Condoms: Types, proper use, how effective are they?

Even though only abstinence from sex guarantees 100 percent protection from unplanned pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, Condom use has proven effective (guarantees 98 percent protection) and a more preferred method.

Even when compared to contraceptives involving the use of drugs, there’s a fear of a later adverse effect that favours the use of condoms. However, a good number of young and sexually-active Nigerians do not use condoms.  It could be that although young people might be aware of condoms, they are not properly educated on what they are, and the proper use of it.


What are condoms?

Condoms are coverings, usually made of latex or synthetic latex, worn on the penis or inserted into the vagina as a contraceptive against sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy, as they serve as a barrier that keeps semen and other body fluids out of the vagina, rectum, or mouth.

From the description, you’d find that there are two types of condoms: the external condom worn on the penis, and the internal condoms inserted into the vagina.

It’s advised not to use both types of condoms at the same time as using both could come in the way of pleasure, or cause a tear due to friction and defeat the purpose.

  • Latex Condoms

    They are so named because they are made of Latex. These are the more prevalent condoms and are thus, also called regular condoms. They effectively are able to prevent you from STDs during sex once they are properly worn around the penis, and protect against unplanned pregnancy. They are often coated with some lube to ease penetration. They are either water-based or oil-based. Water-based lubricant condoms offer better protection, as oil-based lubricant condoms are made with a product like petroleum jelly which can damage the condom and prevent it from working effectively. 

  • Fun Condoms

    These are a kind of novelty condoms made to make sex fun and to add some excitement. They include coloured condoms, flavoured condoms or glow-in-the-dark condoms. They are often not made to prevent STDs or unplanned pregnancy. Before using, confirm from the packaging if they can be used to protect against STDs and unplanned pregnancy.

  • Textured Condoms

    These are heightened stimulation condoms, they include, the ribbed, studded, and dotted types. They usually contain a special lubricant that creates a warm or tingling sensation that boosts sexual pleasure.

  • Spermicide-coated Condoms

    Some condoms are pre-coated with spermicide, a substance that kills sperms. They help reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy. However they are not really necessary as regular condoms if worn properly are enough to protect against unplanned pregnancy.

  • Lambskin Condoms

    These are the oldest types of condoms. They are made from the intestinal membrane of a lamb and are a contraceptive but do not prevent HIV transmission or protect against other STDs. They are sometimes preferred since they provide a natural feel.

Other types of external condoms include large, small or made-to-measure condoms that are produced to fit certain penis sizes.

Types Of Internal Condoms

Internal condoms aren’t as widely used as external condoms, they are either made of latex or synthetic latex. Uche Okafor, a public health pharmacist working with a One Stop Shop—Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS)—providing sexual health services, reports that the challenges associated with the use of female condoms are the difficulty in understanding how to properly wear them, and why external condoms are preferred since they are easier to use. He further illustrated the way to properly use internal condoms.


Tips for Proper Use of Internal Condoms

Internal condoms should be inserted before sex.

  • Make sure of the expiration date before opening
  • Then open the package and remove the condom
  • The condom should be held in a way that’d make the open end hang down
  • To ease penetration, spread lube around the outside of the closed-end
  • Squeeze sides of the inner ring to form a point
  • Gently insert squeezed ring into vagina as though you were inserting a tampon
  • Push it up as far as it can go, it should get past your pubic bone. Ensure the condom doesn’t get twisted in the process.
  • Guide your partner’s penis inside the condom
  • After sex and time for removal, hold and twist the outer ring, and pull out
  • Discard in Trash.


External condoms should also be used properly, if not, they might not be able to offer as much protection as they should. Here’s the proper way to use external condoms.


Tips for Proper Use of External Condoms

External condoms can be worn before or during sex.

  • You should confirm the expiration date before opening. Be careful when opening so you don’t damage the condom.
  • It should be worn when the penis is erected and before it touches your partner. And should be worn throughout the duration of sex.
  • Use a new condom for each round of sex.
  • Condoms usually have a reservoir tip for collecting semen, if the one you are using doesn’t, create one by pinching and slightly pulling the end.
  • If you feel a tear during sex, stop immediately, and change condoms.
  • Once you’ve ejaculated, gently pull out and ensure the condom stays on while doing so. Do this before you lose the erection.
  • Properly discard in Trash.


How Effective are Condoms?

“The effectiveness of condoms depends on how well they were used, you can still get infected with STD even if you used a condom because maybe, it wasn’t worn on time, and in the process of foreplay, the man’s precum–the little semen release that comes before ejaculation—comes in contact with a body fluid in the woman. However, when used correctly, condoms are 98% effective.”–Uche Okafor.

If used properly, condoms are a reliable method of protecting against STDs like HIV, Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. They are also reliable in the prevention of unplanned pregnancy.

Are there side effects?

Only in rare cases, do you find individuals who are allergic to latex. And such individuals could up for condoms made of polyurethane, nitrile and polyisoprene.

Condoms are the only contraceptive that also protect against STDs. And only latex condoms or those made of synthetic latex prevent STDs. Those made of lambskin can only help prevent unplanned pregnancy, they do not protect against STDs transmission.


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