Male condoms, as one of the oldest forms of male contraception still in use today, have been used for thousands years. They used to be produced from various materials, including animal intestines, linen and cotton. Male condoms made out of rubber were founded in the 19th century. In modern times, condoms made out of latex rubber are the most popular of all. Apart from male condoms, female condoms were produced and introduced into the market. Female condoms , as well as male ones, protect not only against pregnancy but also against sexually transmitted diseases.
How to use male condom?
A male condom, a thin cover put on erect penis, is a barrier birth control method. A man should put a condom before sex happens and remove it straight after ejaculation takes place. A condom is used only once during each sexual intercourse, oral, vaginal or anal. The sperm gets trapped in the tip of the condom and it cannot reach the vagina, therefore pregnancy is generally impossible. It is important for you to check for any damage and expiration time of a condom before putting it on the penis. Damaged, dry and expired condoms should be thrown away. Additionally, do not forget to check for any breakage or leaking before taking a condom off. If there is any damage to a condom after ejaculation you may no longer be protected against pregnancy and should consult your medical advisor about emergency contraception methods .
Male condoms have the efficacy from 85% to 95% in birth control. This means that each year 10 to 15 women out of 100 will get pregnant using male condoms. The efficiency of male condoms in protection against pregnancy increases with the use of other birth control methods. It is important that condoms are worn properly, put on the penis before it comes any near to the vagina and that they are not damaged before use or after ejaculation. Male condoms, except for natural skin ones, is the main mean in protection against STDs. Although total protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs can be reached only with abstinence, male condoms are highly effective in protecting against most of STDs, including HIV. However, some of STDs, such as human papiloma virus the main cause of cervical cancer, are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and hence condoms have little effect on protection against these STDs.
Types of male condoms
There are three main types of male condoms – latex, polyurethane and animal tissue. Latex rubber condoms are the most widely used type of condoms worldwide. They are effective in protecting against pregnancy and STDs. Latex condoms are known to be the most resistant to damage and breakage, although some chemicals like oil-based lubricants and vaginal yeast infection medications may weaken this type of condoms. Being safe and effective, latex condoms also cause a few side effects, mostly allergic irritation to those, who are allergic to latex.
People, who have latex allergy, should choose polyurethane (plastic) condoms that are also efficient in protecting against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They cause no allergic reactions to users but are more expensive than latex condoms. Another type of condoms most suitable to users, who are allergic to latex rubber, is natural skin condoms. These are made out of lamb membrane and are highly efficient in pregnancy protection. However, bear in mind that natural skin condoms offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. And they are also the most expensive of all.
Side effects of male condoms
Compared to other types of birth control , male condoms have very few side effects. Allergic reactions may occur to people who have allergy for latex. Polyurethane or natural skin condoms are highly recommended to these users in order to avoid allergic irritation. Although most people do not experience any side effects or inconveniences associated with condom use, some male users complain that they find it hard maintaining their erection while putting a condom on or during sexual intercourse. Others may feel that their sensations are reduced during sex when a condom is on. In some cases, couples agree that sex cannot be spontaneous when a condom is used. However, sexually active people should understand the importance of the use of condoms in protection against most STDs.