It’s National Condom Week, a chance to remember the importance of condoms for preventing pregnancy AND STDs! In honor of National Condom Week, we answered some common condom questions.
Are some condom brands better than others?
When it comes to condoms, there’s so many choices it can be overwhelming but all condoms are pretty much the same. There’s a lot of different condom brands -- some you may have heard and others that may be new. However, there is no “best” brand to use. All condoms undergo the same testing to be sold in the United States and have the same level of effectiveness. So while some people may have a preference for one brand over another (which is fine), all condoms are effective. That goes for free condoms that you get through TeenSource or at a clinic -- free condoms are just as effective and of the same quality as the ones you might buy at a store.
What are the different types of condoms?
There are two main categories of condoms -- internal and external. Both offer protection against pregnancy AND STDs. Internal condoms go inside the body and external condoms go over a penis. There is only one brand and style of internal condom, but external condoms come in different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and materials. External condoms may also come with different types of lube on them. Lube helps reduce friction so many condoms have lube on them to help prevent breaking. All condoms offer the same amount of protection EXCEPT those made of lambskin. Lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs. If someone is allergic to latex, they can choose polyurethane condoms or condoms made from other materials, just be sure not to choose lambskin. Different shapes and textures (like ribbed, studded, etc.) are ways to make condoms interesting, but it comes down to personal choice. Condoms come in a range of sizes, but all condoms will fit a wide range of penises. It’s best to use the size that’s most comfortable, but because condoms are so stretchy, any size should fit!
When do condoms expire?
Condoms expire a few years after they are made. Each individual condom will have an expiration date on its package. It’s important not to use a condom past its expiration date. Also, if a condom has not expired, but has possibly been damaged, it’s best not to use it. Condoms can get damaged by being exposed to drastic temperatures (like being left in a hot car), going through the washing machine, placed in a wallet for more than a few days, being thrown in a bag with sharp objects, etc. Because lot of things can damage a condom, it is important to check the outside packaging before you use one. If the package shows any damage or does not still have an air bubble, you should throw it away. It is a good idea to have many condoms on hand, just in case. Here’s how you can get condoms for free from TeenSource.
What happens if you use an expired condom?
If you use a condom after the expiration date, it may not be as effective. The material of the condom and any lubricant on it could start to break down. It is also possible that an expired condom could cause irritation. This can put you at greater risk for pregnancy and STDs.
Are two condoms better than one?
NO! Only one condom should be used at any time! And don’t use an internal and external condom together. Using two condoms can cause extra friction and make them more likely to break. You can, however, use condoms in addition to another birth control method like the pill or an IUD.
Where can I find condoms?
You can buy condoms many places like the grocery store, corner store, gas station, Target, etc. You can also find free condoms near you!