A condom (also a condom , from the Latin praeservare “to prevent”, “to prevent”) is a thin cover, mostly made of vulcanized rubber , which is slipped over the erect penis of the man for contraception and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases before sexual intercourse .
The first condoms were made from woven fabric. They weren't particularly effective at preventing conception or protecting against communicable diseases because they weren't completely impermeable.
The first effective condoms were made from sheep intestines or other animal membranes . These are still available today. Some consider them more sensual, feel different because of their low elasticity and slip-stick, and are not as effective as man-made condoms in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. HIV , hepatitis B ). Casanova already used such condoms, which were called English overcoats in the 18th century , to protect themselves from the dreaded syphilis .
In 1839 Charles Goodyear made a groundbreaking invention: the vulcanization of rubber . This made it possible to produce rubber that was water, heat and cold resistant and break-resistant. In 1855 he manufactured the first rubber condom, which was produced in series in 1870 with a thickness of two millimeters and sewn.
At the end of the 19th century, Maison A. Claverie, Paris, sold rolled-up condoms with a reservoir under the product name “Le Parisien” (The Parisian). They were made of elastic rubber and could possibly be used several times. A further development had a rubber spiked ring glued to the lower edge of the reservoir and was called "Le Parisien Dentelé" (The Toothed Parisian). It seems that the French shipping companies for marriage toiletries were only based in Paris. They sold the same condoms under different names, e.g. B. “Le Bijou” (The Jewel).
In Germany in 1888, a Federal Council ordinance prohibited women and young workers from working in condom factories.
Around 1900, “ Préservatifs fish bladders with silk ribbon” from the Neverrip brand was offered in Basel as more comfortable and safer than rubber bladders.
In 1912, rubber manufacturer Julius Fromm developed a method of making seamless condoms by dipping a glass flask in a rubber solution. From 1930 latex was used as a material. With this development, latex contraceptive condoms have become widely available. The sale of condoms was banned in many places until the middle of the 20th century, or only allowed for medical use. In Ireland , such a regulation was in place until the early 1990s.
During the First World War, condoms were standard equipment for soldiers. The German, French and British armies distributed condoms among soldiers, but the US army did not, so US soldiers suffered from sexually transmitted diseases more often than members of other armies.
The early latex condoms were all very similar in principle. The main difference with some condoms was the lack of the reservoir that is common today to absorb the seminal fluid ( ejaculate ). An early development - the short cap - which was just passed over the glans of the penis , failed to reduce pregnancy and disease.
In the decades that followed, manufacturers developed condoms in many variations that differ in materials, sizes (length and width), strengths, colors, shapes and structures.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funded the distribution of 5.1 billion condoms worldwide in 2014 alone.
There are many theories about the origin of the name. The most common is that condoms get their name from a Dr. Condom who was the personal physician of Charles II of England and is said to have recommended mutton intestines for contraception and infection. However, the court doctor cannot be clearly identified. A derivation from the French municipalities Condom ( Département Gers ) and Condom-d'Aubrac ( Département Aveyron ) does not apply. Another variant relates to the combination of the word components con (Italian, derived from the Latin cum , German “with”) and doma (from the Latin domus for “house” or “dome”); Wolfgang Pfeifer thinks this is absurd. In Kluge-Seebold it is assumed that “condom” originated from a joking designation con domino (“with masked coat”). In any case, domino has been handed down as a disguising term for a condom.
Condoms are mainly made from natural rubber latex , but also from polyurethane (PUR) or polyisoprene (PI), as natural rubber can also cause allergic reactions. There are also condoms made from specially treated natural intestines (“naturalamb”), which, however, do not provide reliable protection against sexually transmitted diseases. In contrast to PU, polyisoprene is more elastic than latex (larger bursting volume , but lower bursting pressure ). PUR has a smaller bursting volume than latex, but the bursting pressure is much higher. However, there is no test standard or test results or many years of experience for condoms made of polyisoprene and polyurethane (as of 2009).
