A male condom helps protect partners from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. It is shaped like a penis, usually made of latex and fits over an erect penis or a similarly shaped sex toy. Condoms can be used for vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex, or sex toys. They work by putting a barrier between partners so that bodily fluids – like semen, blood, and saliva – are not shared, keeping pregnancy and STIs at bay. Male condoms are the only currently available reversible birth control method for men, and are 85 to 98% effective.
Male condoms are only effective when placed just before intercourse or oral sex. At first, condoms can be awkward to use; take your time and become familiar with them. Either partner can put a condom on the penis as part of sexual play. Learning how to put on a condom before sex play can help reduce anxiety with a partner. During sex, water-based lubricants can increase pleasure and comfort.
Do not use two condoms at once: Placing two male condoms on a penis can raise the chance of tearing. Male condoms and female condoms should not be used at the same time.
After sex, throw away the condom; Do not reuse it. Do not use the same condom for vaginal and anal intercourse.
The male condom is placed on a man’s erect penis. Before putting on the condom, uncircumcised men may find it useful to pull back the foreskin. With one hand, squeeze a half-inch of the condom’s tip to remove air and leave room for semen. With your other hand, unroll the condom to the base of the penis. The band of latex at the open end of the condom helps to keep it from slipping during intercourse.
After ejaculating, withdraw the penis before losing the erection. Hold the condom on the penis during withdrawal to keep sperm from leaking out. Either partner can hold onto the rim.
Throw away the condom and use a new one if sex continues. Maintain distance between you and your partner’s genitals to prevent infection or pregnancy; Sperm may still be on the penis after the condom is taken off.
Most people prefer male condoms without spermicide for oral sex. You can also buy flavored male condoms.
For oral sex on a woman, male condoms can be used as a barrier to protect against the spread of infections. Cut off the closed tip of the condom. Make another cut along the side of the condom. This will give you a rectangular sheet. Place the sheet over the genitals or over a partner’s mouth. Be careful to keep any areas of contact fully covered by the condom during oral sex. After oral sex, throw away the condom.
For oral sex on a man, the condom is placed on the penis as it would be for intercourse. After oral sex, throw away the condom.
The most common causes of condom failure are breakage and slipping. To prevent breakage, make sure there is enough lubrication from natural secretions or a water-based lubricant. Dryness creates more friction and can tear a condom. Adding lubrication can also increase pleasure for both partners and encourage continued use of condoms.
To use lubricant with a male condom, add one or two drops into the tip of the condom before putting it on. Add more around the vaginal opening, the inner lips and the clitoris. If the vagina or the condom becomes less lubricated during sex, you can add a few more drops of lubricant or a little bit of water.
Latex or polyurethane barriers (male condoms, female condoms, dental dams or gloves) can be more effective and comfortable for both partners when used with a lubricant from a bottle or tube. Use only lubricants marked for sexual use or as latex-safe such as Astroglide or KY Liquid. Do not use Vaseline, creams, edible oils or vaginal medications because they can cause latex condoms to break.
To keep a condom from slipping off, make sure the rim stays near the base of the penis during intercourse. This is especially important as the penis is withdrawn after sex play.
Oil-based lubricants, like Vaseline or vegetable/olive oils, weaken male condoms and make them less effective.
Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Exposure to heat such as a hot glove compartment in a car, or friction such as a back-pocket wallet can create microscopic holes. Check the condom’s expiration date before using it.
There is a chance that male condoms could break or slip during sex. If this occurs, a woman may consider taking emergency contraception (the Morning After Pill or Plan B) to prevent pregnancy.
If you or your partner experience genital burning or itching, it may be a sign of an allergy to either the condom or spermicide used. If you used a latex condom, try using condoms without latex. You can also try a spermicide with different chemicals than the one you used. If your spermicide contains nonoxynol-9, try one without it.
- Prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV and AIDS.
- Birth control for men.
- Available without a prescription.
- No hormonal side effects.
- Use can be part of sex play.
- Easy to use.
- Does not affect future fertility.
- May decrease women’s risk for developing pre-cancerous cells on the cervix.
- Must be readily available.
- Can interrupt sex play.
- Can break or leak.
- Possible allergic reaction.
- Decreased sensation for some people.
If a condom breaks, comes off or doesn’t get used correctly, a woman can take Emergency Contraception pills AFTER SEX to prevent pregnancy.
- Male Health Center
- Using Condoms, about various condom types and sizes
- Condoms for safer sex to prevent the spread of infections
- Coalition for Positive Sexuality