Condom Week may be wrapping up (pun 100% intended), but we want to keep the celebration of barrier methods going.
Why? Because barrier methods help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy—allowing everyone to enjoy themselves while keeping themselves and their partners healthy!
To celebrate Condom Week, we turned our 11 favorite rhymes about barrier methods into fun graphics. Even though they’re pretty silly, using barrier methods (the right way, every time) is actually serious business. We’ve included the fun graphics, but have added on some extra explanation to boost your condom confidence! Check them out below.
1. Don’t get any STIs—internalize!
External (sometimes called “male”) condoms may be the most common kind of condom, but they’re definitely not the only kind! Internal (sometimes called “female”) condoms are barrier methods made from a plastic called polyurethane or a synthetic rubber called nitrile. They can be inserted into the vagina or anus (just be sure to remove the ring first!) before sex to help protect against STIs and/or pregnancy. Because the condom partially covers the vulva, it offers extra protection against some STIs like herpes and HPV.
Some people like internal condoms because you can insert them up to 8 hours before sex, meaning you don’t have to interrupt the action to use them. Unlike external condoms, you don’t need an erection to use them. This can take the pressure of “performing” off people with penises. If you have a vagina or receive anal sex, internal condoms can also give you more control over your sexual health. We talk more about internal condoms here.
2. If you think you’re going to slam, use a dental dam!
Dental dams are sheets of latex that you can put over the vulva or anus before oral sex (cunilingus, eating out, rimming) to prevent the spread of STIs. They’re a bit harder to find than your average condom, but you can make one from a latex condom by just cutting off the tip, and then cutting the condom lengthwise. We recommend using flavored ones!
3. No glove, no love!
Latex (or nitrile) gloves prevent the spread of STIs during manual sex (fingering of the vagina or anus, fisting, hand jobs). Since they cover your whole hand, they’re more effective than finger cots (see below). You can get them at most drug stores. It’s important to change latex gloves or finger cots before touching a new part of the body, or a different person. For example, you’d want to put on a new glove after touching someone’s anus and before touching their vulva, or after touching your partner’s genitals and before touching your own. It’s especially important to use protection on your hands if you have any cuts or scrapes on your fingers (which are easy entry points for STIs!).
4. If things get heavy and hot, use a finger cot!
Also called finger condoms, finger cots are latex sheaths that fit over an individual finger. Like latex gloves, they can help prevent the spread of STIs during fingering (of the vagina or anus). Some people prefer them to latex gloves because they think finger cots feel more intimate. However, latex gloves are more effective at STI prevention since latex gloves cover your whole hand.
5. Before you enjoy, wrap up your toy!
DYK you can use condoms on sex toys? If you share vibrators, dildos, plugs, or other sex toys, you can use condoms to prevent the spread of STIs—just be sure to change them between each use. Washing your toy with soap and hot water also helps prevent the spread of STIs.
It’s completely normal to have questions about how to have safer sex and navigate relationships. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent or caregiver or your healthcare provider. If you can’t think of anyone you feel comfortable talking to, you live in NYC, and are 10-22 years old, stop by the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. We provide completely free, comprehensive, nonjudgmental healthcare for young people. Our adolescent health specialists can give you confidential STI testing and treatment, birth control, pregnancy testing and other sexual health services. We also have a team of health educators (many of whom speak Spanish) who can talk to you about how to use condoms, how to talk to your partner about safer sex, and any other questions or concerns you have. They’ll also send you home with any and all of the safer sex supplies you need.
We go into more detail about how to use external condoms, everything you need to know about lube, how to talk to your partner about safer sex, why it’s important to use barrier methods for oral sex, and more on our blog.
Finally, here are some bonus condom rhymes just for the heck of it! Which is your favorite?
6. Cover your carrot before you share it!
7. Don’t be a fool, volcanize your tool!
8. When in doubt, shroud your spout!
9. If you slip between their thighs (or lips, or butt cheeks), condomize!
10. Don’t be silly, protect your willie!
11. If you’re not going to sack it, go home and whack it!
The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center is located in New York City. It provides comprehensive, confidential, judgment free health care at no charge to over 10,000 young people every year. This column is not intended to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual, only general information for education purposes only.