The Male Condom (external)
Also known as external condom. It has the advantage of protecting against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are many types of condoms varying in shapes, sizes, textures, and flavors. Do not hesitate to test different kinds to find the most adequate condom for you.
* Practical effectiveness: effectiveness measured under conditions of current use (taking into account omissions, failures, etc.)
** Theoretical effectiveness: effectiveness observed under conditions of perfect use (without problems of use and without interaction with other drugs)
Source: effectiveness percentages are taken from WHO (2018)
HOW DOES IT WORK?
An external condom is put on the erect penis before penetration and prevents sperm from coming into contact with an eventual egg. Usually made of latex and lubricated, it is one of the only contraceptives that also protects against STIs, including HIV/AIDS. For this reason, some people combine condom with another method of contraception.
Caution: use only one condom at a time to avoid the risk of tearing.
*Some people are allergic to latex. Fortunately, there are condoms made of polyurethane, a material that is very similar to latex, but is hypoallergenic (does not cause allergies).
INTERESTING FIGURES AND DETAILS
HOW TO USE IT?
Condom can be bought in pharmacies, supermarkets, night shops, vending machines. You can also receive free of charge condoms at the Planning Familial, at the service HIV Berodung de la Croix Rouge luxembourgeoise, or at the LGBTIQ+ center Cigale (see contact).
After the condom has been removed from its packaging, the condom should not be put on yet! The tip of the condom must be held between the index and the thumb and placed on the erected penis.
The tip should be pinched while unrolling the condom on the erect penis. It must be pinched until the condom is completely unrolled. To make penetration easier and to prevent the condom form tearing, do not hesitate to use lubricant gel.
After ejaculation, the condom must be removed before the penis is no longer erected to avoid the risk of leakage. Make a small knot and put it in the bin (not the toilets!).
You want to have another sexual intercourse (same or different partner), or make a penetration in another orifice of the same partner? No problem but use a new condom.
COMMENT S'EN PROCURER ?
In supermarkets (€)
At the planning familial (free of charge)
In pharmacies (€)
The male condom costs on average between 0 to 2€ per condom. The CNS does not reimburse this contraception. (The price is an average indication which may vary)
- You are protected against STIs
- No need to see a physician to obtain a prescription
- Adapted to people who do not want hormonal method or who are still breastfeeding
- No need to think about it outside of sexual intercourse
- Immediate protection against pregnancy
GOOD TO KNOW
- It is advised to combine condom use with another method of contraception and/or a spermicide gel. It allows a better protection from unwanted pregnancy and STIs.
- Minimum care is required. At first, it is not always easy to put on, especially if it is done in a hurry. However, with good practice, you get used to it.
- Some users feel a loss of sensitivity during the intercourse. In this case, it is possible to buy ultra-thin condoms.
- It can not be put in advance.
- Contraception is a matter of both partners. In the case of condoms, you should not be the only one to think about it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are some people unable to use a condom because of the size of their penis?
A condom is expandable. There are condoms of different sizes (with narrower or wider diameters). In all, there are up to 60 sizes of condoms, so anyone can find an appropriate one.
Resistance is one of the criteria that is tested in order to sell condoms within the European Union. To attest this, you can find the CE label on the condom packaging.
Do I have to put my testicles inside the condom?
No, condoms are only put on the penis.
I am allergic to latex, is there any condom I can use ?
Although most condoms are made of latex, there are condoms made of polyurethane, a material similar to latex but which is hypoallergenic (does not cause allergies). It is therefore possible to find condoms that are suitable for you.
Il dit que son pénis est trop grand pour un préservatif. Est-ce possible ?
Un préservatif est extensible. Cependant, il existe des préservatifs de différentes tailles (avec des diamètres plus étroits ou plus larges).
Is the condom always lubricated or do I need to add lubricant?
Every condom is sold with a small amount of lubricant (in the same package). This is necessary to prevent the latex from drying out! However, it is always possible to use extra lubricant. Please note: you should always use water-based lubricant when using a condom. Why? Any other type of lubricant can damage the latex and cause a tear! If you want to use other lubricants, please use a condom made of polyurethane, a material similar to latex which is more resistant.
Where do I put the lubricant? Inside the condom, on top, directly on my body, on my partner's body?
In general, the lubricant is applied :
-On the vulva
-On the entrance to the vagina and in the vagina
-On the entrance to the anus and in the anus
-On the penis
In the case of the external condom, once you put it on your erect penis, you can apply the lubricant to your entire penis (from the glans to the base). There is no need to put lubricant on the testicles or inside the condom!
Can you perform oral sex with a condom?
Of course, it is even safer because sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also be transmitted by mouth. Fellatio does not present any danger of pregnancy. So the condom in this case only protects you from STIs.
How do you know if a condom is in good condition?
Before using a condom, to make sure it is in good condition, there are 3 things to check:
- The expiry date
- That the packaging is not damaged (presence of air in the package indicate that it is normally not damaged)
- The presence of the CE standard on the packaging (product complies with European legislation)
If any of these 3 criteria is not met, use another condom.
Can the same condom be used twice?
No. Once the condom is removed it cannot be used again. Similarly, if you put the condom on backwards (on the wrong side), throw it away and use a new one. It is important to change the condom between two sexual encounters, when you change of orifice (anal, vaginal or oral sex), or when you change sexual partners.
Can the same condom be used for anal and vaginal penetration?
No. A condom is single-use per partner, orifice and intercourse/penetration. Penetrating different orifices can increase the chances of getting a bacterial infection in the vagina (e.g. anal and then vaginal penetration), and of transmitting an STI (e.g. fellatio and then vaginal and/or anal penetration – herpes virus or HPV). Between each change of orifice, a new condom should therefore be used.
Can a scented condom be used for penetration?
Some scented condoms can be used for penetration. When it is the case, it is indicated in the instructions for use. If it is not indicated, the condom should not be used for penetration. This is because scented condoms contain substances that can alter the pH balance of the vagina and cause bacterial infections or fungal infections3.
The condom broke during my last sexual encounter, what should I do?
If you do not wish to become pregnant, it is advisable to take an emergency contraception as soon as possible, within 5 days (120 hours) of intercourse. Emergency contraception is available in pharmacies without a prescription, or from Family Planning. Emergency contraception can be in the form of a pill or a copper coil. Be careful, the longer you wait before taking this contraception, the less likely it is to be effective.
If you are taking hormonal contraception as a supplement, and it has been taken properly, there is no risk of pregnancy.
However, it is advisable to get tested for STIs for yourself and your partner. Contact your health professional to find out what to do.