Want to learn more about condoms? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about condoms — including where you can get them, for free. And if you haven’t heard about the female condom or, as we like to call it, the internal condom, this is your chance to satisfy your curiosity.
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CONDOMS
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONDOMS?
There are many, many types of condoms. Here’s what you should know about the most common types:
- Latex: Most condoms are latex. If you use lube with them, always choose one that’s water-based or silicone. Oil-based lubes will degrade the condom and cause it to break.
- Non-latex: These condoms are a great option if you’re allergic to latex. Just know that the lambskin variety of non-latex condoms block sperm, but won’t protect against STDs.
- Spermicide: These condoms include a gel that kills sperm.
- Internal condom (aka the FC2 or “female condom”): This non-latex condom can be inserted vaginally or anally. It’s a great option for people who have trouble with a traditional external condom or for people with latex allergies.
You can get a couple of these types when you use our condom order form!
WHICH STDs CAN BE PREVENTED BY USING A CONDOM?
A whole bunch! Condoms will protect you from gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, HIV, and any other STDs that are passed through genital fluids. Unfortunately, most traditional condoms won’t prevent skin-to-skin infections like herpes or HPV. However, the FC2 can offer some protection there, because its unique design actually covers up some of the vulva or the outer part of the anus, depending on where you’re using it.
HOW CAN I USE A TRADITIONAL CONDOM CORRECTLY?
Remember that condom on a banana demonstration in sex ed class? Turns out, it’s actually a pretty good guide for how to roll a condom on. But in addition to your rolling technique, there are a few things you can do to to use a traditional condom correctly.
First things first: Buy the right condom. Believe it or not, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. This website is a great guide for figuring out your condom size.
And we know you want to be prepared, but it’s not a great idea to store condoms in a wallet, back pocket, or loose in a purse. That’s because they’re easily punctured in those locations — and a punctured condom doesn’t do you much good. Instead, store your condoms in a cool, dry place, like a bedside table, cabinet, or even under your bed. And if you want to have one on the go, condom tins are a great option. You can find them online or in your local sex positive sex shop.
Condoms with holes are no good — and so are expired ones. Just like the food in your fridge, your condoms can go bad. So check the expiration dates on your condoms every once in a while and throw out any that are past their prime.
Lube it up! But, remember: Only silicone or water-based. Oil degrades latex and could cause your condom to break or even put tiny little holes that sperm and STDs can swim through, even though you can’t see them.
When you’re actually in the moment, be careful when you’re opening the condom. We know you’re in a rush to keep things moving, but you don’t want to tear the condom — that’ll slow things down even more. Also, make sure the penis is all the way hard before before putting the condom on. Otherwise, it could slip off again.
Sex can involve a lot of different acts. If you’re switching between vaginal and anal intercourse — or you just need a little break before you get going again — make sure to use a new condom. That protects you and your partner against any cross-contamination of fluids or bacteria.
And last — but certainly not least — when you’re finished, be sure to take the condom off properly. Hold the base, slide it down, and tie it off for proper disposal. This article includes illustrations on the right way to take off a condom.
WHAT’S THE FC2?
The FC2, or “female condom” (but we prefer “internal condom” because it’s not just used in vaginas and not all people with vaginas are women) is a great, latex-free option for vaginal and anal intercourse. It’s lubricated and hormone-free. It can be inserted into the vagina or anus right before penetration or several hours before sex, which is great if you don’t like interruptions. It also warms up to body temperature better than a latex condom, which means a lot of people think it feels even more pleasurable than a traditional condom.
Another awesome feature? Because of its design, the FC2 covers up more of the receiving partner (so, the person the penis is going into) than a traditional condom. That means it provides more protection against skin-to-skin STDs, like herpes and HPV, than a traditional condom does.
HOW DO I USE THE FC2?
It’s easier if we just show you.
SEEMS PRETTY GREAT. WHERE CAN I GET THE FC2?
Unlike a traditional condom, you can’t just get a FC2 over the counter. In fact, your doctor needs to give you a prescription, so give them a call to see if FC2 is right for you. If you don’t how to start the conversation, here are some great tips.
You can also buy the FC2 directly from the company’s website, without a prescription. But you will have to pay for it out of pocket. Also, if you use our form to order condoms, there will typical be one or two FC2’s in the package we mail.
HOW MUCH DOES THE FC2 COST?
If your insurance covers FC2 and you get a prescription from your doctor, you’ll pay nothing out-of-pocket. But if you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover FC2, it’s available for purchase on the official FC2 website — 12 condoms for only $19.95.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR USING THE FC2?
First of all, if you’re using an FC2, you don’t need to use a traditional condom too. Not only is that a “belt and suspenders” situation, you might actually cause friction and cause one or the other to break.
Speaking of breakage, lube is your best friend with the FC2! Because it’s made of synthetic nitrile, not latex, you can use any water or oil-based lube with FC2.
And this probably goes without saying, but if the FC2 breaks — or if the outer ring slips into the vagina or anus — it’s time to use a new one. Same goes for if you have sex again.