Condoms – More Than Just Birth Control
A condom is a very thin latex sheath that is unrolled over an erect penis, covering it completely. Condoms provide double protection; they protect against unwanted pregnancies but also against sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs/STDs).
How To Use The Male Condom Correctly?
Condoms have an expiration date. Always check it before use and make sure that the packaging is not damaged or opened. When opening the package, make sure you don’t damage the condom.
For optimal condom use, softly pinch the small reservoir (located at the tip of the condom) between your thumb and forefinger to expel any air. This could burst during intercourse. Then unroll it all the way to the base of the penis. Placed correctly, the condom slips easily over the erect penis. If it gets stuck, is not lubricated enough or does not unroll properly, it is better to use a new one. The male condom collects sperm during ejaculation and prevents the passage of sperm into the body. This prevents fertilization and transmission of STIs/STDs between the two partners.
After ejaculation and while the penis is still erect, remove the condom with one hand. With the other hand, hold the condom at the base of the penis to prevent sperm from leaking out. Tie it and throw it in the garbage can, not in the toilet bowl. A new condom should be used for each intercourse. Never put two male condoms on top of each other.
Whether it is a male or female condom, its effectiveness depends on its correct us. Only if used according to the instructions will it be 80% to 90% effective. Condoms are available over the counter in pharmacies.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Incorrect use or breakage during use can result in contraceptive failure.
Studies show that the failure rate is about three pregnancies per year for every 100 women.
“According to statistics in Togo, the rate of young users of sexual and reproductive health services is 11.5%. The use of contraceptive methods allows young people to fully enjoy the right to responsible sexuality while having control over their life plans, mainly studies,” says Hayathe Ayeva. She is the Young Focal Point of Family Planning 2020/UCPO in Togo and the national president of the Youth Action Movement (MAJ ATBEF/TOGO).
In Togo, as in several other countries, several associations promoting sexual health organised awareness-raising activities in schools, markets and on the sidelines of events for the general public before the Covid 19 pandemic. These were occasions for the distribution of male and female condoms.
“Unlike a few years ago, people are more comfortable with condoms and it’s fair game. At the same time, there are rare instances where some people are downright reluctant, mainly in rural communities. Unwanted pregnancies and cases of STIs/STDs are more prevalent in these areas. This is due to religious prohibitions, myth that using condoms makes men infertile and the belief that offering condoms to young people is equal to encouraging sexual depravity,” explains a voluntary agent of ATBEF TOGO (Association togolaise pour le bien-être familial).
Indeed, the male condom simultaneously protects both partners from the risk of unwanted pregnancy and STIs/STDs. It is not expensive and you can easily find it in stores and in pharmacies without a prescription. They are available in different sizes and different shapes (for example, granulated, scented and heated).
A pharmacy saleswoman confides: “More and more young people are coming to buy condoms. But, there is always that little annoyance that sometimes makes customers almost whisper in your ears to avoid prying eyes ”. Slipping the condoms into her bag, a client said, “There is no shame in having a condom with you. It can always come in handy in case my partner doesn’t have one. Against STIs/STDs and surprise pregnancy, we protect ourselves,” she says.
Pleasure and Safety
In prostitution circles, sex workers often offer their clients condoms. “Some clients refuse condoms, arguing that it reduces the pleasure. For me, I have a life after sex work and I save myself,” said one of them. This is the case of this man who came to use the services. He says: “The condom reduces pleasure. But, I am aware that I am risking my life for a few minutes of intense pleasure ”.
On the other hand, the condom can be torn, badly placed, positioned too late, can get stuck in the vagina, or be damaged or expired. A condom accident could occur while your partner is not taking the pill. Immediately go to a pharmacy to take emergency contraception or the morning after pill.
For optimal protection, you should use another method of contraception. For example, daily pills or spermicides, in addition to the condom.
Sexual fulfillment requires the right of men and women to have full control over their bodies and to choose when to have a child. There are several methods of contraception including condoms. It is up to each partner to choose which one suits them best.
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About the author: Brenda Etsey is a journalist from Togo, with experience in sexual and reproductive health. Through her work, she promotes the right of all women to a healthy and fulfilling life, especially in matters of sexuality and access to quality healthcare.