The male condom, sometimes called a rubber, is a method of birth control used by men. A condom is a thin, disposable covering, usually made of strong rubber or latex that fits snugly over an erect penis. Condoms can also help protect against sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV (the AIDS virus). It’s wise to use a condom to protect against disease even if a female partner is using another method of birth control.
Male condoms are available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and textures. They may be made of latex, polyurethane (a type of plastic), or animal skin. Some condoms are lubricated. It’s best to buy a latex or polyurethane condom. Animal skin condoms don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases. To make sure you have a type of condom that protects against disease, check the condom package for a statement that the condom prevents disease.
Never assume your partner is using some form of birth control. If you don't know, ask. The best relationships are based on good communication. If you and your partner haven't spoken seriously yet about your relationship, now is the perfect time to start. Making babies is easy, but raising them is one of life's most difficult challenges. Think about it.
Roll the tube-shaped condom over the erect (hard) penis before intercourse. There is usually a place at the tip of the condom to hold semen after an orgasm. Each condom must be used just once and then thrown away. To protect against pregnancy and infection, condoms must be used correctly and used every time you have sex.
To use a condom:
It’s a good idea to have 2 condoms available in case one breaks. If a condom breaks, as soon as you realize it, take it off and use a new condom. If you don’t have another condom, stop having sex until you can get another. Know that once a condom breaks during sex, the chances of a pregnancy are much higher, even if ejaculation has not happened yet.
Lubricants may help prevent condoms from breaking during use. They may also help prevent irritation and so might help decrease the chance of infection. Water-based lubricants, such as KY Jelly, are a good choice to use with any condoms. Do NOT use oils, lotions, or Vaseline (petrolatum, or petroleum jelly) with latex condoms as a lubricant. Oil-based substances can make latex condoms break. It is OK to use oil-based lubricants with polyurethane condoms.
You can use a spermicide foam or jelly with a condom to help prevent pregnancy if the condom breaks. However, some spermicides can irritate the skin around the vagina, penis, or rectum if you use them a lot. If you have an irritation on your skin, then you are at a higher risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV. If you have sex several times in 1 day or have anal sex, it is probably better to not use spermicides, including condoms lubricated with spermicide. Use a new condom each time you have sex plus a backup birth control method in case the condom breaks.
Male condoms have a variety of benefits:
The disadvantages of condoms are: