Male condom

The male condom is a very thin rubber or plastic sheath that goes over the penis. It only needs to be used when you have sex. The condom acts as a barrier to stop the man's sperm from travelling into the woman during sex and thus preventing the sperm and egg from meeting. 

Note: Condoms are the only contraceptive methods which protect against sexually transmitted infections. To ensure protection from both pregnancy and infection, we recommend "dual protection". This means using a a male or female condom in addition to the contraceptive method of your choice to prevent pregnancy.

  • How good is the male condom at preventing a pregnancy?
    • The condom works reasonably well at preventing a pregnancy but its ability to stop a pregnancy largely depends it being used it properly every time a couple has sex. This means it must be worn from the start to the finish of the sex act and a new one must be used for every sex act.
    • In a perfect world, if one hundred women used condoms properly with their partners every time they had sex and carried on with their normal sex life then one or two of those women would fall pregnant while using only condoms.
    • BUT condoms are not always used properly – risks of pregnancy are much higher with typical use- 15 out of 100 women would fall pregnant.
  • What are the advantages of the male condom?
    • It can be used straight after an abortion.
    • You only need to use condoms when you have sex.
    • If they are used for any type of sexual activity then they help to protect against most sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
    • Male condoms come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures
    • Male condoms do not have any side effects and will not affect monthly bleeding patterns or weight.  
  • What are the disadvantages of the male condom?
    • Male condoms can sometimes slip off or break, which is why they are not always as good as some other forms of contraceptive. Never use any oil-based lubricant with a condom as it will make it more likely to break during sex.
      If the condom breaks or tears or falls off during sex, then you may need to go to a pharmacy or doctor to use an alternative emergency contraception immediately afterwards to prevent pregnancy.
    • Because of the latex, male condoms will create a different sexual sensation than sex without a condom.
    • Some people are sensitive or allergic to certain types of condoms made of latex and this could cause irritation to the man’s penis or the woman’s vagina, though this is rare. In general condoms do not cause an irritation to either partner.
  • How do I use a condom?

    Carefully tear open the foil packaging (don’t use your teeth), making sure not to rip the latex condom inside. Before any contact is made between the penis and the vagina place the condom at the head of the erect penis. Squeeze the tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger to prevent air being trapped and unroll the condom all the way to the base of the erect penis.

    After ejaculation, withdraw the penis while it is still erect, holding the condom firmly in place at the base of the penis. Slide the condom off the penis, taking care not to spill any semen or to allow the penis to come into contact with the vagina. Although very rare, it is always good practice to check that the condom did not break before. Dispose of the used condom hygienically – tie the top so that nothing spills out and throw it in a rubbish bin (not in the toilet as it may cause a blockage).