First of all you don't need a doctor's prescription to buy condoms, and if you are a minor, you don't need a note from your parents (In 1977 the US Supreme Court ruled that no state may bar minors from purchasing condoms without parental consent) Condoms are considered a medical device.
Where do we start - Latex, Polyurethane, Natural Lamb Skin, Thin, Lubricated, Non-Lubricated, Flavored, Colors, Ribbed, Tight Fitting, Loose Fitting... Need we say more.
Currently Condoms are made from 3 materials :
The most popular type of condom with the biggest selection is the Latex Condom. Latex condoms are made from natural rubber latex which is a processed plant product derived almost exclusively from the trees found in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The latex from which most condoms are made is extremely elastic and can stretch to fit any size. In fact, during manufacturing and product testing condoms are stretched and inflated to several times their natural size and shape. They are actually put under much more stress during testing than they would usually receive during sexual intercourse.
Besides being an effective form of birth control by blocking sperm from entering the vagina, the molecular make up of the latex condom is such that it does not allow the bacteria and viruses which carry STDs and AIDs to pass through, making them an effective means of disease prevention. Latex condoms could and should only be used with water based lubricants.
Though the material polyurethane has been around for a long time it has only recently been used to make condoms. While it has been found to be stronger, thinner and with no odor or taste only a few manufacturers have developed and marketed them. They are recommended for persons who are allergic to latex. there are currently 3 brands available the SUPRA, AVANTI and the FEMALE CONDOM.
Made from the intestine of animals the lamb skin condom was one of the first forms of birth control. They have a very natural feeling. Although they are an effective form of birth control the various bacteria and viruses which carry STDs and AIDs can pass through the porous walls of the natural membrane causing them to be ineffective in the prevention of sexually transmitted disease. There is only one remaining brand - Trojan Natural Lamb
Natural Lamb Skins should only be used for the prevention of pregnancy.
ALL ABOUT LUBRICANTS
Water based personal lubricants are moistening substances which are used to make sexual activity more comfortable and pleasurable. Water based lubrication is important for the proper use of a condom. Most brands of condoms are lightly lubricated, but many people prefer to use additional lubricant. Inadequate lubrication while using a condom may result in irritation and discomfort during sexual activity. In addition, the friction created while using a condom with insufficient lubrication may result in condom breakage.
NEVER USE OIL-BASED LUBRICANTS like hand lotion, body lotion, baby oil, vegetable oil, massage oil, mineral oil or petroleum jelly when using condoms or other latex products. Oil based lubricants will quickly break down the latex causing the condom to tear.
As with condoms there are many different kinds of Lubricants. Some of the substances added to Lubricants are spermicides such as Nonoxynol-9 (sperm killing substances see warning below), flavors and chemicals which alter skin sensation.
TIP ON USING LUBRICANTS AND CONDOMS
Rub some water-based personal lubricant on the outside of the condom to reduce friction and lessen the chance of breakage. Many men say that putting a small dab of lubricant inside the tip of the condom before it is put on increases pleasurable feeling during sex.
CDC Updated information on the use of NONOXYNOL-9
A WORD ABOUT NONOXYNOL-9
Nonoxynol-9 Is a mild chemical detergent that kills sperm and has been
found to also kill some STD causing organisms. How ever some men and woman have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to nonoxynol-9 that may irritate the delicate tissues of the vagina or the male urethra. If irritation occurs, you should discontinue use.
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