Do Condoms Work to Prevent Pregnancy?
Condoms are an excellent type of birth control. They’re 98% effective when used correctly every time you have penis-in-vagina sex. Condoms are easy to find, easy to use, inexpensive, and don’t require a prescription. They can be your primary method of preventing pregnancy or a back-up method when you need one. Plus, condoms are the only birth control option that also protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
This article will give you more information about how well condoms can prevent pregnancy and help you avoid some common mistakes people make when using condoms as birth control.
As a heads up, in this article we are talking exclusively about penis-in-vagina sex. We know that not all couples have these parts and that all couples, regardless of body parts, do lots of other sexy things, but P-in-V is pretty much the only thing that comes with a risk of pregnancy so that’s what we’re focused on here.
How effective are condoms at preventing pregnancy?
Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly. Make sure you use an unopened, not expired condom that fits you properly and that you put it on before penetrative sex and keep it on until after you orgasm.
What are the most common condom mistakes people make?
The most common condom mistakes are fairly easy to avoid. Top condom mistakes include:
Tips for using condoms correctly to prevent unintended pregnancy
What do I do if a condom breaks or slips off during sex
Condoms don’t break or slip very often. Most studies show that condoms break about 2% of the time and slip off an additional 2%, though some studies do show higher rates. Using condoms properly and following the tips above can help avoid this.
If a condom does break or slip, stay calm. What to do—and your risk of pregnancy—depends on what happened and when:
Can I use a condom with another form of birth control?
Absolutely. People definitely use condoms even if they’re on the pill or using another type of birth control like an IUD. Not only does this decrease your chances of becoming pregnant, it also adds protection against STIs.
Don’t most couples stop using condoms once they’ve been together or dating for a while?
The factors that go into choosing a birth control method are very personal, ranging from your health and family history to your relationship and your ability to remember if you took your pill last night. While some couples start with condoms and then opt for another birth control option, others keep using condoms as their primary method of preventing pregnancy or in addition to another contraceptive.
What if my partner doesn’t want to wear a condom?
Sometimes we assume that people—especially people with penises—are going to be opposed to condoms, but that’s not necessarily true. Start with an open and honest conversation about birth control and STI prevention with your partner. Explain why using condoms is important to you. That may be enough.
Are condoms a good method of birth control?
Yep. Condoms are very effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, they’re easy to get (they don’t require a visit to a doctor), easy to find (they’re available online, in drug stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and even bathroom vending machines), and easy to use (they just take a few seconds to put on).