By Philip Ellis
Urologist and pelvic surgeon Dr. Rena Malik makes accessible YouTube content with the goal of helping people have a healthier sex life. In a recent video, she breaks down some of the most pervasive myths and misconceptions surrounding condoms, and explains everything you need to know in order to make an informed choice about contraception in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
Condoms are “unreliable”
“When used correctly, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases,” says Malik. “However if you are not using it correctly, it could break, reducing the efficacy to 92 percent.”
She explains that you should always check the expiration date on a condom wrapper before using it, and clarifies that condoms only work against STDs which are transmitted via bodily fluids and not others which can be transmitted by touch.
All condoms are uncomfortable
If you or your partner are experiencing discomfort while wearing a condom, says Malik, it is possible that you are using the incorrect size. “Having a poor fit has been associated with decreased pleasure, having issues with erections, and breakage of the condom itself,” she says.
Condoms don’t require lube
Malik advises using lubricant on the penis both before and after applying the condom can help to reduce any discomfort and increase pleasure for both parties. “You want to use either water-based or silicone-based lubricants,” she says. “Do not use oil-based lubricants because those can cause breakage of the condom.”
Size doesn’t matter
“In this case, size does matter,” says Malik. “If the condom is too small, it’s more likely to break. If it’s too large, it might fall off.” While the average sized condom (two inches in girth and seven inches in length) will fit the large majority of users, Malik notes that this won’t be the same for everybody.
Two condoms are better than one
This is a popular myth, but it simply isn’t true, and in fact, using two condoms simultaneously will actually hinder the likelihood of either of them working properly.
You don’t need a condom if using birth control
“This is only true if you are in a monogamous relationship and are not concerned about getting sexually transmitted infections,” says Malik. She adds that there is also the risk that a partner might forget to take their birth control pill, increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Condoms don’t expire
Condoms last between three to five years, but can deteriorate over time, which is why it’s important to check both the expiry date on the packaging as well as checking the condom itself for breakages before using.
This article was first published on Men’s Health US.