Oral and Anal Sex: When should you be using condoms?
No matter your relationship with condoms, we can all agree that they provide an easy and effective way to prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). As casual sex and one night stands become more accepted in society, unplanned pregnancy and common STIs, such as genital warts and chlamydia, have also become more of a hot topic.
Condoms are a great form of contraception as they come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials, so there's something out there for everyone.
But when should you be using them?
If you're in a long-term relationship, you might decide to ditch the condoms altogether - but generally speaking, in most other circumstances you'll probably be better off putting one on anyway. Remember, there's typically no way to tell that someone has a STI just by looking at them. Better safe than sorry, right?
If you're having casual sex, condoms should always be on the cards every time you have sex. Remember that condoms are for one-time use only, so make sure you have a few on you at all times, just in case! It's also good to know what size condom you require, or what size your partner/s need. Condom brand My Size has a range of sizes available!
Our 2017 Kiwi Sex Survey revealed that one in three Kiwis have had anal sex, so it's important to talk about the sexual health around it all!
While we all know you can't get pregnant from anal, what most people don't think about is that there is still a risk of pregnancy if semen comes in contact with the skin between the anus and vagina. According to Everyday Health, approximately 8 percent of people who use no birth control during anal sex become pregnant, so this is definitely something to keep in mind!
You might not have considered using condoms during oral sex, either. Most STIs are spread through bodily fluids, so you are definitely at risk if something comes in contact with your mouth.
Don't worry if you're not a fan of the taste of latex, either! There are plenty of flavoured options out there, including the Glyde range. Glyde offers condoms in a variety of flavours including strawberry and vanilla, plus they also offer Dams. Dental dams are designed specifically for oral sex - they are thin sheets of latex that are placed over the vulva of the person receiving oral sex, to prevent direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with fluids. Plus, they can be used for rim jobs (mouth-to-anus contact).
Yup, even when using toys, you should consider slipping one on! Sharing sex toys can be a major hygiene no-no - just think of all the bacteria and nasties… If you're sharing toys with a partner, they should always be washed thoroughly between users, preferably with hot water and an anti-bacterial cleaner.
Alternatively, if you're using a vibrator or a dildo and want to share the love, popping a condom on is a great idea to avoid sharing bodily fluids and STIs! This is also great if you are not sure of the material of your sex toy, as a condom can help make sure everything is body-safe and good to go.
But just as not all lubricants work with sex toys, not all lubricants are compatible with condoms. We know, we know - why can't they all just get along?! Stick with water-based lubricants such as Wet Stuff or Liquid Sex - avoid silicone and oil-based lubricants as some ingredienta in these can often cause your condom to break!
Other things to consider
Condoms can expire, so if you've had a box lying around for years, make sure you check the expiry date!
If you're sexually active, it's vital to ensure you are tested regularly for STIs, especially if you are having sex with new partners. Regular check-ups will keep your mind at ease and ensure that if you do catch anything, it can be dealt with early on. While you might trust your casual partners, often times STIs can have absolutely no symptoms - so while they might not think they have anything, it's definitely plausible!
If you're not sure where to start or are worried about anything relating to condoms, STIs, or pregnancy, your local family planning or health service will be able to give you specific advice for your situation.