Wear A Condom: With Great Sex Comes Great Responsibility

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Surprise! Just kidding. Worried about this image becoming your reality? February 14th-21st is National Condom Week, AKA the perfect time to talk to your sexual partner or sexual partners about the importance of using love gloves to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs & STIs) and unplanned buns in the oven.

National Condom Week is a short 7 days, but condoms can be 98% effective year-round. Maybe unwanted pregnancy isn’t a risk in your sex life because of your sexuality, partner, menopause, or other personal reasons, but safe sex is still important to prevent your junk from getting funky (the aforementioned STDs & STIs).

February is also National Condom Month! Yes, it’s both National Condom Week AND Month because honestly, who can get enough of these genital balloons?!

Who celebrates National Condom Awareness? How? Well, besides your I Heart Guts fam, the National Coalition of STD Directors and the American Sexual Health Association celebrate #CondomMonth by getting the convo going on how to use a condom, how to talk to partners about condoms and safe sex, getting the right size condom, and more. We’re here to help, too.

birth control - types of birth control - condom awareness

What are condoms? How are condoms used? Whose idea was it to make them flavored? Why has your friend had one in his wallet since college? All great questions.

There are external condoms, internal condoms, and tongue condoms (not an April Fool’s joke). External condoms (sometimes called “male condoms”) are the most common, and when used correctly, they’re 98% effective. 

These are thin, protective sleeves that fit snugly over the penis or sex toy during sexual intercourse. It’s like a rubber glove for your long John. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles – just like penises.  

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These little guys are penis and testicle pins that you can wear as a reminder to protect yours. 

External condoms are placed on the penis when it becomes erect. These condoms work by keeping semen from entering the vagina. Semen is the fluid that contains sperm and is ejaculated by the penis. The condom is unrolled all the way to the base of the penis while holding the tip of the condom to leave room at the end for the semen. 

semen production - condom education - sperm diagram

If no space is left at the tip of the condom, there is a risk that the semen might leak down the sides. If there is too much air in the condom, there is a risk of the condom breaking or popping. Chances are, if you’re using a condom, you don’t want that to happen. 

External condoms are most commonly made of latex, but people with latex allergies (pretty common allergy unlike these rare diseases) can find latex-free condoms made of polyisoprene. Some common brands that offer latex-free external condoms include SKYN, Trojan, and Durex. Sexually active folks with latex allergies may also use internal condoms, sometimes known as female condoms, instead.

condom diagram - menstrual cycle - cycle meme

Internal condoms or female condoms are made of a nitrile (soft plastic) non-latex cover and a polyurethane (flexible foam) inner ring with a lubricant on both the inside and outside, like a slip ‘n slide. Internal condoms create a barrier inside the vagina that prevents sperm from reaching an egg and can be up to 95% effective.     

Wondering how to use internal condoms correctly? Planned Parenthood provides a helpful instructional video. Both partners don’t need to wear condoms, so if you’re using an internal condom, you don’t need an external condom, and vice versa. That’d be too much friction and not enough fun.

Lastly, tongue condoms (no, actually), also known as dental dams or cut open condoms, might be the least common, but are very important in preventing STIs when engaging in oral sex! How do you use a dental dam? Dental dams are placed between the mouth and the vagina or the mouth and the anus during oral sex. When engaging in oral sex with a penis, you can also use an external condom to protect you and your partner from STIs. 

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Instead of getting an STI or an 18-year commitment to a child, get yourself a penis neck pillow or a testicle plush toy. Sperm is made in your testicles, so set those little guys free without the life-long responsibility when you wear a condom. Want to learn more about sperm? Check out our Sperm Factory print, available as wall art, mugs, pillows, and more.

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You don’t need a prescription to buy condoms, and there are no age restrictions. You can purchase condoms from pharmacies, drugstores, convenience stores, doctor’s offices, and supermarkets. You can even buy condoms online, or get them for free from Planned Parenthood or other community health centers. More glove, more love!

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