How Good Are Condoms At Preventing Pregnancy

How Well Do Condoms Work To Prevent Pregnancy

How effective are condoms at preventing pregnancy? Ask a Doctor

Over the course of a year:

  • 15 out of 100 typical couples who use male condoms will have an accidental pregnancy.
  • About 21 out of 100 couples who use female condoms will have an accidental pregnancy.

For added protection, it’s wise to use condoms along with another method of birth control, like birth control pills or an IUD. For condoms to have their best chance of working, they must be used every time a couple has sex.

A condom cannot be reused. A new condom should be used each time a couple has sex and it must be used from start to finish to protect against pregnancy and STDs. Never use oil-based lubricants with condoms because they can break down the rubber. Condoms also can be damaged by things like fingernails and body piercings.

If a condom seems dry, sticky, or stiff when it comes out of the package, or is past its expiration date, throw it away and use a new one instead. It’s helpful to have several condoms on hand in case there’s a problem with one. It’s best to store unused condoms in a cool, dry place.

When Were Condoms Invented

People have used condoms in some form since the ancient world. The Ancient Egyptians were the first to use them to protect themselves against bilharzia, a parasitic worm. Ancient Romans used animal bladders as condoms to protect women from venereal diseases.

Charles Goodyear, scientist and creator of vulcanized rubber, is credited with the invention of the modern condom in 1855.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If youre sexually active, using a condom correctly and consistently is the only way to ensure you dont get or transmit an STD. Condoms can also prevent pregnancy when used correctly and consistently. Unfortunately, condoms arent foolproof. They can rip, tear, leak or slip off. If this happens, talk to your healthcare provider about emergency contraception options and STD testing. Condoms come in many different types, styles, textures and sizes. You and your partner may need to try different ones before finding the best condoms for you both.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/15/2022.


Do I Need To Use Condoms If Im On The Pill What If Im In A Monogamous Relationship

If you want to be protected from STIs, then yes. The pill doesn’t protect you or your partner from STIs. Condoms do. Condoms can also be used as back-up protection in case you forget to take your birth control pill . Clue has a helpful reminder feature for those tracking their oral contraception, that will remind you to use back-up protection if you miss a dose.

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Whats The Failure Rate Of Condoms

To put the failure rate of condoms into context, its useful to look at something called The Pearl Index. This reflects the experience of 100 women using this method of contraception over the course of a year. The Pearl Index is the number of pregnancies that happen using a method. So take the typical use of the condom thats 87%, this means that out of the 100 women using the method, 87 did not get pregnant, but 13 did.

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Condoms Dont Cost Much And Are Convenient

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Condoms are super easy to get from many different stores, community health centers, Planned Parenthood health centers, and online. You dont need a prescription or ID to buy them, and theyre inexpensive . Condoms are a small, discreet, and portable way to get big protection from pregnancy and STDs.

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How Do You Put A Condom On

Leave about 1/4 inch of room at the tip and squeeze the air out of the top to form an empty nipple for the sperm to collect in. Some rubbers have a nipple built in. Never use Vaseline or mineral oil as a lubricant with a latex condom. You can buy pre-lubricated condoms. Or, use water-based lube, saliva, or foam to reduce friction.

What If You Do Everything Right And It Breaks

Even if you use the condom perfectly, theres a risk that itll break.

If you or your partner are on another form of contraception, such as an IUD or the pill, pregnancy is unlikely to occur.

You can also get an emergency contraceptive pill over the counter at your local pharmacy. You dont need a doctors prescription.

Its important to take EC pills within the first 3 to 5 days after sex the sooner, the better.

Plan B, for example, is 95 percent effective when taken within 24 hours of sex and 61 percent effective when taken between 48 and 72 hours after sex, according to the manufacturer.

When a condom breaks, its also possible for you and your partner to transmit a sexually transmitted infection to one another.

If youre concerned about STIs, talk with a doctor or go to a sexual health clinic and ask if you can be tested. Theyll discuss your options for STI screening and testing.

If your partner has HIV, or if youre not certain that your partner is HIV negative, you can get post-exposure prophylaxis , which protects against the transmission of HIV.

In order for PEP to work, it should be taken within 72 hours of potential exposure the sooner, the better. In order to get PEP, youll need a prescription from a doctor or other healthcare provider.

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How Do Condoms Break

Condoms can break if they come in contact with sharp objects like jewelry, piercings, teeth or fingernails. They can also rip if you dont use enough lubrication.

What should I do if a condom breaks?