The production of condoms from natural rubber latex usually takes place in seven steps:
- Immersing the molding in liquid natural rubber latex
- Dipping the shape and drying (vulcanizing) the adhering rubber film
- Peeling off the dried and solidified rubber film from the molded body
- Rinsing the rubber film and powder coating
- Drying the washed and powder-coated rubber film
- electronic individual leak test
- Roll up the condom
- Packaging after the production of the product is completed
Latex condoms are made from fatty substances such as B. massage oil or petroleum jelly , porous and lose their protective effect. Polyisoprene is synthetic, but differs from latex only in the lack of proteins and is therefore just as porous. Water-based lubricants and silicone oil are compatible with latex. Condoms made of polyethylene or polyurethane can be used together with lubricants containing fat or oil. For latex allergy sufferers , condoms made of polyethylene, polyurethane or polyisoprene are a possible alternative.
Condoms are available in different sizes, strengths and colors according to individual needs. They are also available in different flavors - e.g. for oral sex - as well as special surface structures to stimulate and increase pleasure. Since the different flavors also give off a corresponding scent, they are a popular alternative to conventional condoms. For anal intercourse there are extra strong condoms with increased wall thickness (0.1 mm), which are supposed to withstand the stresses of this sexual practice better and are therefore recommended. Condoms treated with spermicide offer additional security and condoms with benzocaine , a local anesthetic, promise long-term sex. With the film Skin Deep , condoms that glow in the dark became popular. For z. B. For vegans , condoms that have not been tested on animals are available. The greatest variety is offered in standard sizes (depending on the manufacturer 52 mm or 54 mm), with smaller or larger sizes, the choice is at least limited.
In Europe, condoms had been standardized in accordance with DIN EN 600 since 1996 . This standard regulated on the one hand the size (at least 17 centimeters long and (spread flat) 4.4-5.6 centimeters wide), on the other hand the test procedures according to which the condoms are tested for their durability, strength and tightness. To check that they are tight, they are immersed in an electrolyte solution. If the lamp on the test station lights up, current is flowing through the condom, which means that it is leaking and is being sorted out. When testing for tensile strength and stretchability, a condom has to withstand stretching up to seven times its normal size undamaged. However , according to a test carried out by Stiftung Warentest in 1999, three of 29 condoms tested did not meet the test objectives.
The international standard EN ISO 4074 has been in effect since 2002, coordinated between CEN and ISO , which, among other things, allows more flexible scope for standardizing the size. The condom must then be at least 16 cm long and, depending on its width, guarantee a certain minimum volume (when inflated). There is no longer a limitation to a maximum width of 5.6 cm; the manufacturer only has to maintain a standard deviation of +/- 2 mm from the value stated on the packaging. In Germany, DIN EN ISO 4074 replaces the EN 600 standard. Condoms whose packaging was labeled “EN 600” could only be sold until 2004.
Until 2002, the nominal width of condoms was limited by the DIN EN 600 standard to a minimum of 44 mm and a maximum of 56 mm. The standard size of 52 mm nominal width was only supplemented by "XXL" condoms with a width of 56 mm. Some manufacturers now also offer condoms from 47 mm to 69 mm wide.
The condoms should be selected to match the size of the penis (circumference) for maximum comfort and safety. The condom should have a nominal width slightly smaller than half the circumference of the penis when fully erect at the widest point. This ensures that the condom is not stretched too much, but is still held in place with sufficient tension. The standard width of 52 mm corresponds to a penis circumference of a little more than 10.5 cm, a condom size of 60 mm corresponds to a penis circumference of a little more than 12.0 cm and a condom size of 69 mm corresponds to a penis circumference of a little more than 14.0 cm.
An online survey showed an average penis circumference of 11.80 cm for German men, a measurement by doctors on 111 young and 32 older men showed an average width at the base of 3.95 cm and 3.50 cm (corresponds to 12, 4 cm and 11.0 cm circumference). 80 Californian men have a mean girth of 12.30 cm and 93 Indian men a girth of 11.46 cm (see also penis of man # size ) . These average penis circumferences correspond to a condom size of 56 mm to 60 mm.
