Probably THE most frequent question we receive is whether ContraGel can be used safely with condoms.
The simple answer is yes, ContraGel can be used with condoms
As of the publication of this article, every brand of condom we have checked is compatible with Contragel. This includes Skyns, Glyde condoms, latex, polyisoprene and polyurethane condoms.
Before we give specific instructions on using ContraGel with a condom, it is important to understand the scope of your contraceptive strategy, and why you are choosing to use ContraGel at all.
ContraGel is not a standalone contraceptive method: it should always be used in conjunction with a barrier 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. This means they can be 99% reliable on their own. A couple who uses condoms and is looking at adding ContraGel should first appreciate that the condom is their primary method of contraception. So why add Contragel at all?
We work closely with doctors, OB-GYNs, midwives, health counselors and of course thousands of customers. The concept of "doubling up" on birth control, mostly for added peace of mind, has a huge phycological benefit. Contraception is a very individual and important decision, and each couple has to decide for themselves what makes them feel most at ease with their birth control strategy.
One logical argument for using ContraGel with a condoms "which is safer, a condom with ContraGel or a condom without ContraGel". The answer would have to be using ContraGel is an extra level of security. However, the benefits are 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. ContraGel has some mild lubricating properties, so why not use a spermicidal lubricant. Again, as we will see in a moment any contraceptive benefit very limited and difficult to measure. A high quality, natural, water-based lubricants could offer a 'smoother' experience.
Method A: Apply ContraGel 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 could further block sperm.
BUT: As the ContraGel warms up with the body's heat it becomes less viscous. ContraGel will probably become thin and watery, and provide little coverage at the moment of ejaculation.
Method B: Apply inside the tip of the condom before putting it on.
Possible Advantages: If a condom splits, the ContraGel will come in contact with the escaping sperm and stop their progression.
BUT: If a "loaded" condom splits during penetration, the ejaculate is released deep inside the vaginal canal. This would be mean you are relying on ContraGel alone to stop sperm, and ContraGel is not intended to stop sperm in that way.
Method C: Apply along the outer shaft of the condom.
Possible Advantages: Slight lubricating effect. Might help prevent contamination (such as sperm transfer on fingers from foreplay, pre-ejaculation, earlier intercourse) from being transferred to the vagina. Might help remove some contamination risks from 'spillage' accidents when removing condoms after intercourse.
BUT: The sperm quality of pre-ejaculate and the effects of sperm quality in the open air are not fully understood. The actual risk of pregnancy might actually be much lower than anticipated. At the same time, there's no guarantee that ContraGel can capture and immobilize sperm from some accidental contamination.
Medically, probably not. The manufacturer doesn't provide official advise as there is s no compelling case to test. However, intercourse is about two people enjoying and connecting and a natural and pleasurable way. 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 the risk of pregnancy. If adding a bit of ContraGel makes for a better experience, there is no harm in going for it!