What is a male condom?
Condoms can protect you against
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy. A male condom is placed over a man's
erect penis before sex. Condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths,"
Condoms are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or
sheep intestine. While latex and polyurethane condoms help prevent the spread
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as
HIV, sheep intestine condoms do not.
The male condom is a
barrier method of
birth control. Condoms are currently the only male method of birth control besides
vasectomy. To more effectively prevent pregnancy, use
a condom with a more effective birth control method such as hormonal
contraception, an intrauterine device (IUD), a diaphragm with spermicide, or
another female barrier method.
How do you get male condoms?
Condoms don't require a
prescription or a visit to a health professional. Condoms are sold in
drugstores, family planning clinics, and many other places, including vending
machines in some restrooms. There are many different kinds of condoms. Some
condoms are lubricated, some are ribbed, and some have a "reservoir tip" for
holding the semen. You can also buy condoms of different sizes.
How well do male condoms work to prevent pregnancy?
condom has a user failure rate (typical use) of
15%. This means that, among all couples that use condoms, 15 out of 100 become
pregnant in 1 year. Among couples who use condoms perfectly for 1 year, only 2
out of 100 will become pregnant.1
The most common reason for failure, besides not using a condom
every time, is that the condom breaks or partially or completely slips off the
penis. Slippage occurs more often than breakage, usually when a condom is too
emergency contraception as a backup if a condom breaks
or slips off.
Make sure to check the condom's expiration date, and do
not use it if past that date.
How well do they work to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
Male condoms reduce the risk of spreading sexually
transmitted infections, including the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Condoms are often used to reduce the risk of STIs
even when the couple is using another method of birth control (such as
pills). For the best protection, use the condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
"Natural" or sheep intestine condoms are as effective as
latex or polyurethane condoms for preventing pregnancy, but they
are not effective against STIs because the small
openings in the animal tissue allow organisms to pass through.