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Facts to Know About Condoms

How to explain the popularity of products packed in small or large economy boxes with label ‘Condoms’, which are everywhere: at the supermarket cash desks just before your eyes, in the drugstores, news-stalls and ordinary shops? Are they really so effective and since when are they so widespread?

The first found condom was made out of animal intestines in 1640. Much earlier Egyptians used them for pregnancy prevention; at least ancient Egyptian pictures can be explained in this way.

The etymology of the word ‘condom’ is not as clear as we’d like it to be. One of the versions is that it came from Latin ‘condon’ that means ‘receptacle’. Tens of sweet and funny names for condoms (‘rubbers’, ‘jimmy hats’, ‘rain coats’, ‘Hazmat Suits’, or ‘love gloves’) are evidences of their great popularity.

Condoms, a barrier method of contraception, can be made of different materials (latex, polyurethane, lambskin) and possess various properties. Latex and polyurethane condoms were designed to prevent the transmission of STD (sexually-transmitted diseases). A size of pores in the lambskin condoms doesn’t allow using them for this purpose; this fact along with high price made such condoms less popular.

Physical characteristics:

1. Tensile strength: more than 30 MPa

2. Minimum thickness: latex – 0.046 mm, polyurethane – 0.02 mm

3. Average dimensions: length – 190 mm, circumference – 52 mm

4. Color, odor, taste: various.

Almost each pack of condoms contains detailed directions for use with the described properties, storage conditions and expiration date.

Actual effectiveness could be expressed by percentage of method failure:

 • Prevention of pregnancy – 10% per year

 • Prevention of STDs – 20-30% per year.

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Breakage and slippage are rare incidents and mostly happen before ejaculation, so they don’t give a great contribution to method failure. Consistent and correct use gives an efficacy up to 99.8%.

The popularity of this method of contraception is not limited by the direct uses; condoms are also common containers for fake blood in the films, reservoirs for water in emergency situations, test-tubes for soil samples and protective devices for microphones during underwater recordings.

So, a condom in your pocket is not only a reliable means to protect you from STDs and unwanted pregnancy, but with all confidence it is a universal device, which can easily turn into perfect isolator, capacious container or bright balloon.


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