Some studies suggest that condoms that are too small are more likely to break during sexual intercourse, negating the protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In a study with 184 men (average penis girth 13.19 cm) and 3,658 condoms, the condoms tore in 1.34% of the cases. The probability was strongly correlated with the penis girth: a 1 cm larger girth increased the probability by 50% to 100%. This observation is in line with survey results that tearing is more common in men with larger penis girth. However, it has not been scientifically proven whether different condom sizes reduce this risk.
Quality and seal of approval
1981 in Germany issued the first quality for condoms: the DLF seal (DLF = D eutsche L ATEX F orschungs- and development community). The DLF is an association of various manufacturers. In order to receive the seal of approval, a series of standard tests are carried out on the condom. In addition, independent external tests are required.
The condoms are tested in four tests:
- Leak test
- Inflation test
- Elongation test
- Microbiological purity
In Switzerland there is the "Association of Quality Seal for Condoms". The seal of approval guarantees that the condom complies with the Euro norm for condoms. In addition, the association has its own catalog of criteria. Each production unit is tested by an independent laboratory before it can be released for sale. The association also carries out spot checks in stores.
Condoms for sexually transmitted diseases
There are many sources on the Internet claiming that condoms do not provide effective protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) . Reference is made to any pores that might arise during the drying process of the latex in the production process . In order to investigate this fact, various studies, which deal directly or indirectly with the spread and infection routes of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases , were evaluated on behalf of the European Commission and general standards for quality control for condoms were established. As a result of this study it was found that when the condom is used properly, there is almost 100% protection against infection with HIV. Against certain sexually transmitted diseases ( syphilis , HPV , herpes simplex ), the condom cannot offer sufficient protection against transmission, as it can also be transmitted through body contact to places that are not covered by a condom.
In everyday conditions, the amount of HIV transmission is 70% to 80% lower (depending on the sex of the partner and the practices) between those who say they always use condoms and those who do not.
The evaluation of four studies in which some of the test subjects had sex with (several) HIV-infected people showed that the group who stated that they always used condoms had 73 to 99.6% fewer HIV infections than in the group the group that didn't. All studies taken together showed 91% fewer HIV infections. With optimal, faultless use of condoms, an effectiveness of 95% is assumed.
Use in Germany
Between 1995 and 2014, between 188 and 241 million condoms were sold in Germany every year. In 1985 and 1986, 84 million condoms were sold each.
According to a Forsa survey commissioned by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) in 2010, 87 percent of the 16 to 44 age group used condoms at the start of a new partnership. In 1994 the proportion was only 69 percent.
Of the 16 to 45 year olds living alone, 80–95% would agree, with an increasing tendency in all surveys from 1988 to 2007, to using condoms if their new sexual partner so wishes. In addition, 7–13% of women and 13–23% of men would agree not to use condoms if their new sexual partner so wishes. 65–76% of men and 49–63% of women (16–45, living alone, survey 1994–2007) used condoms at home or at home, 55–75% used a condom to prevent sexual intercourse (14–18 years, survey 1994-2014).
At least 7% of men and 12% of women aged 16–65 have never used condoms in all surveys (1984–2007).
Alternatives and application variants
A contraceptive and at the same time protective alternative to condoms has recently been the so-called femidom, which is often referred to as the “female condom” .
As part of a vaginal sonography , the gynecologist slips a condom over the ultrasound probe to ensure protection against infections during the examination.
The condom urinal is an aid in the care of men suffering from urinary incontinence, it has the shape of a condom with the possibility of connecting a hose for urinary drainage.
Simple condoms are carried by male glider pilots as an emergency solution to collect urine. Despite having a pee routine before take-off, the cold at altitude and a surprisingly long flight duration can lead to the urge to urinate.
