Condoms and Female Condoms

Brand Names

There are many brands of condom in differing shapes, colors, features and sizes. You can find them in the family planning aisle of most grocery, convenience and drug stores.

How it Works

A condom is a latex or plastic sleeve molded into the shape of a penis that fits snugly over the shaft. It is placed on the penis before and worn during sexual intercourse. Condoms help prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by collecting pre-cum and semen when the man ejaculates. The sperm is held in the condom and prevented from entering the vagina and fertilizing the egg. By covering most of the penis shaft and keeping semen out of the vagina, anus or mouth, condoms are an effective method of pregnancy prevention.

The female condom works similarly. It is fitted inside the vagina and collects pre-cum and semen when a man ejaculates. The sperm is held in the condom and prevented from entering the vagina and fertilizing the egg.

How to Use

Before putting on a condom, make sure you and your partner review and understand the instructions and diagrams that come with the condoms. Always check the expiration date as well.

Always put on the condom before the penis comes into any contact with the female genitals. Use a fresh condom for every erection.

A condom should be individually sealed in aluminum foil or plastic; take care when opening the package so the condom does not get torn. The condom will come in a rolled up ring shape. Put a drop or two of lubricant inside the condom. Leave a half-inch space at the tip to collect the semen and pinch the air out of this. Pull back the foreskin, if uncircumcised, and place the rolled condom over the tip of the hard penis. Unroll the condom up the shaft with the other hand. Smooth out any air bubbles and lubricate the outside of the condom.

The female condom can be inserted prior to sexual intercourse. Put spermicide or lubricant on the outside of the closed end. Stand with one foot on the side of the tub or sit on the edge, lie down or squat (similar to how you’d stand to insert a tampon). Squeeze the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina, pushing the inner ring as far in as it will go. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring remain about an inch out of the vagina.


  • When male condoms are the only birth control method utilized and are used exactly as directed every time, they are 98% effective. You can increase the effectiveness of condoms by using spermicide with them and by using the pull out method.
  • Female condoms are slightly less effective. With perfect use, 95% of pregnancies will be avoided. You can increase the effectiveness of condoms by using spermicide with them and by using the pull out method.


The cost is approximately one dollar per condom and two to four dollars per female condom.


  • Condoms can be used for vaginal, anal or oral sex. Female condoms can be used for vaginal or anal sex. Condoms are safe and simple to use. They are inexpensive and do not require a prescription.
  • Women like condoms because they can be used while breastfeeding, do not affect their natural hormones and do not carry any of the side effects of hormonal birth controls.
  • Condoms may help a man stay erect longer and may help relieve premature ejaculation. They can be put on as a part of sex play. Female condoms may enhance the sexual experience, as the external ring may stimulate the clitoris during sexual intercourse.
  • Unlike hormonal birth controls, condoms offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as pregnancy. They can be used with all other birth control methods except the female condom to provide the maximum amount of pregnancy protection. Condoms can protect against STIs including
    • chlamydia
    • chancroid
    • gonorrhea
    • hepatitis B
    • herpes
    • HPV
    • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
    • syphilis
    • trichomoniasis


  • Approximately six percent of people are allergic to latex condoms. For these people, there are condoms made of plastic that are equally effective. Beware that oil-based lubricants can damage a latex condom but are fine to use with female condoms.
  • Some women and men complain of dulled sensations when using a condom during sex. Some people also lose sexual excitement when they have to stop to put on a condom before sexual intercourse.
  • Female condoms can cause irritation in the vagina, vulva or penis. They can also slip into the vagina during intercourse.
  • Condoms must be used before every sexual encounter. Due to this factor, they have a lower rate of effectiveness for “typical use,” which is the measurement used for the average person who may not use the birth control method effectively or every time. If you choose condoms as your birth control method, it is important to commit to using one every time you have sex.

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Birth Control News

How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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