There are lots of myths about male condoms. Make sure you know the facts before you use one.
- You have to be 18 to buy condoms.
This is not true. Condoms are available at any age and usually offered free of charge at LGBT friendly health centers and NGO’s across the country. These services also provide confidential advice and referrals.
You can also buy condoms from pharmacies and other shops whatever age you are.
- It’s safer if you use two condoms. Using two condoms is not better than one as they are more likely to break. It’s best to only use one at a time.
- Condoms break easily.
No, they don’t. You just need to put it on carefully and make sure there’s no air bubble at the end. During sex, be careful of sharp nails, jewelry or teeth.
If the condom won’t roll down, it’s the wrong way round. Throw it away and use a new one. Never try to turn a condom the other way round as there could already be semen on the tip (it’s sometimes released before ejaculation).
If a condom breaks and you’re not on PrEP [Pre-exposure prophylaxis], then go to a clinic, pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible and ask about PEP [post-exposure prophylaxis]. This means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected. It is important to do this quickly within 72hours.
You may also need to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- You need extra lube. Vaseline is good. No, it’s not. A bit of extra lubrication is good but don’t use anything with oil in it as it can dissolve the condom. That includes baby oil, Vaseline and hand cream. Lipstick has oil in it too. Use a water-based lubricant, such as KY jelly or Durex Play, from a pharmacy or supermarket.
- Condoms make me less sensitive. Using a condom doesn’t have to spoil the moment. In fact, they can make some men last longer before they come, which is good news for both partners. There are lots of different sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and flavors of condoms, so enjoy finding the one that suits you both best.
- Condoms cut off my circulation. No, they don’t. A condom can stretch to 18 inches round. There are lots of different shapes and sizes that you can try.
- If I ask to use a condom, my partner will think less of me. Insisting that you use a condom suggests that you know how to take care of yourself and your partner.
- You don’t need a condom if you’re having oral sex. Yes, you do. You should use a condom for oral sex because infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes can be passed on this way.
- I don’t need a condom – I only sleep with nice people. STIs don’t know or care if you’re nice or not. The way someone looks can’t tell you whether or not they have an STI. Lots of STIs don’t have any symptoms, so you could infect each other without even knowing it.
- If it’s a condom, it’s safe.
Not necessarily – novelty condoms aren’t always safe.
Always buy condoms from a reputable source.