Condom (Men)


What is it?

A male condom is a tube made of latex, polyurethane, or natural membranes. The man or his partner puts the condom over the penis before the penis has any contact with the genital area. Condoms also can be used during oral or anal sex.

How well does it prevent pregnancy?

While very important for preventing sexually transmitted diseases or infections, this is one of the least effective methods for preventing pregnancy. It has one of the highest pregnancy rates of all birth control methods.

About 13 out of 100 women using only male condoms for birth control get pregnant in a year of use.

  • Condoms that are factory-coated with spermicide don’t prevent pregnancy any better than regular condoms.
  • The most common reason for failure is not using a condom every time. Condoms may also break or slip.


Blocks sperm from entering the vagina.


Many different brands are available. Some are lubricated.


  • Available at many stores. No need to see a doctor or get a prescription.
  • Small and easy to carry, so you can always be prepared.
  • Allows men to be involved with birth control.
  • Hormone-free.
  • Can be used with spermicides or other birth control methods to increase effectiveness and protect against STIs.
  • Sex may be less messy for the woman because condoms catch the fluid when a man ejaculates. Some couples also may prefer to use them if the woman is spotting or bleeding.
  • Lubricated condoms may help if vaginal dryness is an issue.
  • Reversible. Stop using condoms if you want to try to get pregnant.


  • One of the least effective forms of birth control.
  • You have to use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Unless you make it part of foreplay, putting on the condom may interrupt sex. Some men may lose their erections.
  • Can break or slip off.
  • Can tear or get tiny holes.
  • Takes practice to learn how to put on and take off correctly.
  • May reduce sensation in the penis. Need for quick withdrawal after sex may reduce pleasure for the man.
Consider keeping emergency birth control (“morning-after pill”) at home to use as backup. It works best to prevent pregnancy if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or birth control mishaps, but may work if taken up to 5 days afterward. Brands include Plan B, ella, and others.
Helps prevent getting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases or infections, including HIV.
Avoid latex condoms if either partner has a latex allergy.