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revised Friday October 12 2007

Male Condom

What is it?

The male condom is a protective barrier that fits over the penis during oral, vaginal or anal intercourse. The condom collects ejaculate, or pre-ejaculate (cum/semen) and protects both partners from body fluids during intercourse. Therefore, condoms are useful for both preventing pregnancy (they are rated between 86.2% and 97.4% effective in preventing pregnancy) and protection against transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Some sexually transmitted infections (herpes, HPV or Human Papilloma Virus or warts) are passed through skin to skin contact so a condom may not provide protection.

Condoms are available in a variety of sizes, colours, and textures. Flavoured condoms are available for oral sex. They can be made of latex, polyurethane or lambskin. Condoms made of animal tissue (e.g. lambskin) do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Polyurethane condoms can be used if you or your partner has an allergy to latex. Condoms are available with:

  • no lubricant
  • a water-based or silicone lubricant
  • a spermicidal lubricant.

Benefits of Condoms

Condoms have many benefits including:

  • preventing pregnancy
  • preventing many sexually transmitted diseases
  • may help in maintaining erection
  • being easily available in many locations without a doctor's prescription
  • low price - samples are available free at some clinics
  • cut lengthwise, a latex condom can be used as a barrier during oral sex with a female partner or oral-anal contact with a partner.

Possible Side Effects

  • Skin irritation
  • Possible allergic reaction to latex and/or spermicide
  • Vaginitis due to the additives in some flavoured condoms
  • Decreased sensation - sensation may be increased with the use of a drop of water-based lubricant inside the tip of the condom

Important Points to Remember

  • Oil-based lubricants (e.g. petroleum jelly/Vaseline, mineral oil, baby oil, vegetable oil, massage oil, etc.) can break down latex condoms
  • Condoms have an expiry date (by law this must be printed on each condom package).
  • Extra-strength condoms with additional extra water-based lubricant are recommended for anal sex.
  • Novelty condoms may not prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

It is important to talk with your partner(s) about safer sex practices. If you or your partner(s) have had previous partner(s), consider testing for sexually transmitted infections.

How to Use the Male Condom

  • Check the expiry date on the condom package.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place away from heat, UV light and high humidity. Don't keep condoms in a wallet next to the body for a long period of time.
  • Do not have any genital to genital contact without a condom on the penis.
  • Open wrapper carefully so the condom is not torn by jewellery or fingernails.
  • Do not unroll or stretch a condom before use. This may weaken the condom.
  • Pinch the air from the tip of the condom and keep it pinched while the condom is put on.
  • Place condom on the end of the hard penis.
  • Unroll condom all the way down penis.
  • If not circumsized, pull foreskin back before putting the condom on.
  • If you want more wetness during intercourse, use water-based lubricants such as Astroglide, K-Y Jelly, Muko, etc.
  • After ejaculating (cuming), hold onto the condom at the base of the penis and pull out before the penis gets soft. This will help to prevent the condom from slipping off the penis.
  • After ejaculation do not use the condom again.
  • Throw condom in the garbage. Condoms will clog the toilet.

Use condoms to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and Hepatitis B.

For more information, call 905-799-7700 and ask for Sexual Health Information.

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Revised: Friday October 12 2007

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