What it is?
A male condom is made of very thin latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic) and fits over the man’s erect penis. Most condoms are lubricated to make them easier to use.
How it works
Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They stop the sperm from entering the woman’s vagina, preventing it from meeting the egg. The condom should be placed over the erect penis before any vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact.
- Check the expiry date and kitemark
- The condom should be held at the tip to expel air and then unrolled over the erect penis
- Leave space at the tip ensuring there is no trapped air
- Most condoms are already lubricated but you can use more if required. Use water-based lubricants with latex condoms as oil-based lubricants such as vaseline, massage oil, lipstick ….. can weaken the latex making them less effective.
- Immediately after ejaculation has taken place, hold the end of the condom and carefully remove before the penis softens
- Wrap in a tissue and place in a bin. Wash hands before returning to your partner
You should not reuse condoms or wear more than one at any one time.
The instructions should be read carefully before using a condom for the first time. It can be helpful to practice putting on a condom before having sex for the first time.
- Protects against STIs as well as pregnancy
- Can be used during oral sex to prevent transmission of STIs
- Only need to use them when you have sex
- Available without prescription and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and flavours
- Does not affect future fertility
- There are no side effects unless you are allergic to latex
- May reduce women’s risk for developing pre-cancerous cells on the cervix
- Putting it on can interrupt sex
- Can reduce sensitivity and some users may find it difficult to maintain an erection during condom-use
- Can break or leak if not used properly
- Possible allergic reaction
- Can slip off if not used properly
- The man needs to withdraw carefully straight after ejaculation
How effective is it?
With perfect use male condoms are 98% effective.
Typical use: If condoms are not used correctly about 18 out of 100 women will get pregnant a year.
What makes it less effective?
- If the penis touches the area around the vagina before a condom is put on
- If it is ripped by sharp nails or rings
- Using oil-based products can weaken the latex
- If it slips off
If any of these happen, advice should be sought on emergency contraception to prevent a pregnancy.
Can anyone use this method?
Male condoms are suitable for most people. Some men and women are allergic to rubber or spermicides used in condoms. In such cases, it is possible to use polyurethane condoms or latex condoms without spermicide.