Women concerned about pregnancy can use over-the-counter emergency contraception, sometimes referred to as Plan B® or the morning-after pill. Your healthcare provider can prescribe an even stronger pill or insert a copper intrauterine device to stop conception.

When used within 72 hours of intercourse, emergency contraception is up to 89% effective at preventing pregnancy. You should also talk to your provider about STD and HIV testing.

Why Do Condoms Slip Or Break

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  • Not put on correctly.
  • Torn by fingernails, jewellery or teeth.
  • Not enough lubrication during sexual intercourse.
  • The wrong lubricant is used.
  • Prolonged or very vigorous sexual intercourse.
  • Condom slips off during withdrawal.
  • Rubber loses its strength when condoms are kept in a warm place like a glovebox or hip pocket.
  • Rubber loses its strength because the condoms have expired.
  • Rubber is damaged by some thrush treatments .

Talk to your health professional if you have problems using condoms.

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Is It Better If You Both Use A Condom

Can you use an internal and an external condom at the same time? No.

Using two condoms at the same time is actually riskier, because the friction could cause one or both of them to break. This applies to two internal condoms, two external condoms, or one of each.

Instead, use one condom, and look into getting another form of contraception if you want to be extra safe.

How Well Do Condoms Work

Condoms work well if they are applied and used correctly. If used incorrectly, or if the condom breaks, it’s possible this could lead to an unintended pregnancy.

Condoms can be combined with other forms of contraception, such as contraceptive pills, vaginal rings, contraceptive injections, implants and IUDs, to provide more effective contraception and prevent STIs at the same time.

Family Planning NSW has a full range of fact sheets on contraception, including information on the male and female condoms and how to use them.

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What If My Partner Or I Dont Like Using Condoms

If you or your partner does not want to use a condom, there are other safe and pleasurable sexual things that you can do together instead of sexual intercourse. Try masturbating each other, massage, cuddling use your imagination.

If a condom is not comfortable, try a different brand. Condoms come in different sizes, shapes, thicknesses, flavours, textures and colours. Try some to see which suit you best.

Do Sex Partners Who Both Have Hiv Need To Use Condoms

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Yes. People who have HIV still need protection from STDs and may want to prevent pregnancy. Condoms also protect against exposure to different types, or strains, of HIV. Re-infection or superinfection with a new strain of HIV may make the disease progress more quickly and may require the use of medicines different from the ones used to treat the original strain.

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Avoid Condoms With Spermicide

Condoms â as is the case with all birth control â are only effective when used correctly.

Always check the condomâs expiration date and inspect the packaging to make sure there are no holes or tears. Store them away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

When using a condom, a person should follow these basic safety steps:

  • Always check the packaging for the date and tears.
  • Open the package carefully and avoid using sharp instruments, including teeth.
  • Use water-based lubrication on the outside of the condom to prevent tears or the condom slipping off.
  • Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it out after use.
  • Always use a new condom for each sexual encounter.

For female condoms, people should follow these additional steps:

How Do I Use Condoms

If you are sexually active, keep a few condoms with you so you’ll always have one when you need it. Put on a new condom every single time you have sex. Use a condom when you have vaginal, oral, or . Put on a different condom for each type of sex you have.

Keep the condom on the whole time you’re having sex. Don’t take it off at any point. If it breaks, stop and replace it right away. Donât use male and female condoms at the same time. One can stick to the other and pull it out of place or tear it.

To use male condoms:

  • Make sure the condom is in good condition and not torn or expired .
  • Carefully open the wrapper and take out the condom.
  • Pinch the air out of the tip of the condom.
  • Use enough lubrication so the condom doesn’t break. You can use a water-based lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide. Don’t use an oil-based lubricant such as Vaseline, body lotion, baby oil, or massage oil because it can weaken the latex and cause the condom to break.
  • Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it away in a place where other people won’t touch it.
  • To use female condoms:

  • Carefully open the wrapper and take out the condom.
  • Get in a comfortable position, such as standing with one foot on a chair or squatting.
  • Squeeze the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom.
  • Use water-based lubricant to help prevent slipping and tearing.
  • Push the condom in as far as it will go, until it rests against your cervix. The outer ring will hang outside your body slightly.
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    How Can I Have Sex Without My Boyfriend Wearing A Condom

    There is a great variety of birth control methods. If using condoms doesnt work for you, you can choose any other barrier or a hormonal method of contraception. However, keep in mind that every method has its advantages and disadvantages, efficacy rates, contraindications, and price.

    If you need a safe, effective, inexpensive, and ubiquitous birth control method that also protects from STIs, the condom is your best choice.

    What Is Effective Condom Use

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    You can reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy or STBBI by following these steps for effective condom use:

    • Store latex condoms at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
    • Check the expiry date on the package. Avoid using expired condoms because their effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.
    • Use the right type of lubricant to reduce the chances of a breakage.
    • Follow the directions on the package.
    • Use a new condom with each new act of sex.

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    How To Use A Male Condom

    Always check the use-by date first.

    If you are unsure how to use condoms, follow the instructions on the packet.

    How to use external condoms:

    • Open the packet carefully avoid tearing the condom with your jewellery, teeth or fingernails.
    • Check which way the condom unrolls, but do not unroll it.
    • If you dont get the condom on properly the first time, throw it away and use a new condom.
    • Water-based lubricant can be used. Lube is a jelly or liquid-like material to reduce friction and stop tears. It can also make sex more enjoyable.
    • Dont apply lubricant inside the condom it may cause slippage making the condom less effective.

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    A monogamous relationship doesnât automatically protect you from STIs. Unless you are positive that you and your partner only have sex together and you both have recently tested negative for STIs, it is a good idea to use condoms. Anyone can get a sexually transmitted infection, sometimes without noticeable symptoms . Although some STIs produce discharge or other visible signs, itâs not always possible to tell by looking at someone if they have an STI .

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    What Is The Best Birth Control Pill For Teens

    Out of the two types of birth control pills , its more common for teens to take a combined birth control pill. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the mini-pill is not recommended as the first choice for teens. Combination birth control pills can be a good option for adolescents who can remember to take it every day.

    Though the pill is easy to use, there are other methods of birth control that might be even more convenient for young women. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the IUD and the arm implant should be the first-line choice for young women who are sexually active. These methods could serve teens best, because theyre busy, and unlike the pill, you dont have to remember to take it every day.

    Typical And Perfect Use: How Effective Are Condoms

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    When it comes to birth control effectiveness for every contraceptive method, we talk about it in terms of typical and perfect use. Typical use reflects the way a method is generally used, it accounts for user error, as well as the method failing because of its own drawbacks. Perfect use, on the other hand, reflects how a method is used in an ideal scenario. Since condoms require action from those using them, they have a lower typical use effectiveness than perfect use.

    So, how effective are condoms? Well, if we look first at typical use, condoms are 87% effective. This number reflects couples who dont always follow the instructions or sometimes forget to use condoms altogether. It also includes the condom itself failing, such as it breaking or tearing.

    With perfect use, the condom is 98% effective, this number only reflects the effectiveness of the method when its used, well, perfectly that means if it fails its purely because there was a problem with the condom itself, not how it is being used.

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    When Should I Call The Doctor

    A female using condoms should call the doctor if:

    • she might be pregnant
    • a condom broke during sex
    • there’s a change in the smell or color of her vaginal discharge
    • she has unexplained fever or chills
    • she has belly or pelvic pain
    • she has pain during sex

    A male using condoms should call doctor if:

    • a condom broke during sex

    Do Condoms Help Protect Against Stds

    Yes. Latex, polyurethane, and polyisoprene condoms can help prevent many STDs if they are used correctly. Condoms made of lambskin do not work well to prevent STDs, especially HIV/AIDs.

    Condoms do not protect against infections spread from sores on the skin not covered by a condom . Couples having sex must always use condoms to protect against STDs even when using another method of birth control.

    Abstinence is the only method that always prevents pregnancy and STDs.

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    Condoms Offer Pregnancy And Std Prevention And They Feel Good Too

    Generations of adults have trusted condoms to protect them and the reliance on this trusted method just keeps growing.

    Generations of adults have trusted condoms to protect them and the reliance on this trusted method just keeps growing. Between 1955 and 1965, 42 percent of adults in the United States said they had used condoms for contraception. Today, 95 percent of women who have had sexual intercourse say they have used a condom at some point in their sexual lives.

    Unfortunately, while condoms have been long trusted for prevention, theyve gotten a lot of bad press over the years as well. The idea that condoms zap sexual experiences of spontaneity and pleasure is particularly common.

    As a sexuality professor, I hear the same rumors, myths, and negative preconceptions about condoms every semester. I admit it is pretty frustrating because I know that condoms are safe, effective against both pregnancy and disease, and can even be fun.

    Condoms Are the Only Contraceptive Method the Prevents STDsCondoms remain the only method of contraception that also provides protection against STDs. This is why condoms are important even for couples who are not worried about preventing pregnancy such as those who are using other contraceptive methods or men who have sex with men.

    Condoms provide protection against all three of these diseases as well others like HPV and HIV .

    The take away messages here is that condoms can be extremely effective when couples are committed to using them.

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