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Condoms

What is a condom?

Condoms are made from thin latex or polyurethane (thin rubber material) and lubricated with a water-based lubricant. The lubrication can make sex more pleasurable.

Are there male and female condoms?

Yes.

Male condoms

How effective is it?

If you follow the instructions, use it properly, and use a new one every time you have sex, condoms are 98% effective in preventing a pregnancy.

Condoms rely on the user, so might not work well if either of you have had too much to drink, have taken drugs or are not sure how to use them properly.

Advantages

  • They are the only contraception that helps protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections AND pregnancy.
  • There are no medical side effects.
  • You are able to get them for free at any NHS Sexual Health & Contraceptive Clinic, Brook Clinic or Health Gay Cornwall.
  • Male condoms come in lots of sizes, colours and flavour.
  • They’re free if you are aged between 13-25 and live in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly and register for your C-CARD.
  • They prevent sperm being left on sheets or clothes.
  • Men can make sure they are using contraception because they have to wear it.

Disadvantages

  • They rely on the user at a time of high excitement and might not be put on properly.
  • They have to be disposed of afterwards.

Other tips

  • Make sure you always choose a condom with a British kite mark or a CE Mark.
  • Check the date of expiry.
  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • Never use a condom more than once.
  • Never wear two condoms at once.

Female Condom

What is the female condom?

Female condoms are made from thin polyurethane (thin rubber material) and are lubricated. The difference between a male and female condom is that the female condom is inserted into the vagina before sex.

How effective is it?

95%

Advantages

  • Condoms are the only contraception that helps protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections AND pregnancy.
  • There are no medical side effects.
  • They can be put in up to 8 hours before sex.
  • Some men and women say it enhances their pleasure.

Disadvantages

  • When using a female condom, you need to make sure the man’s penis enters the condom and not between the condom and the vagina, and that the open end of the condom stays outside the vagina.