Contraception and Safer Sex
What is a male condom?
The male condom is a thin sheath that fits over a man’s erect penis or a similar shaped sex toy. Condoms are widely available in latex but are also available in polyurethane and animal membrane. It protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or pregnancy (except for animal membrane condoms, which only help prevent pregnancy.) The male condom can be used for vaginal, anal and oral sex performed on a penis.
How does the male condom work?
Condoms work by providing a barrier between partners so that bodily fluids, like semen, blood, vaginal fluid and saliva, are not shared.
How effective is the male condom?
The male condom is an effective method for preventing STIs and pregnancy.
Perfect use: Approximately 98% effective
Typical use: Approximately 86% effective
How do I use the male condom?
Male condoms can be put on an erect penis before vaginal, anal or oral sex performed on a penis. It is important to select the right lubricant for the type of condom you are using. Oil based lubricants such as petroleum jelly should not be used on latex condoms because they will cause the latex to rapidly deteriorate. Oil based lubricants are perfectly fine for polyurethane condoms. Water based lubricants can be used with any type of condom and silicone based lubricants can be used with latex condoms but not polyurethane condoms.
It is important to take good care of your condoms. Avoid storing condoms in places that are too warm or too cold, such as in the trunk of your car or in the fridge or a wallet.
How to properly put on a condom:
1. Check the expiry date on the package. If the condom is expired, don’t attempt to use it. Just throw it away because expired condoms will tear easily.
2. Make sure the package hasn’t been tampered with. Hold it up to the light to check for holes. You can also feel in the middle of the package for an air bubble to make sure it hasn’t been punctured.
3. Push the condom to one side while it is still the package by slowly kneading it with your fingers.
4. While condom is at one side, slowly tear along the perforations on the other side, to ensure that you do not tear into the condom. Never open a condom with your teeth, nails or scissors as this could also cause damage to the condom.
5. Take the condom out of the package and roll it down a little bit to find out which way it is rolling. If you begin to roll the condom down the wrong way, do not flip it around the right way and proceed to put the condom on because there can be pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) on the condom which can transmit STIs or cause a pregnancy to occur.
6. Pinch the tip of the condom with the thumb and index finger of one hand and roll the condom down with your other hand. Roll the condom all the way the base of the penis or sex toy to ensure that it does not slip off during sex.
How to take a condom off properly:
1. While the penis is still erect, hold the tip of the condom with one hand and slowly pull the condom off with the other hand while simultaneously holding the base to ensure that semen does not leak out.
2. Once the condom is off, hold the condom right side up so that the semen stays in the bottom. Tie the condom in a knot.
3. Throw the condom in the garbage-never flush it down the toilet because it will cause the toilet to clog up.
What can be the advantages of using the male condom?
• Widely available and are often free at drop in centres, community centres and walk-in clinics
• Easy to use
• Protects both partners against STIs
• Comes in a variety of sizes, colours and flavours
• Can be made into dental dams for oral sex on the vulva or anus
• Comes in a variety of colours, flavours, sizes. There are also vibrating condoms, condoms that heat up, and a whole variety of other specialty condoms (some of which may cost a bit more).
What can be the disadvantages of using the male condom?
• Condoms can break or slip off
• Can interrupt sex
• Requires partner’s involvement
• Non-latex condoms can be expensive and harder to find
• If being used on a penis, the penis must be erect in order to use the condom
• Latex can sometimes have an unpleasant smell or taste to it.
How can I get male condoms?
Condoms are widely available and can be found at pharmacies, convenience stores, sexual health centres, Planned Parenthood Ottawa and many more places. At Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the sexual health centre they are FREE!
How much do male condoms cost?
The cost of condoms is widely variable depending on the type of condom you purchase and where you purchase them from. Polyurethane condoms are substantially more expensive than latex condoms. To find out more about prices, call or visit your local pharmacy (or another place where you would like to purchase condoms) and ask about their prices.