Can ContraGel Be Used With Condoms?
Probably the most frequent question we receive is whether ContraGel can be used safely with condoms.
The simple answer is yes. Currently every brand of condom we have checked is compatible with Contragel, including Skyns, Glyde condoms, Latex, Polyisoprene and Polyurethane condoms.
The next question which pops up just as frequently is how should ContraGel be used with condoms?
There's a few points to be made when answering that, begining with the user appreciating what is their Birth Control (BC) strategy.
ContraGel As Part Of Your BC Strategy
ContraGel is not a standalone contraceptive method, it should always be used in conjunction with a barrrier method of contraception such as a FemCap, diaphragm, Caya, cervical cap or in this case, a condom. When you purchase a condom you'll probably read that they are 99% effective when used correctly. That correct usage doesn't involve adding any type of extra spermicide or contraceptive gel, they are just that reliable on their own. So the couple who are using condoms and looking at adding ContraGel should first appraciate that the condom is their primary method of BC. So why add Contragel at all?
Why Use ContraGel with Condoms?
We work closely with Doctors, OB-GYNs, midwives, councellors and of course thousands of customers and we always listen to what they have to say. When the issue of adding ContraGel to a condom is raised it tends to be for peace of mind, typically a couple who really take their contraception very seriously and are trying to cover all bases. Their point of view is often "which is safer, a condom with ContraGel or a condom without ContraGel", a logical view point and hard to argue against. The answer would have to be "with", although as we will see in a moment the benefits are very very limited and difficult to measure. A slightly different take on the reasons for using ContraGel with a condom is that using a condom is a better experience when a lubricant is used and since ContraGel has some mild, libricating properties, hey why not use a spermicidal lubricant. Again, as we will see in a moment any contraceptive benefit is very very limited and difficult to measure and at the same time some very high quality, natural, waterbased lubricants are available which could offer a 'smoother' experience.
How To Use ContraGel With A Condom?
Idea 1, apply directly to the cervix with a finger or applicator
Possible Advantages: Barrier contraception is all about stopping the sperm from getting to the cervix, some users believe that a layer of contraceptive gel might help that.
BUT: As the ContraGel warms up with the bodys heat it becomes less viscous and with gravity doing it's thing too, it will basically run down from the cervix and there will be no more coverage.
Idea 2, apply inside the tip of the condom before putting it on
Possible Advantages: If a condom splits the contraceptive gel might 'catch' some of the escaping sperm.
BUT: If a "loaded" condom splits at the point of deepest penetration the ejaculate would be released just a few centimeters from the cervix, it's impossible to think that all of the sperm would be captured and prevented from reaching the cervix. Remember, it only takes one sperm!
Idea 3, apply along the outer shaft of the condom
Possible Advantages: Slight lubricating effect, might help prevent some contamination (such as sperm transfer on fingers from foreplay, pre ejaculation, earlier intercourse) from being transfered to the vagina. Might help remove some contamination risks from 'spillage' accidents when removing condoms after intercouse.
BUT: The sperm quality of pre ejaculate and the effects of sperm quality and life span of sperm in the open air are not fully understood so the real risk might actually be much lower than anticipated. At the same time there's no guarentee that ContraGel would capture and immobilise all sperm from some type of 'spillage' accident
So Is It Really Worth Using ContraGel With Condoms?
Medically, probably not. The manufacturer doesn't advise on this either as there's no compelling case to test for performance since the condom itself is the contraceptive method with a reliability of over 99%. However intercourse is all about two people enjoying one of the most natural and pleasurable gifts and feeling relaxed has a huge impact on that experience. Both partners need to avoid the anxiety and worry related to the perceived risk of unwanted pregnancy and need to feel comfortable that they've done as much as possible to reduce those risks. So if adding a bit of ContraGel makes for a better experience, we say go for it!
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