are condoms enough protection?

Question: Is it good enough for my partner to wear a condom during sex without another kind of protection, like birth control pills? Is this 100% safe?

Answer:  Most of the time it is. But some teens decide to use another type of birth control, like the pill, for added protection.

But what is this added protection for? You don’t need to worry about sperm sneaking through your condom. There might be a million of the little swimmers in every drop of semen, but there is no risk that one will penetrate your prophylactic! What you should be aware of is the possibility of a broken condom (or of course, a forgotten one…).

So what can cause breakage?  Mainly human error. This isn’t so hard to understand when you picture a nervous couple, fumbling in the dark with a slippery little device that they can hardly see.  Now picture them doing the same thing after a few beers.  You get the picture.

Here’s a few things to do keep your condom intact, instead of in pieces:

  • If you’re planning on having sex, skip the substances.
  • Keep the lights on, at least until condom is confidently in place.
  • Look at the condom’s expiration date. Just like milk and medicine, condoms can pass their prime.
  • Make sure the condoms stays lubricated. Dry condom plus dry vagina can equal friction and lead to a break.
  • Only use a water-based lube with latex condoms. KY-Jelly and Astroglide are good bets. Anything with oil, like Vaseline, moisturizer or Canola, are not.
  • Check the condom during sex to make sure that it is still in one piece.
  • Practice putting on a condom before you have sex to make sure you know how it’s done.

When used properly (which means wearing and removing it correctly, and putting it on before the penis touches the vulva or vagina) a latex condom is over 98% effective at preventing pregnancies. If that number isn’t good enough for you, or if you are concerned about a condom breaking, then definitely consider using a back-up method.

Posted in: Ask an Expert, Health, Sex & Relationships, Hooking Up
  • courtney

    i dont think condoms are 100% safe. not having sex is the best protection. but if ur gonna have sex u should always use a condom

  • Kristie

    A condom breaking is possible. ALWAYS remember that it can happen to you.
    It's happened to me, and it was the scariest most stressful thing.
    I would use a back up birth control.

  • megan

    Me and my boyfriend want to be extra safe so im on birth control and he uses a condom, so we dont really have to worry. Its a lot less stress.

  • stella

    And make sure neither of you is allergic to latex! Durex Avanti and Trojan Supera are good alternatives. Also, they're less irritating in general.

  • shelley Wright

    You should also add that non water bases oils used for lubrication makes rubber in the condom rot,which can also lead to infection.

  • Piney

    You should also add that doubling up on condoms is a bad idea, because I know some people who think two condoms equals double the protection.