Male condom

A male condom is a thin rubber sheath that's used to cover a man's penis when it's erect. It blocks ejaculation fluid from entering the vagina. Condoms made of latex are most common, but they're also available in lambskin or polyurethane materials, for those who are allergic to latex.

Availability Nonprescription

How it's used

Before intercourse, unroll the condom all the way down the shaft of the penis, leaving a half-inch space at the head of the penis to allow semen to collect. Use once only and then discard.


Male condoms are 86 percent to 98 percent effective, meaning up to 14 out of 100 women who use this method as birth control for a year will become pregnant.

Issues to consider

Of all birth control methods, male latex and polyurethane condoms are the most effective at protecting against STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Lambskin condoms have tiny pores that may allow viruses to pass through. Condoms are inexpensive and easy to use. Don't use latex condoms with oil-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly or hand lotion, as they can weaken or damage the condom.

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