Advantages, disadvantages and risks of the condom as a contraceptive
- In contrast to contraceptives such as the Implanon or the IUD , which exclude incorrect use, the Pearl index for condoms with average use and the Pearl index with ideal use differ greatly. If used perfectly, a pearl index of 0.6 can be achieved. In typical use, the Pearl index is between 2 and 15. The high uncertainty factor is primarily due to incorrect use, incorrect condom size and incorrect storage of the condoms (frost / heat / mechanical stress).
- Like the Femidom , the condom is a contraceptive that largely prevents not only pregnancy but also infection with sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV , gonorrhea and hepatitis C ).
- Many men say that they can keep an erection longer with a condom.
- Condoms can be perceived as uncomfortable as they prevent skin contact. In sex studies studies, many men state that condoms reduce sensations. Overtaking is also often seen as an interruption and disruptive factor in lovemaking . However, some sexologists believe that sensation loss and the use of the condom as a nuisance is more psychological from knowing the condom than physically from knowing the condom itself.
- There are also isolated cases of latex allergies . Most people, however, are only sensitive to the ingredients of one or the other anti-friction coating, and there can be big differences between different brands. In addition, some manufacturers offer completely uncoated or dry condoms for this case. Some problems can also be traced back to the spermicidal coating. 90% of all allergic reactions in the genital area are triggered by the active ingredient nonoxynol-9 . Occasionally, problems can also be caused by the silicone, which is contained in many lubricants . For latex allergy sufferers there are also latex-free condoms made of polyurethane . These are thinner, particularly sensitive and odorless, but also significantly more expensive than latex condoms.
- Many people find the strong latex odor unpleasant. However, there are condoms with an artificial odor or no odor at all.
In practice, mistakes in handling repeatedly lead to unwanted pregnancies.
- Even touching the female genitals with the (unwashed) hand with which the condom was removed can lead to pregnancy.
- Before the condom is slipped on, sperm can escape unnoticed, which also leads to the risk if parts of the body touch the vagina that come into contact with the penis before the condom has been slipped on. The same goes for putting on the condom. If, in the course of foreplay , which usually consists of varieties of petting , the penis is touched in the area of the glans before using the condom, there is a risk that individual sperms will get onto the surface of the condom and thus find their way into the vagina Find. The resulting risk is reduced by using spermicide-coated condoms.
- Incomplete unrolling, or uneven unrolling, preventing the condom from getting close enough to the base of the penis, can lead to the condom becoming detached from the penis during sexual intercourse.
- Long fingernails can damage the condom when unrolling or tearing the package. This risk also exists if the woman's genitals are additionally stimulated with the fingers during sex.
- Oily when using lubricants such as body lotion , massage oil , baby oil , petroleum jelly , shortening (such as the formerly homosexuals spread. Crisco ) or certain spermicides like vaginal - suppositories (suppository) and some homeopathic treatments can take the latex structural damage when these agents are not approved for use with condoms. Information on this can usually be found on the packaging or on the package insert. Under such circumstances, the condom will lose its elasticity in less than five minutes. Even if the condom does not tear or shows visible damage, it is still permeable, for example for viruses. Water-containing and silicone-containing lubricants or lubricants based on Dimeticone do not have such risks.
- Before using over-the-counter or prescription drugs on the penis or vagina, seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist, as these drugs can affect the safety of condoms.
- Incorrectly stored condoms or condoms used after the expiry date can show damage - even invisible - that allows viruses or seeds to pass through. Detrimental influences are above all exposure to sunlight, heat, cold and mechanical stress , which occur above all when storing in the car, wallet or in your pocket.
- Using a condom that is too small (in relation to the size of your penis) can cause pain or circulation problems. A condom that is too large can easily slip off the penis, which means that semen can get into the vagina and there is no longer any protection. A condom that is too small is more likely to tear or roll back. Decisive for the right condom size is not its length, but a penis for extensive fitting diameter . The standard width is 52–53 mm, XXL condoms often only have a nominal width of 55–57 mm, while condoms with a nominal width between 49 and 69 mm are also available in specialist shops.
