WHAT IT IS
A thin tube that slips over a guy’s penis; it can be made from latex, lambskin, or some kind of polyurethane/synthetic material. Some condoms come with spermicide or lubricant.
HOW IT WORKS
It’s pretty simple—the male condom slips over a guy’s penis and catches any sperm he releases. The sperm stays inside the condom and away from the woman’s vagina/uterus.
Male condoms are 82% effective.
Note: When we talk about effectiveness we mean typical use numbers or what happens when couples used this method of birth control pretty well; it accounts for human errors and occasional contraceptive failure. BUT, teenagers are often not as careful as older people in using these methods, so real typical use rates for teens may be a little worse than what you see here. Keep that in mind as you're looking at the options and remember that for birth control to be effective, you have to use it consistently and correctly every single time.
- Relatively easy to use.
- No visit to a health care professional required.
- STI protection.
- Available in lots of places.
If you’re allergic to latex or spermicide, make sure to avoid those types of male condom.
Note: Not every woman experiences these drawbacks—they are just some of the ones that are commonly reported. Talk to your medical provider to learn more and keep in mind that if this method doesn’t work for you, there are LOTS more out there…but it’s best to wait at least six months to see if things get better before you decide to switch. If they don’t, or if you just can’t deal with them, talk with your medical provider about finding something that works for you.
NEED TO SEE A MEDICAL PROVIDER?
Nope; this one is all on you (and your partner). You can buy male condoms at drugstores, online, and—a lot of times—get them free from health centers and clinics.
Originally published on stayteen.org on January 2, 2015.