Overview on Condoms

  • With the correct use before every sexual encounter, male condoms are 98% effective. Which means a total of 2 out of 100 women gets pregnant in a year when male condoms are used as a contraceptive method.

  • Condoms can be gotten for free from contraception clinics and sexual health clinics.

  • Moisturizers which are basically Oil-based products, lotions and Vaseline can reduce effectiveness and cause damage to latex and polyisoprene condoms but they have no effect on polyurethane condoms.
  • All condoms can be safely lubricated with any water-based lubricant.

  • There have been occasions when condoms slip off the during sex so if that happens, you may need to get emergency contraception and a medical check up for STIs.

  • Condoms should be stored in cool dry places that are away from sharp objects and rough surfaces that could tear or wear them away.

  • Putting on a condom can be made another enjoyable part of sexual intercourse. It doesn’t have to be considered an interruption.

  • If you're sensitive or get adverse reactions from latex, there’s always the option of polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms.

  • Condoms are designed for single use so a new one is to be used for every time you have sex.

  • Condoms have expiration dates too. Don't use expired condoms.

  • Condoms that have the BSI kite mark and the CE mark on the packet are highly recommended because it means they’ve been tested to high safety standards.

How to use a Condoms

  • Remove the condom from its packet being careful not to puncture or tear it with jewellery or nails. Never open the packet with your teeth.

  • Position the condom over the tip of the erect male genitalia (penis).

  • If you notice a tear at the tip of the condom, use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the air out of it.
  • Unfold the condom by rolling it down gently to the base of the penis.

  • If there is difficulty with rolling the condom down, you may be holding it the wrong way round. If this happens, you may already have sperm on it so throw it away and repeat the process with a new packet.

  • After sex, withdraw the penis while it's still erect while holding on to the condom at the base of the penis while you do this.

  • Carefully remove the condom from the penis so as to prevent spilling any semen.

  • Dispose of the condom in a bin (not down the toilet).

  • Be certain the penis does not touch your partner's genital area again.

  • If you decide to have sex again, use a new condom.

Condoms with spermicide

Some condoms come with chemicals called spermicide. Avoid using this type of condoms spermicide should also not be used as a lubricant as it doesn't protect against STIs and might increase your risk of getting infected.

Who can use Condoms?

Condoms can be safely used by most people but they might not be the suitable method of contraception for everyone because:

  • Some people have been found to be allergic to latex condoms. If this is a problem, the use of polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.

  • Some men who have difficulty keeping an erection may find it hard to use condoms because the penis must be erect during use to prevent semen from leaking or the condom slipping off.

Advantages of Condoms

  • When used correctly and consistently, they are easy and reliable method of preventing pregnancy.

  • It helps to protect both sexual partners from infections like chlamydiagonorrhoea and HIV.

  • You only need to put it on when you have want to have sex. It does not need prior or long term preparation and is extremely suitable for unplanned sex.

  • Mostly, there are no medical side effects from the use of condoms.

  • They are easy to get obtain and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavours.

Disadvantages of Condoms

  • Some sexual partners find that using condoms reduces the enjoyment the find in sex. If this is the case with you, try to make using a condom part of foreplay so it wouldn’t be an interruption.

  • Condoms are usually very strong but splitting or tearing may occur if not used properly. If this is the case, practice putting them on until you get used to them.

  • Some people are allergic to latex, plastic and/or spermicides so you should get condoms that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

  • To avoid spillage when using a condom, the man will need to pull out his penis after he has ejaculated before it goes soft. This is has to be done quickly so the condom would still be firmly in place for safe removal.

Can anything make Condoms less effective?

Semen sometimes get into the vagina during sex even when a condom is being used. This can occur because:

  • The male genital touched the area around the vagina before a condom worn

  • The condom has a tear, splits or comes off during sex

  • The condom was punctured by sharp fingernails or jewellery

  • An oil-based lubricant such as lotion, baby oil or petroleum jelly was used with latex or polyisoprene condoms which damaged the condom

  • You are on a medication for conditions such as creams, pessaries or suppositories which might damage latex and polyisoprene condoms and reduce their effectiveness.

If you think sperm has somehow slipped in the vagina, you may need emergency contraception. You should consider the use of emergency contraception for up to five days after unprotected sex. 

You should also undergo an STI test which are available at:

  • Sexual health clinics

  • Contraception clinics

  • Young person's clinics

You can also adopt the use of other forms of contraception such as the contraceptive pill or implant for extra protection against pregnancy although those other forms of contraception won’t protect you against STIs if the condom splits.

Where to get Condoms

Condoms can be gotten for free even if you're under 16 from:

  • Contraception clinics

  • Sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics

  • Some GP surgeries

  • Some young people's services

You can also purchase condoms from:

  • Pharmacies

  • Supermarkets

  • Online vendors

  • Mail-order catalogues

  • Vending machines in some public toilets

  • Some petrol stations

Condoms that carry the BSI kite mark and the European CE mark should be give top preference because those marks mean they have been tested to the required safety standards.