Male condom

The male condom is a thin rubber or plastic sheath that covers the penis. It only needs to be used during sex.

How good is the male condom at preventing pregnancy?

  • The condom works reasonably well at preventing a pregnancy but its effectiveness largely depends on whether it is used properly every time the person using it has sex.

  • If 100 women used condoms properly with their partners every time they had sex and carried on with their normal sex life, then 1-2 of those women would fall pregnant.

  • If not used properly then a much larger number of women would fall pregnant.

What are other good things about the male condom?

  • It can be used straight after an abortion. You only need to use condoms when you have sex.

  • They help to protect against most sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, when used for any type of sexual activity.

  • Male condoms come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

What else should you know?

  • Male condoms can sometimes slip off or split, which is why they are not always as good as some other forms of contraceptive.

  • 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.
  • Some people are sensitive to certain types of condoms made of latex, though this is rare. In general condoms do not cause irritation to either the vagina or womb.

Find out about other short term contraceptive methods

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Compare different contraceptive methods, and see how well they work at preventing pregnancy.

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