Condoms are a big part of sex. We know you, as a clever, sensible T3 reader, always practice safe sex, and you're fully familiar with our guide to the best condoms and the intricate details of our condom FAQ.
But if you happen to be on the fence over whether you should be rubbering up or not, or you just need a little convincing of how great condoms can be, here are eleven entirely compelling reasons that condoms are even more brilliant than you might have thought. Have fun!
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1. You're better protected
Condoms are the best possible method of preventing STI transmission. That's a plain fact. If you're playing the field and you're not in a monogamous relationship where you know your partner is uninfected, you probably don't need us to tell you that you should be taking every precaution possible; a properly-used condom offers defence against anything that's transmitted via genital fluids.
Please don't take this as us advising you that you're free to go do whatever you like risk-free – skin-based infections should still be a concern, and nothing is 100% – but you'll absolutely get some peace of mind.
2. No really, you're protected
Of every external physical method, a condom is the most effective at preventing pregnancy. If you really, really don't want sperm to meet egg, it's the quickest and easiest way to cut the odds by 85%.
And these things aren't exclusive. Even if you or your partner is already using some other contraceptive method, doubling up by adding a condom to the mix can increase resilience even further.
3. Condoms help you focus on what's important
With all the standard worries put to the back of your mind, you can turn your thoughts to pleasure. It is very rare for a properly applied and cared-for condom to fail or fall off – they're kinda designed that way on purpose – so as long as you're sensible and don't re-use or abuse your rubber you're in for a happy, care-free time.
4. Condoms are cheap
Condoms are incredibly inexpensive. If you're somewhere where money is an object when it comes to contraceptives, spending £1/$1 on a condom (or as low as 10p/10¢ if you pick up a bulk pack) is a much more attractive option than whatever copay an alternative may set you back. Go to the right place, and you may even be able to get condoms for free.
5. Condoms are easy
Everyone can apply a condom, everyone can get hold of condoms if they need them, and while not everyone loves the way they feel, they don't come with any of the major downsides of some other contraceptives.
For the right person, using a condom is a no-brainer, with none of the hormonal changes that come with the pill, none of the potentially massive discomfort of an IUD, and none of the permanence of sterilisation.
6. Condoms are convenient
If you're careful about where you put them, and you check the expiry date and state of the packet regularly (check out our condom FAQ for all the advice you need, here) carrying around a condom wherever you may be means you'll be prepared for anything should the situation arise. They're the smallest and most discrete way to keep protection in your pocket.
7. Condoms are versatile
You can use a condom for basically whatever you're in to: they're great for vaginal penetration (whether wrapping a penis or something else), they're all-but essential for anal, they can be used for protection during oral sex - whatever you want to do. You can't say that about a diaphragm, for instance, unless you're very creative.
8. Condoms can be sexy
There are tons of ways to use a condom to spice things up in the bedroom. Flavoured condoms, for example, can (at least if you get the right variety) make oral sex more enjoyable or fun. Some condoms can be used with lube, as long as it's compatible with the material the condom is made from.
Even the act of applying a condom can be an exciting part of foreplay. Don't just furtively roll it on, make it a team effort.
9. Condoms can increase pleasure
Some condoms are specifically designed to make things feel better. 'Ribbed for her pleasure' is not just a marketing buzzphrase, though it does feel a little outdated: a condom with texture can significantly increase sensation for both parties, and ribs have been joined by dots and other more complex textures in recent years. Condoms may also include a warming or tingling lubricant, which some people find quite pleasant.
10. Condoms can decrease pleasure
This might not seem like a plus, but think about it. For the more sensitive penis, sex can be a very short-lived affair. With the appropriate barrier cutting down the sensitivity a little, you or your partner may be able to go longer. Some condoms even include a climax delay lubricant, which numbs the glans slightly to help things go on even longer.
11. Condoms are for everyone
Whatever your allergies or personal beliefs, excluding perhaps certain religious doctrines, you'll be able to find a condom to match. If you have an allergy to latex, there's a vast selection of non-latex condoms out there which work just as well and, indeed, may suit people who just don't like the feel of latex. And while not every condom is vegan-friendly, those which don't include casein to make the latex supple – which includes the large variety of non-latex condoms on the market and, increasingly, more and more latex condoms too – are entirely fine for vegans to use.