Condom (Male)

  • Easy to put on yourself
  • Available in different shapes, sizes and flavours
  • Suitable for unplanned sex - no preperation
  • Easy to carry around in your wallet or pocket
  • If you are sensitive to latex, you can use polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms instead

Condoms are the only contraceptive method that protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The male condom is a sheath or covering that is worn over the penis during sex. They are designed to stop a man's semen from coming into contact with his sexual partner. They can be used by men having sex with women or men to prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs.

Each condom can only be used once, so protection only lasts as long as the condom is intact and worn on the penis.

To prevent pregnancy the condom must stop any sperm from reaching the vagina. Small amounts of sperm are released from the penis before ejaculation, so for condoms to be effective they must be used during any contact between the penis and vagina. Putting on the condom late or removing the condom during sex will result in much higher risk of pregnancy.

Condoms are often used by people who are not in long term relationships, or who prefer not to use a long term or hormonal method of contraception. Condoms are easy to carry around and can be thrown in a bin after use. Condoms are easy to put on with a bit of practice.

Last for
1 use
Effect on

How it works

How to use it

To put it on, first check the roll is on the outside. Squeeze the teat of the condom and roll it down the penis with your other hand.

Why it works

Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They stop sperm from reaching an egg by creating a physical barrier between them. Condoms also prevent the transmission of STIs by providing a barrier. Condoms can be used for vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Condoms are a good method of contraception if you remember to keep them with you when you think you are going to have sex. You should also be confident about putting them on or asking your partner to put one on.

  • The penis touches the area around the vagina before a condom is put on
  • The condom splits or comes off (using wrong size)
  • The condom gets damaged by sharp fingernails or jewellery
  • You use oil-based lubricants (such as lotion, baby oil or petroleum jelly) with latex condoms – this damages the condom
  • You are using medication for conditions like thrush, such as creams, pessaries or suppositories – this can damage latex condoms.

What if

The condom splits or comes off:

If this happens, you need to consider two things:

The non-hormonal coil (IUD) can be used as emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex. Depending on the type of pill, you need to take an emergency contraceptive pill up to 72 hours (three days) or up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex.


Will I be asked for ID when buying condoms?

No. There are no restrictions on buying condoms, or on getting free and confidential advice about using condoms or other contraception.

Do I need to use lubricant?

Condoms come ready lubricated to make them easier to use, but you may also like to use additional lubricant, or ‘lube’. This is particularly advised for anal sex, to reduce the chance of the condom splitting.

Any kind of lubricant can be used with condoms that are not made of latex. However, if you are using latex condoms, do not use oil-based lubricants, such as: body oil or lotion, petroleum jelly or creams (such as Vaseline). This is because they can damage the latex and make the condom more likely to split. Lubricants are cheap and available in most pharmacies, at sexual health clinics and online.