We all know what condoms are, right? An effective barrier when used correctly and consistently against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, they should be a staple of your sexual routine, whether or not you’re in a long-term relationship or something a little more casual.
The problem is, there’s so much information online about condom usage that it’s hard to differentiate fact from fiction. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the questions you are asking about condoms.
When were condoms invented?
The Bronze Age
Condoms have taken on many forms over the course of history, and they’ve been around a lot longer than you probably thought. In fact, the first known documentation of the condom was in 3000 B.C and King Minos of the Bronze Age.
Minos was said to have serpents and scorpions in his semen and in order to protect himself and his partners, the bladder of a goat was introduced into the woman's vagina which protected from disease.1
The Ancient Egyptians became one of the first civilizations to use sheaths. These were generally made from linen with some men even wearing colored sheaths to show their social status within their communities.1
Condoms, in their current state, began to be mass-produced as early as 1860 and had been made from intestines and bladders. Of course, these swiftly became outdated and latex was invented in the early 1920s, revolutionizing the condom.
What is a male condom?
There’s no trickery involved in this question. A male condom is exactly what you would expect it to be. It’s a thin, stretchy covering that a man wears on his penis during sexual activity. The difference comes when we start discussing female condoms.
What is a female condom?
Yes, a female condom is a real thing and it’s definitely not as well-known as its male counterpart. A female condom is a similarly stretchy contraceptive device that is actually inserted within the vagina before intercourse. You may have heard it referred to as a femidom. It’s important to note however that a female condom is not as effective as a male condom.
How should a condom fit?
Condom size is a problem for many men, simply because their erection could be too big or too small for the size of condom they have chosen. The majority of standard-sized condoms are manufactured to ensure a comfortable fit no matter what the penis size, however there are a few things to look out for.
The condom should comfortably fit on the penis so that it won’t easily fall off during sex, but it shouldn’t be so tight that it starts to cause discomfort. A tight condom can make it harder for a man to maintain an erection and impact the blood flow to the penis. If after intercourse there appears to be a line where the condom has applied too much pressure, it’s probably a sign that he needs to find a bigger size.
Do condoms prevent STIs?
Condoms lower, they do NOT eliminate, the risk of passing STDs from one person to another. This is when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions including following the expiration date and lubrication requirements.
When it comes to individual STDs, the rate of protection depends on the infection. For instance, HPV can still be transmitted whilst wearing a condom as it can impact areas which aren’t covered by it; the scrotum for example. HIV protection is almost 100% when wearing a condom during intercourse.
Do condoms prevent pregnancy?
When used correctly and consistently, condoms can have a 98% success rate at stopping pregnancy. To put that another way, out of 100 women, 2 will become pregnant when their partner uses a condom correctly and consistently.
This number rises to 18 out of 100 when a condom is used incorrectly. By incorrectly, this includes a condom being used that could be beyond its expiration date, has been subjected to extremes of temperature or is ill-fitting.
Condoms, outside of abstinence, still remain the most effective way to avoid any unwanted surprises and should be worn whenever you’re having sex.
Do condoms reduce pleasure?
This is all down to personal opinion, but condoms can actually enhance pleasure by providing a smooth and ultimately comfortable sexual experience. K-Y® Extra Lubricated Condoms are lubricated for a smooth feeling without sacrificing durability.
These latex free condoms are suitable for those suffering from a latex allergy and mean you can enjoy being in the moment with your lover.
What is the best way of storing condoms?
We’ve all seen movies and TV shows where a person keeps their stash of condoms in their wallet or purse, but this may not be the best place for you to keep them. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to storage.
The issue comes when condoms are subjected to extremes of temperature and pressure. This can reduce the effectiveness of the condom, resulting in a product that may not protect you as well as you’d be expecting.
Wherever possible, store your condoms in a place that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature and in an environment where the product won’t have too much pressure exerted on to it. The K-Y® range of condoms comes in a handy storage box. K-Y condoms should always be placed in a cool and dry environment.
When getting ready for sex, be sure not to rip the condom wrapper with your teeth. It’s a common mistake that could result in a tiny tear within the material, leaving you more vulnerable to STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Be sure to read and follow all instructions.
 Khan, Fahd, Mukhtar, Saheel, Dickinson, Ian K, Sriprasad, Seshadri “The story of the condom” US National Library of Medicine, January 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649591/
 Jaret, Peter “Condoms: A Virtual Orgy of Sizes, Shapes, and Tastes” WebMD, December 16 2009 https://www.webmd.com/men/features/condoms-virtual-orgy-sizes-shapes-tastes#3
 “The Hard Facts on Condoms” WebMD, August 24 2017 https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-condoms#2