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Female and male condoms are both barrier methods of contraception which prevent the sperm cells from meeting the egg.

Pros and Cons of the Female Condom

A male condom is composed of rubber or polyurethane and fits over the shaft of an erect penis, while a female condom is inserted into and lines the vaginal canal of the female.  There are many factors which will determine how effective either form of condom would be such as; age, frequency of sexual intercourse and how closely the user follows the instructions. 

The failure rates of a female condom are 21%, which means that 21 in every 100 users will become pregnant within the first year of use.  Female condoms do not have any harmful long term side effects, with the exception of a person having a latex allergy.  Female condoms have certain pros and cons which a woman might want to explore prior to use:

  • No side effects
  • No hormones
  • Less reliable than other birth control methods
  • Provides no reduction in the transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV) or Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Reduces chances of syphilis by 29%, further reduced to 50-75% when used correctly each time
  • Reduces chances of genital herpes
  • Reduces transmission rates of HIV/AIDS
  • Reduces the risk of gonorrhea and Chlamydia
  • Easy to obtain
  • Do not need a prescription or medical examination in order to obtain
  • Less likely than a male condom to cause an allergic reaction
  • Small, easy to transport and disposable
  • More expensive than male condoms
  • Outer ring of condom might be cumbersome to use
  • Popping or crackling noises during intercourse, which could be a distraction

Pros and Cons of Male Condoms

Male condoms have a 14-15% failure rate, which means that 14-15 people out of every 100 will accidentally conceive within the first year of use.  However, when used with other barrier methods, the male condom can be 100% effective, but should be avoided in those with an allergy to latex.  The following is a list of pros and cons to consider then thinking about using male condoms:

  • Reduces the chances of sexually transmitted diseases
  • No side effects to the average person (except those with a latex allergy)
  • Small, easy to transport and disposable
  • Do not need a medical examination or prescription to obtain
  • Inexpensive and easy to find, convenient
  • Some people can experience a dulled sexual sensation during intercourse
  • Can be inconvenient because of interrupting foreplay
  • Requires consistent and constant usage in order to be most effective
  • Male must take on more responsibility in the sexual relationship

Whose Responsibility is it to Wear Condoms?

When people engage in sexual intercourse, both parties are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to prevent pregnancy or the transmission of a sexual disease.  If a couple makes the mutual decision to have sex, either the male or the female could make the choice of whether or not to use a male or female condom.  Prior to initiating sexual intercourse both people need to talk about the various choices available for pregnancy prevention and choose which method would work best for them.

Sexual Health Awareness Week February 14th-21st, Australia

Sex is not an easy topic to discuss in a public forum, though it present everywhere is society.  In Australia, Sexual Health Awareness Week runs from February 14th-21st and aims to target people between the ages of 18-30 years old.  The goal of the campaign is to get these individuals to look at social, cultural, behavioral and environmental influences which could have a lasting impact on the person’s health.

National Condom Day February 14th, the United States

National Condom Day in the United States falls on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, which is a day of passion and romance all across the nation.  On a day when people are in a celebratory and romantic frame of mind, it is a good idea to remind individuals to take responsibility for sexual health and well-being.  Sexually transmitted diseases are one the nation’s biggest public health problems and America uses the week to highlight the seriousness of the issue and raise awareness of the situation.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, February 12th, Canada

Each year on February 12th, Canada celebrates Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, which the government uses to help individuals recognize the importance of good sexual health.  For more than 10 years, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) have been steadily rising within every age group, with syphilis, Chlamydia and gonorrhea being the most common.  By providing the public with information and education, the government hopes to raise awareness and teach Canadians about how to prevent the spread of STD’s.

National Impotence Day, February 14th, the United Kingdom

Sexual dysfunction and impotence is a sensitive subject which many men and women are reluctant to discuss.  Dysfunction can range from the inability to achieve and maintain an erection to the person only being able to sustain a short-term erection.  In order to address the problem in a healthy and positive manner, the United Kingdom has declared February 14th, National Impotence Day all throughout the country.    Sexual dysfunction can result from diabetes, anxiety, depression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, hormonal disease, medication or stress.  When the condition is talked about with a physician, an individual can be properly assessed, diagnosed and treated.

Overview

With the revelation of male and female condoms and the variety of pros and cons, a person is not limited in choices.  By having an honest and open discussion with a sexual partner, an individual can determine which method would work best for their unique situation.  Male and female condoms decrease the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, prevent pregnancy and are cheap, effective and easy to acquire, which makes it a choice of contraceptive for many people looking for a method which will not produce harmful hormonal side effects or require a long-term commitment on the part of an individual.

  • www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/femalecondom.html
  • www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/malecondom/html
  • www.shinesa.org.au/go/working-with-communities/projects/sexual-health-awareness-week/about-sexual-health-awareness-week
  • www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-13177366.html
  • www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthyliving/national-impotence-day.htm