Remember, abstinence is the BEST way to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because not having any type of sexual contact is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. But, if someone chooses to have sex, then condoms are important to protect against pregnancy and STDs. And you can find condoms for FREE near you or some people may even be able to get them in the mail!
MYTH: Condoms are only for heterosexual sex.
FACT: Condoms can be used by anyone. While it’s true that condoms can be used for heterosexual vaginal sex, they can also be used for other types of sex. External, or male, condoms go on a penis and can be used for oral, vaginal, or anal sex with a penis. There is another type of condom called internal condoms, or female condoms, that go inside the body. The internal condom, sometimes called the female condom, goes inside the body to protect against pregnancy and STDs. It can go inside the vagina for vaginal sex or inside the anus. Internal condoms can be harder to find than external or male condoms, but you can find a clinic near you to get internal condoms! Condoms work by creating a barrier between bodily fluids of two people. There is also a dental dam that can be used for oral sex on a vagina or anus. Barrier methods are important to protect yourself from STDs during any type of sex!
MYTH: Someone who has condoms is having sex.
FACT: Just because someone has condoms, it doesn’t mean they are having sex. It means they are taking control of their health. Condoms often do not expire for years, so it’s smart to keep them on hand just in case you decide to have sex in the future or if a friend needs them! If someone has condoms, they may have received them as a gift from a parent, sibling, family member, or friend who wanted to be sure they were safe if they choose to have sex. So, if someone has condoms on hand, it just means they know that sometimes people have sex!
MYTH: Condoms are uncomfortable.
FACT: Condoms come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. What works for one person may not work for another person. People should be sure to use the correct size and just like fashions, not every style works on every body! You can try different condoms until you find your favorite! And don’t forget, if someone does not want to put a condom on their penis, they can use an internal condom for vaginal or anal sex!
MYTH: Condoms don’t work that well anyway so what is the point?
FACT: Besides abstinence or not having sex, condoms are the best method to protect against STDs. Some people have had an experience of condoms breaking or slipping off. Others may tell you condoms are not effective. BUT, the internal condom is over 79% effective at preventing pregnancy and the male condom is over 85% effective at preventing pregnancy. Practicing and using a condom correctly every time you have sex can make them more effective.
MYTH: The first step in putting on a condom is to check the expiration date.
FACT: The first step in putting on a condom is to get consent! Someone has to have permission, or consent, to have sex with someone else. Make sure you are talking to your partner before you have sex. (After you have consent, it’s a good idea to check the expiration date – condoms DO expire. And they should be stored in a room temperature place like a drawer or bedside table and not in a wallet or glove compartment.)
MYTH: If I am on birth control, I don’t need to use a condom.
FACT: Other methods of birth control – like pills, rings, IUDs, and the implant – do not protect against STDs, they only protect against pregnancy. So it is safe & smart to use condoms every time you have sex! Condoms and birth control work GREAT together! If you are interested in another method of birth control, you can find a clinic near you!
The bottom line is that condoms are important to use EVERY TIME you have sex to prevent against pregnancy AND STDs! It is also smart to have them on hand even if you’re not having sex. This National Condom Week, find free condoms near you!