What is a male condom?
The male condom, sometimes called a rubber, is a barrier method of birth control
used by men. It is a disposable piece of thin latex rubber. The condom provides a barrier
that stops sperm from entering a woman's uterus. Latex condoms also provide a barrier
against the transmission of sexually transmitted disease.
How is it used?
Use a new condom every time you have intercourse. Either partner can place the
condom over the tip of the erect penis, leaving a space at the tip of the condom. Roll it
down to cover the entire penis. Squeeze the tip of the condom as you roll it on to release
any trapped air and prevent it from bursting during ejaculation. After ejaculation and
while the penis is still erect, carefully withdraw the penis from the vagina. It is very
important while withdrawing the penis to hold the base of the condom firmly so it does not
slip off and spill any sperm. Throw the used condom away. Do not reuse it.
Using a spermicide foam or jelly with a condom further reduces the chances of
WARNING: Do NOT use Vaseline (petrolatum, or petroleum jelly) with condoms as a
lubricant. Vaseline weakens the rubber.
What are the benefits?
Male condoms have a variety of benefits:
- They are 90% effective in preventing pregnancy when they are used without a spermicide
foam or jelly.
- They are 97% effective in preventing pregnancy when they are used with a spermicide foam
- Latex condoms provide protection against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Latex condoms are the only acceptable method for preventing sexual transmission of AIDS
during sexual intercourse.
- They can be bought in drugstores and supermarkets without a prescription.
- They are a relatively inexpensive method of birth control.
- They are small, easy to carry, and disposable.
- There are no side effects from using a condom.
What are the disadvantages?
- The disadvantages of male condoms are:
They can leak or break during intercourse, releasing sperm into the vagina and
possibly causing pregnancy.
They may slip off when the penis is withdrawn from the vagina and spill sperm
into the vagina, again possibly causing pregnancy.
- If a condom is exposed to heat for a long time (for example, from being carried
in a back pocket), it may weaken and leak sperm into the vagina.