Male and Female Condoms

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Male and female condoms are forms of barrier contraception that work by stopping sperm from meeting an egg. The condom is the only contraception method that also prevents sexually transmitted infections.

Condoms are made of rubber or a special type of thin plastic. Anyone can use them, but if you or your partner is allergic to latex or rubber, you must use latex-free condoms. The male condom fits over the erect penis and the female condom is inserted into the vagina.


You do not need to use spermicides, or a chemical made to kill sperm, when you use a condom as the latter is effective on its own.



How Effective Are Condoms?

Condoms, if used as instructed, can have a 98% effectiveness rate for male condoms and a 95% effectiveness rate for female condoms. Some novelty condoms are not as effective as standard ones. You should check the expiration date listed on the pack and look for the "kite" sign to ensure that the condom is of recognized sound quality.


Condoms can be less effective if the condom rips or comes off, the penis slips out of the condom and enters in the vagina, the condom is damaged by oil-based creams or lubricants, or if there is contact between the vagina and penis before the condom is put on (as some sperm can be released in pre-ejaculate).

Advantages of Condoms

Condoms are easily available and simple to use with practice. Condoms are free at family planning clinics.


They can be used if you do not have a regular partner or multiple partners. There are no side effects from using them. They protect from some sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, you can use condoms in addition to other contraception such as the pill.

Disadvantages of Condoms

Putting a condom on can interrupt sex. Moreover the condoms can make undesirable noises during sex, which is especially the case for female condoms.


Image: Africa Studio - Shutterstock.com

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