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Safe and Secure: Guide to Condoms

Condoms are a barrier contraceptive device. They are 98% effective in the prevention of pregnancy and preventing the sexual transmission of disease when used properly. Most condoms are made from latex or polyurethane. Some condoms are made from lambskin, but are considered to be ineffective because they are porous.

Condoms have been in use for over 3,000 years. There is some speculation that the earliest uses for condoms were ritualistic and may have been used to protect the wearer from evil spirits. These ancient condoms were made from animal intestines. In Japan in the 19th century condoms were made from leather, tortoise shells and horns. In the United States, condoms were available by prescription from 1873-1936 when the Supreme Court made a decision that allowed condoms to be available to the public.

Condoms sometimes slip or break due to incorrect handling or application. Many condoms come in different sizes as some studies suggest that larger penises and smaller condoms have a higher instance of breakage, but lower instances of slippage. These studies are inconclusive due to variables involved. Most condoms will fit most penises regardless of their size.

Latex condoms are the least expensive type of condom. Latex has been shown to provide the greatest protection against STDs, but is also known to cause an allergic reaction for many people. If you develop itching and or a rash after using a latex condom you should switch to a polyurethane condom. Bear in mind that if you also used a spermicidal called nonoxynol-9, this may also have been a culprit in creating an itchy rash on contact.

Polyurethane condoms are a bit more expensive than latex, but are easier to store and last longer. They are not sensitive to UV light or temperature. Another advantage to the polyurethane condom is that you can use oil or water based lubricants with them. Latex condoms may not be used with an oil based lube as this will damage them.

Aside from the differences in materials, condoms also offer an even larger variety of colors, textures, sizes and even flavors. You may have to try out several different types before you find the right condom for you and your partner. Sexual satisfaction can require a lot of intensive study, but this type of experimenting will be much more fun than biology lab used to be.

French ticklers suggest that they are exotic and unique, but do little to enhance a sexual situation. Nubbed condoms optimize the friction created during intercourse; this is a very popular feature for many condom users. Ribbed condoms are often met with enthusiasm by many women and others say they do not notice any difference. Some condoms glow in the dark or come in a variety of bright colors.

Flavored condoms can be used to make safer oral sex more enjoyable. Some tips for enhancing the use of a condom during oral sex would be to add some lubricant to the inside of the condom when using one during oral sex. This will make the sensation of fellatio more natural feeling for your partner. You can place a condom over the penis with your mouth either for oral sex or just to make its application before intercourse sexier and more fun. Place the condom behind your teeth, then with your mouth place it over the head of the penis. With your lips pressed tightly around the shaft of the penis, unroll the condom with your tongue. If you have trouble with this, unroll it a little bit with your tongue and finish the unrolling process with your hand.

To place a condom over a penis with your hand, you will gently pinch the top half inch or reservoir of the condom between your fingers. With the other hand, roll the condom down the shaft to the base of the penis. Smooth out the air bubbles and release the tip. Apply lube if you are not using a lubricated condom.

Condoms offer a variety of other uses besides birth control and prevention of disease transmission. They should be used on sex toys to protect against bacterial growth, especially if they are shared with more than one partner. Condoms also make nifty water bombs -- if you want some more playful ideas. The military has found many creative uses for condoms from storage to makeshift weaponry. The bottom line is that keeping a few condoms around just seems to be a good idea.

This guide was written by Justine Case, Sex Toy Connoseur