“Dear Experts: My boyfriend and I are becoming physical. He goes to a boarding school and can only get condoms from his friends which only use the ultra thin condoms. I’ve heard they break easily, is this true? Neither of us are ready for a big responsibility such as a child. Thanks!”
Condoms can be made from a thin layer of latex, molded plastic or a natural material from lamb intestines (Lambskins). Each of these condom types protect against pregnancy but the latex condoms are the only type that provides protection against a sexually transmitted infection (STI). According to Planned Parenthood, each year about 18/100 women become pregnant due to condom failure. You mention that neither of you are ready for the responsibility of parenthood so you might consider using dual methods of contraception. This could be using a spermicide along with the condom (nonoxynol-9) but a more effective combination would be seeking contraception for yourself-birth control pills, Depo-Provera, an IUD or an implant called Nexplanon. Each of these methods, when used correctly, provide excellent protection against pregnancy but do not provide protection against a STI. Also, if your condom breaks and you are worried about possible pregnancy, you can look into emergency contraception. Some are available over the counter and some require a prescription from a doctor.
Since you have made the decision to enter into an intimate relationship, it is important that you make the decision to protect yourself from an unintended pregnancy or from exposure to a STI. Your health care provider can give you information about the effectiveness of each contraceptive method and can discuss the risks and benefits of each method. If you are unfamiliar with STIs, this would also be important to discuss with your health care provider. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an excellent web site for additional information.
Hope this helps!
– FNF Experts