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Buying Condoms: The Newbie’s Complete Guide to Using Condoms

Nowadays, condoms are an essential that every guy of age must have. So, here are some important things that you need to know about buying condoms.

Buying Condoms - how to buy condoms

Needless to say, condoms are your easily-obtainable go-to item for protection from STDs or unwanted pregnancies. In addition to that, condoms can also have the potential to make your sexy time more interesting.

There are a lot of condoms in the market, each with different promises of protection and pleasure. So from all these countless brands, how do you choose? Today we answer several FAQs to help you find the best condom that would literally and figuratively fit you.

FAQs about buying condoms

Let’s face it – guys don’t usually put a lot of thought into buying condoms. But they should… it is more important that you think. So here are 8 important things you need to know about buying condoms.

#1 Where can you get condoms? Literally everywhere: the corner drugstore, convenience stores, gas stations, sex shops, and select novelty stores. You can even purchase them online. However, not all places can give you the exact type of condom you need.

For example, drugstores and convenience stores will provide generic, mass-consumption level condoms that are cheap and handy. But if you’re looking for specialty condoms that are more “pleasure-centered” than the staple kind, then sex shops and the internet are your best friends. [Read: How to have safe sex in every single way it is possible to]

#2 Can I get condoms for free? Yes. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is definitely a thing called a free condom. Depending on the country and city you live in, you can score free condoms from your local general hospital or health clinics as part of government-sponsored reproductive health or STD awareness programs.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can bum off these free condoms for life, as each area has different regulations regarding distributing free condoms. Free condom distribution became a thing during the late 1980s to encourage people to use protection as a means to combat the growing cases of STD during the time. [Read: Why men hate using condoms and why you still need one]

#3 How old do I need to be to be able to buy a condom? Legally speaking, when buying condoms, there is no prohibiting law to prevent a person of any age to purchase a condom. If a person is underage, the worst he or she can get is a disapproving stare from the cashier. Well, having sex at a young age is frowned upon, but using protection is very much a welcome habit.

#4 How much do condoms cost? On the average, a regular “all-fit” condom would cost around $0.50 – $1.00 per piece. You can get a cheaper deal if you buy them per pack of three *as most cases*.

Specialty condoms, however, come at a price, and like any other commodity, additional “features” would also come with a heavier price tag. These condoms include extra thin, studded, spiral, and other novelty condoms that can only be purchased from the internet.

#5 Will using a condom guarantee protection from unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases? This is a complex question that merits a complex answer. Generally speaking, a trusted condom brand can provide up to 98% protection when used properly. And by “properly” it means that you should not do or use anything that might damage the condom, or do things such as using an expired condom.

A careless person who uses a condom would decrease its efficacy to around 82% which is a significant amount of odds at stake for getting STDs and getting your partner pregnant. So the general advice is: use a fresh condom properly. [Read: Top 10 most common one night stand mistakes]

#6 Are some condoms better than others? Yes and no. We can say yes because just like a smartphone, you can scrutinize the features of a particular brand of condom and see the materials used, the ISO rating of the manufacturer, and several other details that might be significant to its use.

Generally, better-engineered condoms come with a price. However, we can also say that no condom is actually better than the other because each will present a different feature catering to the need of a particular consumer group. [Read: Condom types and how they can improve your sex life]

#7 How do you choose a condom? Sadly, there is no general formula we can give a person for buying condoms. However, there are several factors that we can mention to help you find one that suits you the most. Let’s say you’re a condom virgin, here are the things you need to consider in choosing a brand.

Size – The most important factor. An ill-fitting condom is as good as not wearing a condom at all. Each packaging will tell you the size range of a particular pack of condoms. In most cases, it would be Small *3 – 4.5 inches*, Medium *4.5 – 6.5 inches*, Large *6.5 – 9 inches* and XL *9 inches and above*.

Material – The material that makes up the condom is the next thing you need to consider as some might develop an allergic reaction to latex, the common material used in condoms. If you are indeed allergic to latex, you may buy other brands made from polyurethane or polyisoprene.

Lubrication – Most condoms come in coated with a water-based lubricant. However, there are times that your partner can get allergies from the generic lubricant that comes with the condom. In these cases, you should buy unlubricated condoms, and bring your own choice of lubricant that is also compatible with the condom. [Read: The best lubricants for sex – 15 winners from the kitchen cupboard]

#8 Choosing a condom part II: protection vs. pleasure. If you’ve been using condoms for quite some time now, you would notice two design aspects that determine the final output of a condom. It is the tug-of-war between protection and pleasure.

Like anything in life, one cannot have it all, and the same goes with making condoms. No condom can provide equal measure of pleasure and protection at the same time, and it will depend on your preference to choose which one you are going to use.

Condoms that focus on protection – These are thicker than the regular types which decrease tactile sensation during use in order to reinforce the condom from breakage. These types are suited for rough sex and anal sex. In addition, these types of condoms are also chosen to make the user last longer during sex. [Read: Condom facts – Did you know these facts about condoms?]

Condoms that focus on pleasure – They sacrifice durability to give you that “almost nothing” feel during sex. These types are chosen by people who generally dislike using condoms at all but are forced by the need for protection.

Novelty condoms – These condoms don’t fit any category but are created for the sheer fun of it. These include exotic scented, ribbed, studded, glow-in-the-dark, and themed condoms that are fun to look at, but that’s about it.

[Read: Newsflash – women hate condoms just as much as men do]

Condoms are considered a necessity for a couple to enjoy their sex life. Therefore, it is important to know your facts in order for it to work perfectly for you.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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