transmitted diseases.

Polyisoprene condoms combine the strength provided by traditional latex condoms with the sensitivity of the thinnest condoms available. Even those without latex sensitivity may want to consider them. Most do not have the heavy latex odor. There are also polyurethane condoms. One of the major benefits is that you are able to use your choice of water-based or oil-based lubes.

Q. Can’t condoms make a man impotent?

This false concept may have been begun by a man who just didn’t want to wear a condom and told his partner that if he had to, he would not be able to get or maintain an erection.

Let’s cover the concern about getting an erection. A man cannot properly put on a condom without an erection. If he can get an erection thinking that he is not going to use a condom, he can get an erection when he is pressed to wear one.

There are those men who do, on occasion, lose their erections when they put on their condoms. This can happen to older men who lose some of the sensations. Experts say that using more lubricant can help in this instance.

Impotency can be a serious problem for many men. Sometimes the cause is psychological and other times it is actually physical. Condoms do not cause impotency. If a man believes he is having problems, his first step would be to see his urologist.

Those are the major concerns about condoms. Below are some questions that have been asked that may relate to a narrower audience.

Q. Can condoms protect against genital herpes?

Condoms can protect against genital herpes as long and the condom is long enough to cover any exposed skin. If there is skin that is left bare, the protection may fail.

Q. Does the female condom offer the same protection as the male condom?

Absolutely. Studies show that female condoms are as effective at protecting against HIV as male condoms. Female condoms are made of nitrile, which is an effective barrier to HIV. However, like the double condom question, you would not want to use a male condom and a female condom at the same time.

Q. Will adding a spermicide in addition to the lube help protect against HIV?

Actually, the opposite is true. Some women have sensitivities to spermicides. When this happens the walls of the vagina can become raw and irritated. This makes the women even more susceptible to contracting HIV.

Q. Do partners who both have HIV need to wear condoms?

Condoms also protect against exposure to different types, or strains, of HIV. Re-infection or superinfection with a new strain of HIV may make the disease progress more quickly and may require the use of medicines different from the ones used to treat the original strain.

3D render virus cells.

Q. How should I store condoms?

Condoms should always be stored in a cool, dry place. Heat is the enemy. Excessive or extensive heat can make the latex brittle and it will no longer stretch. Do not even think about keeping them in the glove box in your car.

Stuart Brown
Doctor of Sexual Health at the NHS Royal London Hospital & Relationship Expert. Columnist at An advocate of safe sex. Avid Arsenal fan.

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