Birth control and you - The condom
THE condom is perhaps the most talked about contraceptive method in Jamaica, primarily because it plays a dual function of protecting against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In recent times, the female condom has been sharing the spotlight with the male condom as the advocacy of contraceptive use increases, however, both have their distinct functions and disadvantages.
The female condom is believed to empower women to take responsibility for their own reproductive health, especially because men sometimes express some amount of reluctance in using a condom. Its usage becomes increasingly important because of the high levels of promiscuity in Jamaica.
The male condom is believed to be about 98 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy and acts as a barrier method so that sperm cannot fertilise a woman’s eggs. It is far more accessible than other contraceptive methods and is fairly cheap when compared to other methods. Meanwhile, female condoms are considered to be 95 per cent effective and are worn inside the vagina to prevent semen from getting to the womb.
Here are some of the advantages of the male and female condoms as a contraceptive measure:
1. You only need to use when about to engage in sex
2. They are suitable for unplanned sex
3. Although some persons experience itching there are no adverse medical side effects from using condoms
4. They are very accessible and do not require a prescription
5. The female condom also stays in place whether or not a man maintains his erection.
1. There is the possibility of a condom slipping off during sexual intercourse
2. Some persons are afraid of buying condoms at the pharmacy, supermarket etc.
3. Women often have to rely on the man’s co-operation to use male condoms.
4. Some persons are allergic to male condoms
5. Some condoms have a shelf life after which they are too weak to use
6. Some men and women feel the condom dulls sensation
7. Women would need to feel comfortable touching their bodies to insert the female condom.