Condoms are one of the cheapest, most easy to access forms of birth control, and as a barrier method, one of the only options for preventing both pregnancy and STDs. However, not everyone is excited about using them. In most cases, hesitation regarding condom use comes down to common misconceptions that need to be debunked. Here are some of the more common misconceptions about condoms and the truth behind them.

Some Men Are Too Big for Condoms

Selecting the right size of condom matters in that it can offer a more comfortable fit for the wearer. However, wearing a too-small condom isn’t so much the issue in regards to effectiveness; rather, it is when too large of a condom is selected, risking it slipping off during sex. Your average condom can stretch to up to 18 inches in circumference without breaking, and up to the length of an adult female arm. While those on the larger side might prefer condoms made to fit them more comfortably, it is an issue of personal preference, not effectiveness, and certainly not a matter of being “too big” for condoms.

Condoms Take Away Pleasure

This misconception has some truth in it. Older condoms were made of much thicker material that was not designed to transmit sensations. Even today, certain types of condoms are less pleasurable than others. The best option is to try out multiple types and find the one both you and your partner like. This may sound like a mood killer, but in truth, the process could be quite fun. After all, figuring out which ones you like best means test driving them.

Two Condoms Are Better Than One

The thought process behind this makes sense: if your goal is to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs, wouldn’t you want to be as protected as possible? And what could be better than twice the protection? Except, it isn’t twice the protection. When two condoms are worn together, the friction between them can cause both to break, putting the users at risk of STDs and pregnancy. Plus, if there is any concern about taking away pleasure, the thickness of two condoms being worn at once is certainly more likely to do that than wearing only one.

Condoms Aren’t Effective at Protecting Against STDs

The best way to protect yourself against STDs is to only sleep with committed partners and to get tested before starting a sexual relationship. However, condoms are the next best thing. Unlike other birth control methods, condoms prevent certain bodily fluids from being exchanged, and these bodily fluids are how many STDs are transmitted. This means that using condoms can reduce the transmission of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis (depending where the sores are), HPV (depending on if there are warts and where they are located), and HIV.

The Bottom Line

If you are having sex and want to prevent both pregnancy and the spread of STDs, or just the spread of STDs, condoms are an excellent and highly effective choice. They are affordable, easy to access, and when approached in the right way, can add a lot of fun to your relationship. Of course, getting tested is still important. If it is time to check your health status, try an at-home STD testing kit for accurate results and maximum privacy.