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They are a form of barrier contraception. They are sheaths that are worn on the penis after erection, before ejaculation so that they can trap the sperms and prevent them from entering into the vagina/women’s body. They have an additional advantage that they protect both partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

The condom is usually very effective. If 100 women used it over a period of one year then only two women would get pregnant. Success of the condom depends on the man using it. The commonest cause of failure is that either he forgot to wear it or else he wore it too late or too roughly such that it tore. It can also tear in case the couple uses oil based lubricants / creams / oils that can make holes in the condom.

The female condom is made of polyurethane, and has two rings: first – round the opening and another one at the closed end – which is the end that goes into the top of the vagina. The woman needs to wear the condom before sex. The closed end has to be inserted inside the vagina and the ring on the open end fits on the vaginal opening covering the clitoris. Thus the vagina is lined completely by the condom. After sex it is important to remove and discard the condom.One advantage of the female condom over the male condom is that the use of the method is under the control of the woman.