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Prevention is Key: Everything You Need to Know about Condom Use

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Remember back in middle school, giggling with friends as your sex-education instructor employed a banana to demonstrate how to use a condom?

Funny as it might have seemed back then, by now you probably know sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are no laughing matter, and condoms are a great way of preventing both.

Of course nothing is as effective and fail-proof as abstinence. But let’s be honest here — that’s no fun at all.

If you’re single and have an active sex life, condoms use is your best bet. They’re the only contraception that protects against sexually transmitted diseases by physically blocking the exchange of bodily fluids between partners. According to Planned Parenthood, a meta-analysis of 25 studies on HIV transmission found condoms to have an average efficacy rate of 87 percent against infection. And when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancies, WebMD reports condoms are 85 percent effective.

These nifty protective sheaths are usually made of latex and are available in both male and female versions. You can also choose from a variety of different styles. From ultra-thin, ribbed, flavored, or even glow-in-the-dark–if you’re feeling extra playful– there’s no end to the fun you can have while still being safe.

Regardless of your preference, there are a few “do’s and don’ts” that apply to condoms. Remember, they’re only effective if you use them correctly, so keep the following pointers in mind.

All About Condom Use

DO

1) Use a new condom each time you have intercourse and keep it on throughout the entire act.
2) Be careful when opening a packet. Using your teeth or fingernails can cause a tear in the condom.
3) Stop if you feel the condom break at any point during intercourse. Dispose of the damaged condom and put on a new one before resuming.

DON’T

1) No double-bagging. Some people think they’re being extra careful if they use multiple condoms. In reality, the friction is likely to cause them to tear and become ineffective.
2) Oil-based lubricants are no, no. These types of lubricants can damage condoms. Use water-based lubes instead.
3) Dispose if expired. This is a no-brainer, but any condom that is past its expiration date, brittle, discolored, sticky or damaged in any way should not be used.

And ladies, be a good girl-scout and always be prepared with a store of your own condoms. Never leave your safety in someone else’s hands.

As for the price-point: Each protective sheath will set you back about $1.

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