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Condom (male)



If you're under 20 years old, you can get free condoms from a wide range of locations across Dorset:

  • Easy to put on yourself.
  • Available in different shapes, sizes and flavours.
  • Suitable for unplanned sex - no preparation.
  • Easy to carry around in your wallet or pocket.
  • If you are sensitive to latex, you can use polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms instead.

Condoms are the only contraceptive method that protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The male condom is a sheath or covering that is worn over the penis during sex. They are designed to stop a man's semen from coming into contact with his sexual partner. They can be used by men having sex with women or men to prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs.

Each condom can only be used once, so protection only lasts as long as the condom is intact and worn on the penis.

To prevent pregnancy the condom must stop any sperm from reaching the vagina. Small amounts of sperm are released from the penis before ejaculation, so for condoms to be effective they must be used during any contact between the penis and vagina. Putting on the condom late or removing the condom during sex will result in much higher risk of pregnancy.

Condoms are often used by people who are not in long term relationships, or who prefer not to use a long term or hormonal method of contraception. Condoms are easy to carry around and can be thrown in a bin after use. Condoms are easy to put on with a bit of practice.

Effectiveness
82%
Last for
1 use
Effect on
period
None
Side
effects
Rare


How it works

How to use it

To put it on, first check the roll is on the outside. Squeeze the teat of the condom and roll it down the penis with your other hand.

Why it works

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They stop sperm from reaching an egg by creating a physical barrier between them. Condoms also prevent the transmission of STIs by providing a barrier. Condoms can be used for vaginal, anal or oral sex.


Condoms are a good method of contraception if you remember to keep them with you when you think you are going to have sex. You should also be confident about putting them on or asking your partner to put one on.

Condoms become less effective at preventing pregnancy if:

  • The penis touches the area around the vagina before a condom is put on.
  • The condom splits or comes off (using wrong size).
  • The condom gets damaged by sharp fingernails or jewellery.
  • You use oil-based lubricants (such as lotion, baby oil or petroleum jelly) with latex condoms – this damages the condom.
  • You are using medication for conditions like thrush, such as creams, pessaries or suppositories – this can damage latex condoms.

What if

The condom splits or comes off:

If this happens, you need to consider 2 things:

  • pregnancy;
  • STIs.

If the condom splits or comes off, you can visit a clinic or pharmacy to receive emergency contraception (EC). This must be taken within 5 days of having unprotected sex. To find your nearest EC service, visit sxt.org.uk.

You should also take an STI test as you may have been exposed to an infection when the condom split.

If you are a man who has sex with men think you are at risk of HIV because a condom has split or come off, preventative medication (PEP) is available. This will reduce your chance of becoming infected with HIV, but must be started within 3 days of exposure. To find your nearest PEP service, visit sxt.org.uk.

Questions


Will I be asked for ID when buying condoms?

No. There are no restrictions on buying condoms, or on getting free and confidential advice about using condoms or other contraception.


Do I need to use lubricant?

Condoms come ready lubricated to make them easier to use, but you may also like to use additional lubricant, or ‘lube’. This is particularly advised for anal sex, to reduce the chance of the condom splitting.

Any kind of lubricant can be used with condoms that are not made of latex. However, if you are using latex condoms, do not use oil-based lubricants, such as: body oil or lotion, petroleum jelly or creams (such as Vaseline). This is because they can damage the latex and make the condom more likely to split. Lubricants are cheap and available in most pharmacies, at sexual health clinics and online.


Should I use a condom for oral sex?

Yes. You should use a condom for oral sex because gonorrhoea, chlamydia, oral HPV and herpes can be passed on this way.


Can I use the male condom if I’m pregnant?

Yes. If you think you are at risk of STIs, you should use a condom during sex when pregnant to protect yourself and your baby from contracting an infection.


What should I do if the condom splits?

If the condom splits or comes off, you can visit a clinic or pharmacy to receive emergency contraception (EC). This must be taken within 5 days of having unprotected sex. To find your nearest EC service, visit sxt.org.uk.

You should also take an STI test as you may have been exposed to an infection when the condom split.

If you are a man who has sex with men and think you are at risk of HIV because a condom has split or come off, preventative medication (PEP) is available. This will reduce your chance of becoming infected with HIV, but must be started within three days of exposure. To find your nearest PEP service, visit sxt.org.uk.


How do I put on a condom?

Take the condom out of the packet, taking care not to tear it with jewellery or fingernails – do not open the packet with your teeth.

  • Place the condom over the tip of the erect penis, checking the roll of condom is on the outside.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom.
  • Gently roll the condom down to the base of the penis.
  • If the condom won't roll down, you're probably holding it the wrong way round – if this happens, throw the condom away because it may have sperm on it, and try again with a new one.
  • After sex, withdraw the penis while it's still erect – hold the condom onto the base of the penis while you do this.
  • Remove the condom from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen.
  • Throw the condom away in a bin, not down the toilet.
  • Make sure the man's penis does not touch his partner's genital area again.
  • If you have sex again, use a new condom.

I am aged between 13 and 19. How can I get free condoms through the C-Card scheme?

The Dorset C-Card scheme provides free condoms for people between 13 and 19.  All you have to do is visit one of our C-Card venues, have a short confidential consultation with a trained member of staff who will then give you a C-Card and condoms. Once you have a C-Card you can access free condoms from venues on our list of C-Card distributors. To find a C-Card venue that's handy for you, use our Find a service tool and select 'C-Card Venue' from the dropdown menu.


Are there any health risks associated with using male condoms?

For most people, there are no serious risks associated with using condoms, although some people are allergic to latex condoms. You can get condoms that are latex free.


Can I use the male condom if I have my period?

Yes. Menstrual blood is a natural fluid and will not have any impact on the condom’s effectiveness.

If you are using condoms to prevent pregnancy you should use them during sex on every day of your cycle, including during your period, when there is still a small risk of pregnancy.

If using condoms to prevent STIs then you should use them during sex on every day of your cycle, including during your period.


Should I use the male condom if I’ve just had a baby?

When you feel ready to have sex again, it is safe for you to use a condom. You may need to use one even if you are returning to another method of contraception, as it can take time for other methods to start working.


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