Why is it that men get to have all the fun? When it comes to contraception it seems like it’s only the women who have to put their bodies through all the hormonal changes, whereas men just sit there and slide a condom on – job done. But times are changing and there’s a new type of contraception for men just waiting to be created.
Condoms are the most popular form of contraception for men; only two out of 100 women using condoms will become pregnant in a year. Not only does it prevent pregnancy but it’s one of the few options that prevents STIs; with one in two sexually active people gaining an STI before the age of 25. However, condoms react with certain oils and lubricants, which may cause them to break, slide off and/or cause an allergic reaction and lotions, baby oil or petroleum jelly can damage the condom and risk pregnancy. You should always take care when using a condom by checking it is not out of date and by taking care when opening it to not tear it with jewellery, fingernails or teeth. To give yourself extra peace of mind, we’d recommend checking out our girls guide to contraception for additional protection against pregnancy but if a condom splits or comes off during sex you should use emergency contraception and consider getting an STI check done, which you can get/have at your local clinic – another burden us women get to deal with.
Scientists have been working on a reversible method of contraception for men for years. They aim to make contraception that will block the hormone testosterone, which will stop the testicles from producing healthy sperm cells, preventing pregnancy. However, lowering the testosterone too much can result in side effects such as a loss of sexual desire. By mixing a combination of testosterone and progestogen, sperm production is reduced and keeps testosterone levels normal. Unfortunately, the method is not fully effective as some men are still able to produced fertile sperm. Scientists believe this may be because men produce different levels of testosterone due to genetics, diets or environmental factors. Trials are ongoing for a new contraception ‘just for men’, using the two hormones to ensure the long-term safety and effectiveness.
Most types of contraception, including condoms, female contraception like the pill and the morning after pill, are free to both men and women aged of any age through the NHS (not just 16-25 year olds as you might assume). You can get them at most GP surgeries, and clinics; Click here to find your nearest free condom location. You should always talk to your doctor for sexual advice and before making any decisions.
For the ensuring you have the best protection from pregnancy and STIs following these top ten tips and you can enjoy sex without any worry or hassle:
- Look for condoms with a BSI kite mark or CE mark, which means they are recognized safety standards.
- Always put a condom on before activity to reduce the transfer of sperm.
- Use a new condom every time you have sex.
- Change condoms every 30 minutes to prevent splits from friction.
- Never use two condoms together, this can create friction and cause breakage.
- Store condoms in a dry and cool place as heat can cause harm to the condom.
- Remember to check the expiry date
- Don’t use lotions or oils with condoms as they can cause breakage.
- Always use a condom during oral sex to prevent STIs.
- Don’t put condoms down the toilet, instead wrap them in tissue and put them in a bin.