Monday, January 25, 2010

Contraception - Male And Female Condoms

Monday 25th January 2010

Condoms are what the professionals call a 'barrier' form of protection. They prevent pregnancy by stopping the male sperm from reaching the egg.

It is important to point out here that condoms do not only act as a contraceptive, but as a barrier to sexually transmitted infections,including HIV.

Condoms are made from very thin latex rubber or a very thin plastic, either polyisoprene or polyurethane. Each pack should display either the British BSI Kitemark or the European CE symbol as proof of quality, and clearly state the expiry date of the condoms. Out of date condoms should not be used.

Both male and female condoms are available in the UK and are suitable for most people. The male condom fits over a man’s erect penis. The female condom is put into the vagina and loosely lines it. It is up to you and your partner which type of condom you use.

There are many different varieties and brand names of the male condom. At the moment there is only one brand of female condom available in the UK, called Femidom.

How Effective Are Condoms?

If used correctly, male condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Female condoms are thought to be around 95% effective. Condoms also reduce the risk of STIs being passed between partners.

How To Use A Condom

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They stop sperm from reaching an egg by creating a physical barrier between the two, preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Condoms are the only form of contraception to offer protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If used correctly during vaginal, anal and oral sex they can help to protect against STIs.

The penis should not make contact with the vagina before a condom has been put on. This is because semen can come out of the penis before a man has fully ejaculated (come). If this happens, or if semen leaks into the vagina while using a male or female condom, seek advice about emergency contraception from either your GP or a sexual health clinic. Also, consider having an STI test.

It is best to use another method of contraception as well as a condom, to protect against unintended pregnancy if the condom splits or comes off.

Using male condoms

The male condom fits over a man’s erect penis and should be put on before the penis comes into contact with his partner's vagina, anus or mouth. To use a male condom:

  • Take the condom out of the packet, taking care not to tear the condom. Do not open the packet with your teeth.
  • Hold the teat at the end of the condom between your finger and thumb to make sure it goes on the right way round and that there is no air trapped inside.
  • Still holding the teat, place the condom over the tip of the erect penis.
  • Gently roll the condom down to the base of the penis.
  • If the condom will not unroll, you are probably holding it the wrong way round. If this happens throw the condom away, as it may have sperm on it, and start with a new condom.
  • After sex, withdraw the penis while it is still erect. As you do this hold the condom at the base of the penis to make sure it does not come off.
  • Remove the condom from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen, wrap it in tissue and put it in the bin. Do not flush it down the toilet.
  • Make sure the man’s penis does not touch the genital area again and, if you have sex again, use a new condom.

Putting on a condom doesn't need to be an interruption to sex. Many people see it as an enjoyable part of their foreplay.

Using female condoms

The female condom is made of polyurethane and is worn inside the vagina to stop sperm getting to the womb. It needs to be put in the vagina before there is any contact between the vagina and penis. It can be put in up to eight hours before sex.

  • Take the female condom out of the packet, taking care not to tear the condom. Do not open the packet with your teeth.
  • Squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom with your finger and thumb.
  • Using the finger and thumb push the condom as far up the vagina as possible. Make sure the large ring at the open end of the female condom is covering the area around the vaginal opening.
  • The outer ring of the condom should be outside the vagina at all times during sex. If the outer ring gets pushed inside the vagina, stop and put it back in the right place.
  • Make sure the penis enters the female condom, not between the condom and the side of the vagina.
  • After sex, slightly twist and pull the end of the condom to remove it, taking care not to spill any sperm onto the vagina. Wrap the condom in tissue and put it in a bin. Do not flush it down the toilet.

If you have sex more than once always use a new condom, never re-use condoms. Never use two condoms together and always check the expiry date.

If you want to know more about male and female condoms you can visit the NHS website



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