- Furthermore, interactions between spermicides and antimycotics during the treatment of fungal infections are also known, which can impair the additional protection of the spermicide layer.
- Condoms coated with the spermicide nonoxynol-9 can increase susceptibility to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In this context, the US FDA is in favor of a warning on condom packaging.
- Contrary to press reports to the contrary, according to several studies, condoms do not contain any harmful amounts of carcinogenic nitrosamines .
Attitude of the Roman Catholic Church
In contrast to the attitude of most Protestant churches, such as those united in the EKD , according to the official position of the Roman Catholic Church ( Humanae Vitae ), the use of contraceptives in marriage is to be rejected, as it is not the use of contraception because of the artificial prevention of child generation Human dignity .
"Likewise, any act is reprehensible which, either in foresight or during the performance of the conjugal act or following it in the course of its natural effects, aims to prevent reproduction, be it as an aim or as a means to the end"
The only way of responsible parenting is so-called natural family planning , e.g. B. Knaus-Ogino or the symptothermal method accepted. Under Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Barragán spoke out in favor of an exception to the general refusal if one spouse was infected with HIV in a marriage. Pope John Paul II also advocated abstinence as the only morally justifiable option in such cases.
In November 2010, Benedict XVI represented in an informal interview from the book Licht der Welt, quoted in advance by the church newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the position that the use of condoms should be considered in justified individual cases and cited the case of male prostitutes as an example . After general press votes that this was a revolutionary step, the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi made it clear that the evaluation of contraception or sexuality was not changed. Shortly thereafter, he denied speculation that the statement was limited to homosexual male prostitutes. It also applies to heterosexual and transsexual, female and male prostitutes.
With regard to the failure rate of the condom, the Roman Catholic Church has also pointed out that the condom cannot offer one hundred percent protection against HIV. On a flight to Cameroon in March 2009 , Pope Benedict XVI claimed that simply handing out condoms would not be an answer to fighting AIDS, it would make the situation in Africa worse. Deutsche Aidshilfe rejected this attitude as “dangerous propaganda slogans” and as “cynical and inhuman”. The two SPD federal ministers (2009) Ulla Schmidt and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul emphasized that condoms would play a decisive role in the fight against the immune deficiency disease AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, around 22 million people are infected with the HI virus.
Joke condoms are not used for contraception. These are more of an entertaining foreplay. Joke condoms, like conventional condoms, can be rolled over the male genitals, but there is a joke figure at the upper end. A number of joke condoms are exhibited in the Vienna Condomi Museum .
- There are numerous synonyms for condoms in popular usage, including "Pariser", "Verhüterli", "Lümmeltüte", "Präser (l)", "Gummi", "Melkampfsocke", "Fromms" or "Frommser" (depending on the manufacturer) Fromms), "Londoner" (there is a manufacturer in London ), Blausiegel (a brand formerly used in Austria's vending machines), "overcoat", "Tüte", "Rammelbag".
- In the GDR , condoms were generally available under the name “Mondos” or colloquially as “Gummi-Fuffzcher” (after the price of fifty pfennigs). The discreet mailing of H. Kästner's family business from Dresden, which dispatched up to two million condoms per year, was famous for this. The construction of the first condom factory was initiated by Karl-Heinz Mehlan , who also introduced the birth control pill in the GDR.
- Since July 1, 2017, condoms have been compulsory for prostitution in Germany (Section 32 (1) Prostitute Protection Act ). Before that, it only existed in Bavaria (since May 16, 2001; Section 6 Ordinance on the Prevention of Communicable Diseases) and in Saarland (Section 6 of the Hygiene Ordinance of April 16, 2014.)
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- The word “condom” was the word of the year in 1987 , along with AIDS .
- Super moist , originally an advertising quality designation for condoms equipped with lubricant, was called a rock band in Linz (1981) and an ice climbing waterfall in Malta (Carinthia) .
- Condoms are also a topic in the Museum for Contraception and Abortion (MUVS) in Vienna.
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