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Condoms regularly get a bad (w)rap. For starters, it can feel a little bit awkward buying condoms. There’s also the age-old myth that condoms reduce sensitivity during sex (don’t worry, we’ll debunk this in a sec). But all in all, the benefits of condoms far outweigh any cons, and because it’s National Condom Week, we figured we’d break down why condoms are actually awesome.

First off, let’s dive into the theory that condom usage results in decreased sensitivity during sex. According to data collected from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted at Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, this is totally false.

The study surveyed 1,645 people, ages 18-59, and reports little difference in sexual arousal, ease of erection, overall pleasure, and orgasm among participants that used condoms and participants that didn’t. All that to say, you can still have enjoyable sex while using condoms.

Now let’s address feeling uncomfortable or awkward when buying condoms. Although this is a shared experience for most people, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed for making an empowered decision to keep yourself and your partner safe during sex. Nonetheless, we understand that those feelings don’t just magically disappear. So to avoid that altogether, you can visit your local Planned Parenthood Health Center to get condoms. Our providers are experts in all things reproductive care and are available to provide judgment-free education on how to use condoms properly and talk about all the different types of condoms and what kind may be best for you. 

And yes, there are indeed many different kinds of condoms. The most widely known type of condom is the external condom, which comes in a variety of sizes, materials, textures, and even different flavors for use during oral sex. There are also internal condoms, which also provide  protection against STIs and pregnancy, but are placed inside a vagina or anus instead of over a penis like external condoms. Dental dams are another great way to protect against STIs—they’re a thin, flexible sheet of latex that can be placed over the vulva or anus during oral sex.  

Another great thing about condoms is they are the only birth control method that also prevent the spread of STIs. They create a barrier that can prevent the transfer of bodily fluids and skin-to-skin contact which is how most STIs are transmitted.

Overall, it’s clear that condoms are a great way to protect yourself and your partner/s against STIs and to prevent pregnancy, which means less stress and more fun for all parties involved. 

If you have more questions about how to use condoms properly, or are interested in learning about additional birth control methods, visit a local Planned Parenthood Health Center or call (714) 922-4100 to make an appointment