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Birth Control Health Center

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Male Condoms - Topic Overview

What are the advantages and disadvantages of male condoms?


  • They are the most effective protection available against STIs.
  • They do not affect future fertility for either a woman or a man.
  • They are used only at the time of sexual intercourse.
  • They are safe to use while a woman is breast-feeding.
  • They are less expensive than hormonal methods of birth control.
  • They are widely available without a prescription.
  • They may help prevent a man from having an orgasm too quickly (premature ejaculation).


  • Some people are embarrassed to use condoms or feel they may interrupt foreplay or intercourse.
  • Both partners must be comfortable with using a condom and be prepared to use one every time they have sex.
  • Condoms may decrease sexual sensation.
  • Some people are allergic to latex (rubber). These couples should use condoms made of polyurethane (plastic).
  • Condoms may break or leak.
  • Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of birth control. Using an additional method of birth control is a good backup measure in case a condom breaks. If a condom does break and you are using no other birth control method, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 08, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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