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By: John Dugan
Condoms are an essential part of safe sex, and men (and women) should always insist on using them. This rule applies to everyone, whether they have mutual partners or they are in a committed relationship. The only exception for skipping the rubber is in the case of a truly monogamous relationship, where both partners have been tested and have come up with a clean bill of health. When used correctly, male condoms are the most effective way to protect a person’s sexual health; but these mistakes can diminish the effectiveness of the condom, leading to potential serious penis health (http://www.man1health.com/What_is_M1MO.php) concerns.

1. Storing condoms improperly. A common habit of many men is to carry a condom in their wallet at all times, “just in case.” However, exposure to body heat and pressure can break down the material, increasing the chances that it will break. Ditto for keeping a box in the glove compartment. Condoms should be stored at room temperature, in their original packaging, to ensure that the material is sound and will work as expected. It is also important to mind the expiration date, as condoms that are past their prime are more likely to malfunction at an inopportune moment.

2. Improper application. Putting a condom on before the penis is fully erect, or putting it on inside out, can cause it to slip or break during use. Rubbers should only be placed on a penis that is completely erect; the reservoir at the tip should be pinched shut to squeeze out any air trapped inside (which again may increase the chances of breakage); and the condom should be gently unrolled all the way to the base of the shaft.

3. Use of more than one condom. It is not uncommon for men to believe that doubling up on the condoms can increase the level of protection; in fact, using two (or more) at a time results in extra friction as they rub together, increasing the risk that they will break during use.

4. Condom reuse. Condoms are meant for one use only, period. Aside from the unpleasantness involved in attempting to put on a condom that has already served its purpose, this greatly increases the chances of infection if a partner is carrying an STD; furthermore, the material is not designed to withstand repeated use.

5. Switching between body parts. Condoms should never be used for more than one “entrance;” they should always be changed when switching between oral, vaginal and anal penetration to avoid the spread of body fluids.

6. Switching between partners. For men who find themselves entertaining more than one partner at a time, condoms should always be changed when switching from one to another to avoid spreading any infections.

7. Choice of material. Latex condoms are the most common, but men who have latex allergies often look for alternatives; and men may also look for alternate materials for the sake of experimentation. It is important to note that condoms made from animal materials do not offer the same level of protection as latex or polyurethane, either from STDs or unwanted pregnancies.

8. Novelty condoms. Many couples like to experiment with colored, flavored or glow-in-the-dark condoms, but not all of these offer the same protection as a standard condom and are intended for entertainment purposes only. It is important to read the package label before relying on novelty items.

9. Choice of personal lubricant. It is generally helpful to use a personal lubricant along with a condom, but only water-based lubes should be used for this purpose. Oil-based lubes, in particular, can quickly break down the latex and cause it to rupture.

10. Improper removal. Once the fun is over, the penis should be withdrawn and the condom should be immediately removed. Waiting until the penis is flaccid can cause the condom to slip off inside the partner.

Aftercare for the penis
After any sexual contact, both partners should shower to remove any traces of body fluids that might have slipped by the condom, using a mild cleanser to prevent irritation. After the shower, men can follow up with a specialized penis health cream (http://www.man1health.com health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil). A product containing a rich blend of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants can help nourish the delicate tissue of the penis, leaving it soft, supple and ready for the next encounter.

Visit http://www.man1health.com for additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

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