Male condoms are probably the simplest and cheapest form of contraceptive known. It is a cylindrical device made of latex, polyurethane, and lambskin, individually packaged inside foil wrappers. Nowadays, condoms come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and even flavors.
By far, the most common shape is the reservoir tip, where a small space is found at the tip of the condom which lessens the likelihood of breakage. There are also non-reservoir tip condoms that are purely cylindrical in shape, and form-fitted ones that take on a contour shape, straight from the base, slightly enlarged at the front part, with a reservoir tip. Condoms also have some accessories to enhance the sensation in the part of your partner. Examples of which are the studded ones, the ribbed condoms with raised lines along the shaft, and the special shaped condoms with a pouch-like enlargement near the tip.
For those allergic to latex, polyurethane or lambskin condoms are recommended. Though thinner and has a longer shelf life compared to latex, polyurethane condoms have the tendency to break and cost more. So if you and your partner can use latex condoms, you probably should.
Most condoms are lubricated, either by oil or water, to lessen friction and breakage. If you have the tendency to engage in vigorous sexual activity, water-based lubricants are recommended, as oil lubricants may reduce the elasticity of latex condoms, and may slip off. Non-lubricated types are also available for those who are sensitive to lubricating fluids. Apart from lubricants, some condoms also contain a small amount of nonoxynol-9, a spermicidal compound which is effective at helping prevent pregnancy. However, recent studies have shown that it may not be as effective as other compounds in preventing HIV infection. Another substance added to some products is Benzocaine, which slightly numbs the penis and provides prolonged erection, touting the extension of sexual activity and prolonging partner’s satisfaction. Though most users report favorable outcomes, there are some who belie the advantages of this particular type of condom. To prevent the device from sticking when being rolled, cornstarch is dusted on it.
This contraception device is slipped on an erect penis and must be taken off immediately after use. It would help for those with active sexual life to have a box of condoms close at hand since it is used only once and must be discarded properly. For a price of less than $10 dollars per dozen and availability in every drugstore, convenience store, and supermarkets, supply of condom in the U.S. is not a problem. When handled and used properly, total efficacy of the device is achieved.
Though most international organizations have recognized the use of condoms in reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), a number of issues are still associated with the use of condoms and other contraceptives. One aspect related to condom use is personal preference. Some people profess dislike and discomfort in using this contraceptive device, preferring to go ‘natural all the way’. However, the prevalence of AIDS and other STDs have made condom use a required precautionary measure for every sexual act, even during oral sex. When used with other contraceptives, such as spermicide and pill, condoms are about 100% effective in avoiding pregnancies. Besides the comfort of piece of mind, many people find that by experimenting with different condom brands and styles, they can find a condom that fits them well enough as to not hamper the enjoyment of sex.
Among the more popular brands are Crown, Durex, Lifestyles, Viva and Trojan. Though most packages do not contain size information, a little research and practice would be sufficient for the user to determine the right type of condom for him. Typically most condoms fit most people, with a few people outside of the sizing for a typical condom.