Latex condoms are best if you?re not allergic as they are more reliable and most readily available. Latex condoms can be used with water based lubricants, but not oil based products such as Vaseline as this will break down the latex. A small number of people are allergic to latex and can use polyurethane instead.

Polyurethane condoms are made from a type of plastic. They are thinner and allow for greater feeling and appearance. They are more expensive and somewhat less flexible which may require more lubricant. Both water and oil based lubricants can be used with polyurethane condoms.

Spermicides and Nonoxynol 9
Condoms and lubricants sometimes contain a spermicide called Nonoxynol 9. There are risks associated with Nonoxynol 9 such as an allergic reaction which can cause irritation if used many times a day. If this occurs it should be discontinued as skin irritations can increase the risk of HIV or STD transmission.

What are the advantages of using condoms?
Condoms are the only contraceptive that helps prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease when used properly and consistently. Condoms have none of the medical side effects of many other birth control methods. Condoms are available in various shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. The variations in shape and design are intended to suit different personal preferences in order to enhance love making pleasure. Condoms are widely available in drug stores, convenience stores, supermarkets and even vending machines. Condoms are safe, inexpensive and simple to use. Like all forms of birth control, when used properly, condoms can be highly effective and have no side effects if not allergic to latex.

Disadvantages of using condoms.
The disadvantages are very few compared to other forms of birth control. Some individuals feel that a condom dulls sensation. Others feel that sexual excitement is diminished when love making must be interrupted to put on a condom. But many are able to overcome this inconvenience and learn to incorporate condom use as part of sex play. And most say they have better sex because they are able to focus on the enjoyment without worrying about unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

How to use a condom.
You need to use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse. Never use the same condom twice. Each condom package includes detailed instructions. Be sure to read, understand and follow the instructions before you use the condom. Check the expiration date and do not use if it is expired.

The condom should be put on before touching the penis to any place on the partners body. Practice makes perfect. It is best if both partners know how to put on and use a condom. This will make using a condom easier and more pleasurable, and condom use more effective.

Open condom packages carefully to avoid ripping or tearing. Always check to be certain the condom is appears to be in good condition. Condoms can deteriorate if not stored properly. If a condom feels sticky or very dry, it should not be used.

Condoms should be rolled over the tip of an erect penis. If the condom does not have a reservoir top, pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a small space to collect semen. Pull out the penis before it softens by holding the condom against the base of the penis to avoid spilling semen. Throw the condom away and do not reuse.

What if the condom breaks?
Sometimes condoms break. If you are aware the condom has broken during intercourse, immediately pull out and replace it with a new one. If the condom breaks and semen has leaked out, wash the semen away from the vulva or penis with soap and water. If the condom breaks and semen has entered the vagina, emergency contraception such as the morning after pill can prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.

Condoms protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Don?t be shy about protecting the one you love!

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