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National Condom Week starts on February 14thand is an excellent time to consider the benefits condom use. Condoms and other barrier methods reduce the risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. 

Everyone deserves to have a fun and healthy sex life! Using condoms and other barrier methods is an important of taking care of both your and your partner’s health during sex.

Condoms are a good way to lower stress and focus more on having a fun, pleasurable sex life. Many people say they find sex more enjoyable when they use condoms because they aren’t worrying about STIs or unintended pregnancy.

It’s important to talk with your partner about using condoms before you have sex. Be direct and emphasize that condoms are essential to protecting each other’s health — and that using them can even make your sex life better.

When using condoms, always check the expiration date and for possible holes. It is also important to avoid using oil-based lubricants – oil can damage condoms and cause them to break.

If you have vaginal sex, using condoms plus another method of birth control — like the IUD, implant, shot, or pill — is the best way to prevent both unintended pregnancy and STIs. If used correctly and consistently, condoms can be 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Internal condoms can be used by anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The internal condom is a soft plastic pouch that goes inside the vagina or the anus to help prevent pregnancy and/or STIs.

Internal condoms can be inserted ahead of time to minimize interruptions during sex. Internal condoms are more comfortable than traditional conforms for some, and they are latex-free.

While condoms are the most popular barrier method, there are other barrier methods you can use to have healthy, enjoyable sex. Safer sex is for everyone—and knowing your options means you can choose the method that’s best for you, your body, and partner. 

If your partner doesn’t want to use a barrier, ask why — that way you can both share your opinions and open up space to talk about any concerns about using protection. Sometimes it’s about finding the right type of condom, using condoms along with lube, or explaining why you want to use them. 

Stress that your health (and your partner’s health) is your priority — and that sex without protection is not an option. Then decide who will get condoms, and make a plan to use them every time, the entire time you’re having sex.

Planned Parenthood is here for you with information and resources on how to use condoms and other barrier methods correctly, how to choose the barrier method that’s best for you, and how to talk about safer sex with your partner.

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works every day to educate young people, families, and communities on preventing STIs and unintended pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood’s new sexual health chatbot Roo is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week for free on your mobile phone.

Tags: health, condoms