Safer Sex Practices
Internal condoms are non-latex and non-hormonal sheaths designed to provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. They are 95% effective with perfect use and 75% - 82% effective with typical use.
Things to Know:
The expiry date is indicated on the fold of the package. Internal condoms can be inserted up to 6-8 hours in advance of sexual activity. They provide the same level of STI protection as external condoms. However, they should not be used with an external condom. Internal condoms should be stored in a cool and dry place for optimal effectiveness.
Water-based lube is versatile and safe for use with both latex and non-latex condoms, as well as with silicone toys. It may also decrease the risk of condom breaking and is easier to clean up. Water-based lube also won't stain sheets.
Silicone-based lube is hypoallergenic and good for sensitive skin. It is longer-lasting than water-based lube but can deteriorate silicone sex toys. It is safe to use with condoms and is also great for water play because it doesn't wash away easily.
Oil-based lubes are not recommended due to their higher rates of causing bacterial vaginosis and because they can cause condoms to break*.
Dental dams are thin square pieces of latex or non-latex material that are used for safer oral sex. They are placed between the mouth and genitals and come in both flavored and unflavored options.
To use dental dams effectively, it is important to check the expiration date and store them in a cool, dry area. It is also recommended to use a new dental dam for each part of the body.
Silicone or body-safe toys are recommended for safe sexual play. Water-based lubrication is recommended for silicone toys. It is important to clean toys according to the manufacturer's guidelines and to clean toys between insertive orifices. Using a condom on sex toys can also prevent STI transmission if toys are shared.
External Condoms: Protect Against STIs and Pregnancy
External condoms provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. They are designed to prevent contact between semen and sexual fluids, and are made of materials such as latex, polyurethane, synthetic rubber, or natural membranes.
External condoms are 97% effective with perfect use and 86% effective with typical use. Non-latex condoms, such as those made of polyurethane or synthetic rubber, have higher breakage rates. Natural membrane condoms do not protect against STIs.
Factors that can decrease effectiveness:
Condoms are less effective if they are not used consistently or correctly, if there are sexual fluids on the outside, if they break or tear, if they are doubled up, if they are stored incorrectly, if they are expired, or if they are used with certain medications.
To use condoms effectively, it is important to have more condoms than you need, plan ahead, and change them out regularly.
Condoms are an effective form of contraception and protection against sexually transmitted infections.
Condoms are a cost-effective and easily accessible method of protection that can be used by anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
According to a 2018 study, 67% of sexually active Canadians reported using a condom the last time they had sex.
Using a properly fitting condom can enhance sexual pleasure by reducing anxiety and providing peace of mind, while also reducing the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.