Pros & Cons of Condoms as a Contraceptive

Condoms are a form of birth control that uses the barrier method; male condoms are rolled over the penis to prevent semen form entering the vagina. Condoms are often made of latex, lambskin or polyurethane. Some condoms are coated with additional spermicidal gel to help destroy any present sperm. The condom is the third most popular form of birth control; 18 percent of people using birth control rely on condoms, according to The Mayo Clinic. Understand the pros and cons to condom use as a contraceptive before using condoms.

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Pro: Ease of Use and Effectiveness

Condoms are simple to use and effective. When used alone, condoms are 85 percent effective—out of 100 couples using condoms during sexual intercourse 15 will result in pregnancy. Condoms are even more effective when used with spermicidal solution. Condoms are not permanent and simply removed after sexual intercourse.

Pro: STDs

Condoms reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. The condom forms a barrier between genital contact and secretions. Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus and other diseases have seen reduced transmission when condoms are used. HIV transmission is reduced by 85 percent when condoms are correctly used 100 percent of the time, according to The American Pregnancy Association. However, condoms do not prevent STDs from occurring.

Pro: Availability

Condoms are easily available can be purchased at most drug and pharmacy stores without a prescription. Condoms come in different sizes, styles and colors. Sometimes condoms are available in bathroom vending machines and gas stations. Condoms are relatively inexpensive---according to The Mayo Clinic, condoms can be purchased for between fifty cents and $2—they are often purchased in packages of three to twelve. Cost depends on style (ribbed or lubricated) and if spermicide is applied to the condom. Some health clinics may distribute condoms for free.

Con: Breakage or Tearing

Condoms can break, tear or slip off during use. Sometimes the couple may not be aware the condom has torn while having intercourse. The Mayo Clinic states that two out of 100 condoms break.

Con: Interfere with Sexual Activity

Some people may complain condoms interfere with sexual activity. Both men and women claim condom use decreases sensitivity during sexual intercourse. The time to put on the condom may also interrupt foreplay and intercourse.