Advantages of the condom
- Reliable protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease
- Good complement to natural methods of contraception
- Can be used in combination with the diaphragm
- Manufacturers offer a range of materials to avoid allergies
Disadvantages of the condom
- Reliability depends on the user's skill
- Care needed before and after use to prevent sperm getting into the vagina
- Is sometimes felt to be disruptive
- When storing, material is susceptible to frost, heat and mechanical damage
The risk of unwanted pregnancy rises primarily through lack of care during or after intercourse, when sperm are spread to the woman's vagina by touch. This is why the Pearl Index varies so strongly, ranging from 0.6 to 12. However, lubricants containing oil, such as body lotion or massage oils, spermicide vaginal suppositories and medical products applied to the genital area can cause latex to become minimally permeable within a few minutes. Condom package leaflets draw attention to these risks. In these cases, condoms made of polyethylene, polyurethane, or polyisoprene offer an alternative to latex condoms. They are also suitable for latex allergy sufferers.
Many different varieties of condoms are produced, with different materials, lengths and breadths, thicknesses, colours, tastes/smells, forms and structures.
For more detailed information on the different kinds of condom as well as the advantages, disadvantages and risks of contraception using condoms, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condom
(1) In 4375 cycles in which couples used a barrier method during fertile days, there were only two unplanned pregnancies (=0.56% per year). See: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/5/1310.full.pdf+html page1360
Authors: Barbara Ochs, Petra Schenke