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Condom myth busting: for safer sex

Posted in Sexual Health 25 Jan, 2013

Some myths are so ingrained in the human psyche that after a while they are considered to be true. Anything relating to sex often finds itself in this category. One of the most popular sex related myths believed by men and women, is the notion that using a condom during sex will make the act somehow less enjoyable. Such a belief has been turned on its head however, by a new study, which according to the Daily Mail concludes that both sexes enjoy sex just as much with condoms as they do without.

With the rise of STIs in the UK, a result of having unprotected sex, I can only hope that such findings will help perpetuate the importance of condom use and safe sex. Affecting your enjoyment during intercourse is unfortunately not the only myth linked to condoms. Below are just a few examples of the common misconceptions regarding these barrier contraceptives.

Using condoms affects my performance

According to the recent study conducted by Dr Debby Herbenick from the School of Public Health-Bloomington Indiana University, not only did those who participated in the online questionnaire claimed that using a condom did not affect their overall enjoyment during sex, but evidence found that men did not find it difficult to maintain erections, while putting the condom on. Likewise the questionnaire’s findings concluded that women were unable to tell if the condom was lubricated or not, thus showing that condoms in general do not hinder the performance or affect sexual intercourse.

Condoms are a waste of time. They break easily

If a condom is put on correctly it is highly unlikely to break. Figures show that less than 2% of condoms break when used correctly.

Condoms are the only contraception I need

Although condoms offer protection against pregnancies and STIs, they are still only 98% effective. To ensure that you and your partner have the best protection against these risks, it is recommended that additional contraception is used. There are a number of different types of contraceptives that are available including the pill, mini pill, injection, implant, or IUD, all which will provide effective protection when used in addition with a condom.

I don’t need condoms because I’m on contraceptives

A common misconception for women is that if you are taking hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, neither you or your partner need to use condoms. However, although the pill can protect you against pregnancy it will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

Likewise STIs like chlamydia often show no symptoms at all. According to NHS figures, 50% of men and 70-80% of women do not know that they are infected due to the lack of symptoms. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause infertility and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). Thinks that may affect the pills effectiveness include if you forget to take your pill, are sick or are using medications, such as ST Johns Warts or antibiotics, will put you at risk of pregnancy. Using barrier contraceptives like condoms therefore, can provide you with extra protection.

Oral sex does not require a condom

Although STIs are predominantly transmitted through sexual intercourse including vaginal and anal sex, some STIs like the herpes virus, chlamydia and gonorrhoea can also be passed from person to person through oral sex.

I can’t use condoms; I’m allergic to the latex

A well as latex condoms there are also polyurethane condoms, which work the same way and are just as effective if used correctly.

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