How Safe Are Condoms? 5 Condom Myths Debunked
Myth 1: Condoms Aren't Effective in Preventing Pregnancies
This is is just a lie. Condoms are one of the most effective forms of birth control out there. "You can even make them even more effective if you use a spermicide on them, which will literally stop sperm in its tracks," says Dr. McDonald-Mosley. You can also pull out (WITH THE CONDOM ON), she says, to further decrease the likelihood of getting pregnant.
Myth 2: Condoms Reduce Comfort
Actually, they can enhance your sex life. "People who use condoms rate their sexual experiences as just as pleasurable as people who don’t," says Dr. McDonald-Mosley.
But do you know what's not comfortable? Obsessing over whether or not you've contracted an STD or are accidentally pregnant after a sexual encounter. That stinks, and Dr. McDonald-Mosley says using condoms are "a good way to feel more relaxed about sex, and can take a lot of the worry out of the equation." She says she's even seen a rise in committed couples using them.
Myth 3: Two Condoms Are Better Than One
Just no. "Using one condom consistently and correctly is the best way to reduce your risk of pregnancy and STDs," says Dr. McDonald-Mosley. "In fact, putting on more than one condom at once may make them less effective," she adds. This is because the friction from doubling up can cause either one to tear. Two condoms at once is also a total waste of money.
Myth 4: Condoms Are Likely to Break
Think about this for a second. If they're so unreliable, why are doctors always recommending them? Condoms are a totally safe form of protection, but you have to use them correctly. There are things that will make a condom more likely to break, such as prolonged exposure to light, heat, and air, but Dr. McDonald-Mosley says that as long as you check their expiration date (printed on each individually wrapped condom), and make sure to use water or silicone-based lube, you should generally be fine. "Oil-based lube can lead to breaking down condom material, so steer clear of that," she says. And if a condom does break, she advises to ask your partner to pull out, and simply replace it.
Myth 5: Condoms Don't Protect Against STDs
"Using condoms correctly and consistently provides the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases," says Dr. McDonald-Mosley. When used correctly, condoms are 98-99% effective in protecting against HIV and other STDs. "Consistent condom use can save your life," says Dr. McDonald-Mosley. "When it comes to HIV, using a condom makes sex 10,000 times safer than not using one." Even with STDs that are mainly transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, such as Herpes or HPV, condoms can still provide valuable protection. Wrapping it up is such an easy way to protect your health.