Birth Control: Condoms
convenient, condoms are one of the most popular methods of birth control. With
an average price of $1 each, condoms are inexpensive and readily available at:
- convenience stores
- vending machines
They are also frequently distributed for free in some health
clinics, as well as at bars and other venues where people meet.
Male and female condoms are the only forms of contraception
that can prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In addition, male
condoms are the only male-controlled form of contraception other than vasectomy.
What Is a Condom?
A condom is
a sheath that covers the penis during intercourse. They are made out of:
- polyisoprene (synthetic latex)
in many varieties. Variations include different:
Condoms come in both lubricated and unlubricated varieties.
Lubricated condoms may or may not contain spermicide, a substance that often contains
the chemical nonoxynol-9, which kills sperm.
How Do Condoms Work?
Condoms prevent pregnancy by physically containing semen.
They keep sperm from entering the vagina during intercourse. Condoms also
prevent the spread of STIs, including HIV/AIDs.
How Do I Use a Condom?
Condoms are relatively easy to use. However, it may help to
practice. To use a condom:
- Wait for the man to become fully erect.
- Check the expiration date on the condom packet,
and then check the freshness of the pack by feeling for the air bubble.
- Carefully tear open the condom package.
- Unroll the
condom about one half inch.
- Pinching the tip to get the air out, place the
condom on the penis. Leave the room at the tip. The lip of the rim should be
facing up, so that you can easily roll the condom down onto the penis.
- Roll the condom all the way down the penis.
- Smooth out any air bubbles
- Apply condom-safe lubricant to the outside of
the condom. Oil-based lubricants should not be used with latex condoms, as they
can damage latex and cause the condom to break. Lubricant is a good idea, even if the condom
the condom after sex:
- Hold the base of the condom as you withdraw your
- Remove the condom and throw it away, being
careful not to spill any semen. Do not flush a condom down the toilet.
should be removed from the vagina while still erect. Otherwise, there is a risk
of the condom slipping off during withdrawal.
cannot be reused. Also, they should be put on before the penis
touches the vulva.
a very effective form of birth control when used properly. According to Planned
Parenthood, the contraceptive failure rate is two percent for women whose
partners always use condoms properly, and 18 percent for women whose partners
don’t always use condoms properly.
protection can be achieved by combining condoms with spermicides or another
form of birth control—such as hormonal contraception. However, spermicides that
contain nonoxynol-9 (N-9) should be used with caution. Used frequently, N-9 may
increase the risk of HIV.
popularity of condoms as a birth control method is mostly due to convenience. The
- easy access
- good efficacy, with proper use
- ability to prevent STIs
- lack of side effects
- prevention of premature ejaculation in some men
disadvantage of condoms include:
- moderately high failure rate when used
improperly or inconsistently
- potential for diminished sensation
- interruption of sex
- irritation, for people with latex allergies
If you have
latex allergies and want to use condoms, don’t fret. There are now two
alternatives to latex condoms—polyurethane and polyisoprene. Polyurethane
condoms are made of plastic. They are highly effective, although they feel
different than latex condoms. Polyisoprene condom are made out of synthetic
latex. However, they are safe for most people with latex allergies. Latex
allergies are usually due to natural contaminants rather than the rubber itself.
Polyisoprene condoms feel more like latex condoms.