The male condom, sometimes called a rubber, is a thin, disposable covering that fits snugly over an erect penis. Condoms are used to prevent pregnancy and to help protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs or STIs) such as gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. If you or your partner are having sex with more than one person, it’s best to use a condom every time you have sex.
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. Only latex and polyurethane condoms protect against infection. Animal skin condoms do not. To make sure you have a condom that helps protects against disease, check the condom package for a statement that the condom helps 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.
To protect against pregnancy and infection, use latex or polyurethane condoms during foreplay and every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Each condom must be used just once and then thrown away.
To use a condom:
It’s a good idea to have more than one condom with you, 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. If a condom breaks during sex, the chances of a pregnancy are higher, even if ejaculation has not happened yet.
Some 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. Oil-based lubricants can make latex condoms break. It is OK to use oil-based lubricants with polyurethane condoms.
Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm. 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 have an irritation on your skin, then you have a higher risk of getting an infection. If you have sex several times in 1 day or have anal sex, it’s probably better to not use spermicides, including condoms lubricated with spermicide.
Male condoms have a variety of benefits:
The disadvantages of condoms are: