Barrier methods are the most reliable way to prevent STI transmission between sexual partners, and can also be used as a form of contraception. Select a method below to learn more about it:
What Are Insertive Condoms?
Insertive condoms, also known as male condoms, are barrier methods that are used by the insertive partner during sex. They are the most common barrier method in use today. They can be used to prevent both pregnancy during male-female intercourse and the spread of STIs between any partners during anal, oral, or vaginal intercourse. They’re available in a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, materials, and also flavors for oral sex.
How do you use an Insertive Condom?
Insertive condoms are rolled over what is being inserted, such as a penis, toy, or fingers. It is important to know how to properly use insertive condoms, because not properly using them can lead to failure, increasing the chances of unplanned pregnancy or the spread of STIs.
There are three steps to follow before opening a condom:
Wash your hands (oils—such as those found in lotion, pizza, and naturally on skin—degrade condoms).
Check the expiration date.
Feel for the air bubble in the package to ensure that the condom isn’t compromised.
Once you’ve done that, you can open the package (be careful not to tear the condom and practice if you plan on using your teeth).
To put on the condom, first make sure to do the thumb test. Condoms can only go on one way and there is an easy trick to make sure you put it on the right way the first time. To do the test, place the condom over both of your thumbs and try rolling the condom down over them. If it can go all the way down the thumb, it’s the right way; if not, then you just need to turn the condom inside-out. If you do happen to put it on the insertive object the wrong way, make sure to get a new condom and start over.
Once this is complete, begin rolling the condom onto the penetrative object. Make sure to leave room for fluids to collect inside the condom by pinching the tip while you roll it on. Leaving some extra room also decreases friction, lowering the chance of breakage.
If using a condom on a penis, make sure to pull out right away after ejaculation. If a penis goes flaccid before you pull out, the condom can slip off and expose you and your partner to unwanted fluids. Once out, turn away from your partner, slip the condom off, and throw it away. Condoms are one-time use only and should always be tossed in the garbage, as they will clog toilets.
Also, remember not to double bag: the increased friction between two condoms can increase the chance of breakage.
How Effective are Insertive Condoms at preventing Pregnancy and STI Transmission?
An insertive condom, when used properly, is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and fluid-spread STIs, such as chlamydia or HIV. However, they will be less effective at preventing contact-spread STIs, such as HPV or herpes, for which they are approximately 70% effective.
What are Insertive Condoms made of?
The most common material used for insertive condoms is latex. Other common materials include polyisoprene and polyurethane, which are safe for people with latex allergies.
It is important to remember that the material affects how you can use an insertive condom. Oils degrade latex and polyisoprene, increasing the probability of breakage. Therefore, make sure you are using a water- or silicone-based lube. Oil-based lubricants or massage oils can only be used with polyurethane condoms.
If you’re using insertive condoms with toys, it is also very important to consider what material the toy is made of. Many sex toys are made of silicone and cannot be used with silicone-based lubricants, as this will degrade the toy. Many condoms are pre-lubricated, so be sure to use condoms with water-based lubricants. There are also non-lubricated condoms available at the SOL office.