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10 Things You Should DEFINITELY Know About Condoms

Hey, condoms may not always be what we "want" but they are definitely what many of us need.

Women's Health

Condoms. These days, I must admit, whenever I think about them in the context of pop culture, I'm pretty sure you know whose name immediately pops into my head. Without—eh hem—naming any names, you know, someone really can control the way their future turns out if they would simply choose to wear them more often. And actually, that's what this article is all about in a nutshell. While I was one day reading some semi-fascinating facts on condoms (like the fact that they were invented in 1855 and the first ones were made out of linen), I figured it would be cool to share some facts on this particular kind of birth control; especially since it's absolutely one of the best ways to prevent a pregnancy you may not want while also keeping you from getting a sexually transmitted infection (what you get before an actual disease) or disease (what you get once you've been properly diagnosed).

Not that any of the following points are earth-shattering information or anything. But since currently there are around 110 million people in America with an STI right at this very moment, the more you know about condoms, the better. Right?

So, let's hit 10 points about 'em real quick.

1. There Are over 10 Different Kinds of Condoms

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If you're not a big condom fan because, to you, they are synonymous with being boring AF, believe it or not, they do have an upside. Variety. In fact, there are actually more than 10 different types of condoms for you to choose from. There are flavored condoms (which should be strictly used for oral sex), ribbed or studded condoms (which can help you to have more intense vaginal orgasms), warming condoms (these are made of a thinning latex so that you and your partner can feel each other's body heat easier), Sensis condoms (long story short, they have ribs/strips that make it easier to put and keep a condom on), and even glow-in-the-dark condoms—and that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended)! So, if you want to switch things up, add some of these—and others—to your condom collection. Doing so might help you to see rubbers differently.

2. Condom Size DOES Matter

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I am floored by how many guys I know who don't know what size condom they wear. To them, all they need to do is walk into a drugstore, pick out a box and it's all good. Yeah…naw. Since penises come in a variety of sizes, wouldn't it make sense that rubbers would too?

It really wouldn't surprise me in the least if, one of the main reasons why a lot of people hate them is because the condoms they're using are too big or too small. That's why it's important to know which one best fits your man at all times. By the way, if he needs a little help, "Condom Size Chart to Help You Find the Right Choice" is a pretty informative read.

3. Condoms Can Last…for a While

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There are a lot of people in this world who keep condoms in their possession well past their expiration date (which is on the box, by the way). If you're wondering if you're one of them, if you've got some rubbers in a drawer somewhere and, for whatever the reason, you don't see it's "time's up" date, just keep in mind that condoms are able to last for about four years. Well, so long as they are stored in a cool, dry spot, that is. If it's been longer than that, toss 'em.

4. Female Condoms Aren’t Quite As Effective

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If you'd prefer to take matters into your own hands and want to go with a female condom (which is a lubricated pouch that's made out of synthetic rubber that you can put into your vagina up to eight hours prior to having sex), it's important to know that it's not as effective as a standard condom is. If you use it perfectly, it's 95 percent effective (not bad); however, on average, its success rate is somewhere between 72-85 percent. While you can get one without a prescription, it doesn't affect your natural hormone levels (like birth control pills do) and it's safe to use with both oil and water-based lubricant (which is pretty cool), due to the material that it's made out of it, it does tend to irritate quite a few vaginas and vulvas out here. Just so you're not one of them, you might want to speak with your doctor first if this is the route you want to take.

Oh, and if you've never used a female condom before and you're wondering how to get one up into your body, it's a lot like using a menstrual cup. The condom itself comes with a soft and flexible ring around each end and, when you insert it inside of you, it helps to keep sperm from going up into your body and coming into contact with your uterus. You can see a brief instructional video on how to use it here.

5. There Is Absolutely No Point or Purpose in “Double Bagging”

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While there used to be a time when condoms only covered the head of a man's penis (I'm pretty sure you can guess how well that went), avoiding having too little coverage is not a good reason to go overboard. In other words, you are not "super protected" by having your man put on two condoms. Not only does that make sex less pleasurable for him and possibly more vaginally irritating for you, but you also significantly up the chances of either one of the condoms breaking, or worse, one of them getting stuck inside of you. Yeah, take a total pass on the double bagging whole double bagging thing. It's useless.

6. You Don’t Have to Go to the Drugstore If You Don’t Want To

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Do you hate to go out shopping for rubbers? Yeah, I used to hate doing that too. These days, you can easily order them online, though. Companies like LELO HEX, Undercover Condoms and Condom Depot all have an impressive variety of condoms, at good prices, that ship quickly—and very discreetly.

7. Women’s Pleasure Isn’t Affected by Condom Use (Sort Of)

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OK, this one is a little tricky. On one hand, while there are studies out in cyberspace that emphatically profess that condoms have no barring on a woman's sexual pleasure, there are articles like, "Women Don't Like How Condoms Feel Any More Than Men Do" that claim "not so fast". Personally, I think a lot of factors play into all of this. Is the "woman in question" allergic to latex (if so, there are safe and effective alternatives)? Does the condom fit correctly? Is there some sort of psychological barrier that makes her think that sex with a condom is automatically worse than sex without?

I will say that I do think that anyone who is trying to get as close to their partner as possible, in every way, would probably prefer to go without using a rubber. But when you stop and think about the fact the condoms prevent unplanned pregnancies, STIs/STDs, and can actually help a man to last longer in bed, it seems to me that using them is more pleasurable because they can maintain the quality of life you want and help you to have orgasms more often. (Here's hoping, anyway.)

8. There Are a Few Ways to Make Condoms Feel Better to Him

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If your man is not a condom fan because he doesn't like the way it feels (in one interview, a guy told me that condoms feel like shaking someone's hand with a baseball glove on your own), there are two things that can make it better on his end. First, putting no more than a couple of drops of silicone-based lubricant in the reservoir tip of the condom can keep it from feeling dry (and more like he's inside of you without any barrier). Also, it can help for you and yours to try out different brands and textures of rubbers. A good starting point would be Men's Health's feature, "The 10 Best Feeling Condoms for Pleasure".

9. Yes, Magnums Are an Ego-Boosting Joke

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Two marketing ploys that people totally fell for are diamond engagement rings (you can read more about that here) and Magnum condoms. As far as Magnums go, I think every woman who's ever had protected sex before has been with a man who believes he's "worthy" of rockin' a Magnum. Why does this bring guys so much pride and joy? It's because they were fooled into thinking that they are for men with big packages when the reality is, only the XL ones apply to men who are "above average" (which is around 5" erect). When it comes to all of the other types of Magnums, they can basically accommodate five inches or more which isn't actually about a member that is "unusually great in size", like the word "magnum" suggests. Yep, the jokes on you, fellas. Sorry.

10. Less Folks Are Using Condoms Than You’d Probably Think

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Even though, when used correctly, condoms are around 98 percent effective (we're human, so, on average, they are actually around 85 percent effective), surprisingly, only about one-third of people use them. Yep. You heard me right. Several years back, when some researchers interviewed 11,300 women and more than 9,300 men, they discovered that only 24 percent of women and 34 percent of men put a rubber on during their last sex session.

Again, while I get why and how condom-less sex is probably the preferred sex of choice, there is simply no way around the fact that if you want to not have a kid right now, you want to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease or you want to have sex with someone before getting each other's test results (try and avoid that, please), a rubber is gonna be your best bet. You can literally feel better about using them if you take all of these points into consideration before picking a box out. Making this present decision is something that your future will thank you for. Unlike some other people's…futures (wink, wink).

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