The male condom is a very commonly used barrier method of contraception. It is made of thin plastic and worn over the penis during sex. Condoms are great as they have very few side effects, are hormone free and protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
What is in the Male condom?
Male condoms are thin latex or polyurethane sheaths that are worn on the penis during sexual intercourse.
No, condoms can't get 'lost' inside you - they will be somewhere within the vagina, but won't be able to fit through your cervix into your womb. If a condom slips off during sex then you can insert a finger into the vagina to retrieve it or crouch down to try and shorten your vaginal canal. If the condom has come off, you will need to assume that sperm may have entered the vagina and consider emergency contraception if you want to avoid a pregnancy. You should also consider getting an STI test.
What do I do if a condom keeps splitting?
Condoms may split because they're the wrong size, so make sure that they fit properly and have been put on correctly (for help on sizes, see below!). There are lots of different sizes and options, so it's worth trying a few styles out. It's also worth checking that the condoms are still in date and aren't being stored in direct sunlight. And when putting one on, pinch the top to squeeze any air out before rolling down onto the penis.
What happens if you put a condom on the wrong way?
You should know immediately because it won't roll down the length of the penis easily. If you put a condom on the wrong way, you may be tempted to take it off and put it the right way round however you should always throw it away and start again because there's a small chance that ejaculation is now on the inside of the condom. Learn more about pregnancy and precum.
What size condom do I need?
You should measure you or your partner for a condom. You can do this by measuring from the base of the penis (where the condom would stop rolling) to the tip of the penis. To measure girth, measure around the mid-point of the penis shaft and note the size in millimetres. If you have a girth of less than 4.7″, it needs a snug fit. a girth of 4.7–5.1″ needs a regular fit. a girth of 5.1–6″ needs a large fit.
How long does sperm live in a condom for?
Evidence shows that sperm can live outside the body (so, in a condom) for a few seconds to a few minutes. By comparison, sperm can live up to 5 to 6 days in the womb.
How the Male condom works:
Male condoms prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm getting to the womb to fertilise an egg. They also protect against STIs.
There are a few things that can stop a condom from working. The most common thing is that the condom breaks, splits or slips off during sex. It may also not be effective if its used with oil based products, medication for things like thrush, stored in intense heat or cold, or past its use by date. If these things happen you may need to use emergency contraception.
How to use the Male condom:
To use a condom, squeeze the air out of the teat at the end and place it over the tip of the erect penis. If it won’t roll down the penis, you've probably got it the wrong way round. Take it off, throw it away and start again with a new one. After sex, hold the condom at the base of the penis when you withdraw – and remove it from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen. Don’t throw condoms away in the toilet. Think of Blue Planet and put it in the bin!
How safe is the Male condom:
There are very few risks when using a male condom. Some people may be allergic or sensitive to latex and therefore a condom might not be suitable. There are however latex-free condoms available. Occasionally, condoms can come off inside a women’s vagina during sex. Don’t panic, just reach your fingers inside your vagina and try to pull it out. Sometimes squatting or propping one foot up on a higher surface, can help you reach your cervix. If you can't get it out after a few hours, head to your local sexual health clinic and they can remove it for you.