When the time feels right to have sex make sure you are prepared.
Remember to use contraception every time. Click here for more options.
The condom is simple to use and is the only form of contraception that offers protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), if used correctly. Click here for and easy guide to using condoms.
Short video about what you need to know about condoms
There are 2 types of condom, both male and female.
The female condom is called the Femidom. It is made of polyurethane. It is put into the vagina prior to sex.
If used correctly according to instructions it is 95% effective.
- Prevents pregnancy
- May give some protection from sexually transmitted infections
- Ideal for those who are allergic to latex.
- Can be used with different creams and oil based lubricants.
- Can be put in any time before sex.
- The penis must enter the condom and not go between the vagina and the condom.
- The open end must stay outside the vagina during intercourse
Female condoms are available free from Choices and through selected chemists at a cost.
More information about female condoms
These come in many varieties: latex, polyurethane, ribbed, flavoured, and sensitive, as well as different sizes.
Most are available FREE from the Choices clinic and the Orchard Centre or to purchase from pharmacies.
Whatever condom you choose to roll on, always make sure there is a BSI kitemark or European CE mark on the packaging. This denotes they have been tested to a high standard of safety.
Always make sure your condoms are within the expiry date shown on the packet.
Read the instructions beforehand DO NOT wait until you are about to have sex before rolling on a condom for the first time. Practise until you can do it in the dark!
Male condoms used perfectly, according to the instructions are 98% effective, but in reality are 85% effective with typical use.
- They may give some protection to both partners from sexually transmitted infections.
- They are readily available
- They come in different shapes and sizes to suit everybody.
- Some people may experience an allergy to the latex.
- Putting them on can interrupt sex
- The condom can slip off or split.
- The condom can be damaged by sharp fingernails or jewellery.
Warning: Do Not use oil based products with latex condoms. Some medications used in the genital area e.g. creams, or pessaries will affect the latex. Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
More information about male condoms
Occasionally the condom can fail (split or fall off) during sexual intercourse. If this happens emergency contraception is available to women to help reduce the chances of pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is available through the Choices clinic or your family doctor. It is important that the woman seeks advice following a condom failure as soon as possible. The emergency contraceptive pill is more effective the sooner it is taken following a mishap and the Copper IUD is the most effective option.
Do Not Delay.
If there is a condom failure you are at risk of passing on or picking up an STI. Both males and females can get advice from Choices, the Orchard Centre or from your own doctor. Click here for more information.