What should I know about condoms for men

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The condom for men is a narrow bag of thin rubber that the man wears on his penis during sex. Because the man’s semen stays in the bag, the sperm cannot enter the woman’s body.

Condoms offer a good protection from pregnancy. They are most effective when used with spermicide and water-based lubricant.

Condoms have no side effects.

Condoms are the best protection against STIs and HIV. They can be used alone or along with any other family planning method. Condoms can be bought at many pharmacies and markets, and are often available at health posts and through AIDS prevention programs.

The condom must be put on the man’s penis when it is hard, but before it touches the woman’s genitals. If he rubs his penis on the woman’s genitals or goes into her vagina, he can make the woman pregnant or can give her an STI, even if he does not spill his sperm (ejaculate).

If a condom breaks or comes off the penis, the woman should put spermicide in her vagina immediately. If possible, use emergency family planning.


  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • A woman who is using another family planning method should also use condoms if she needs STI protection.
  • If possible, always use condoms made of latex. They give the best protection against HIV. Condoms made of sheepskin or lambskin may not protect against HIV.
  • Keep condoms in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Condoms from old or torn packages are more likely to break.
  • Use a condom only once. A condom that has been used before is more likely to break.
  • Keep condoms within reach. You are less likely to use them if you have to stop what you are doing to look for them.
  • At first, many couples do not like to use condoms. But once they get used to it, they may even recognize benefits besides protecting against unwanted pregnancies and STIs. For example, condoms can help some men last longer before they come.
  • Be careful not to tear the condom as you open the package. Do not use a new condom if the package is torn or dried out, or if the condom is stiff or sticky. The condom will not work. Do not unroll the condom before putting it on.
  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en020410