Guy's Guide to Safe Sex
This guide talks about different forms of birth control and ways to protect you and your partner from getting an STI.
A lot of information about birth control is targeted toward girls, but as a guy, it is also your responsibility to make sure you and your partner are protected. You only have to have unprotected sex ONCE to get a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or to get your partner pregnant. If you have more questions, you can always ask your doctor.
Abstinence is the best form of STI and pregnancy prevention.
What Are Condoms?
A form of barrier contraception; they create a protective barrier around your penis that reduces the risk of both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Places you can get condoms for free:
- Johns Hopkins All Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Specialty Clinic
- Planned Parenthood
- School Clinics
- Go to npin.cdc.gov/widgets/condomfinder
Why should I use a condom?
Condoms help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When used properly, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
How good are condoms at preventing STIs?
It depends on the type of infection, the type of sex, and the type of condom. Anal sex is riskier than oral or vaginal sex. Bottom line: You are ALWAYS at a lower risk of catching ANY STI when you use a condom the right way.
Correctly using condoms can help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs.)
Are there different types of condoms?
Yes, common types of condoms include:
- Latex: Excellent protection vs pregnancy and STI’s. Least likely to break. (Note: Some people may be allergic to latex).
- Polyurethane: Excellent protection vs pregnancy, good protection vs STIs. Easier to break.
- Lamb skin: Poor protection vs STI’s. Avoid if possible.
Is one brand of condom better than others?
Not really. When it comes to protection, they’re all about the same. The material it’s made from is most important.
What about magnums or other xl condoms?
Magnum condoms are only about a half inch longer than most other brands. Brand/length isn’t as important as the material and a comfortable, snug fit.
If my partner is already on a different type of birth control, do I still need a condom?
Yes! Condoms plus birth control are the best form of protection against pregnancy and STIs.
What do I do if the condom breaks?
Remove the broken condom and put on a new one.
Other Key Points
- Condoms have to be used every time to work.
- You and your partner share the responsibility of birth control.
- Don’t use oil-based lubricants. (ex: Vaseline)
- Never re-use a condom.
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place. When exposed to heat, like in a wallet or glove compartment, it’s more likely to tear.
- Some STIs are more common among men who have sex with men, so even if you aren’t worried about pregnancy, it is extremely important to always wear a condom.
Other Forms of Birth Control
There are many forms of birth control that girls can use. It can be overwhelming to learn them all, even for girls. Common types include: the pill, shot, plastic or copper IUD, implant, patch, vaginal rings, barrier methods.
If you’re wondering how they work, you can always ask your doctor. These do not prevent STIs and are still not 100 percent effective. Even if a girl is on a hormonal birth control, you’re both more protected when using a condom too.
Does pulling out or “withdrawal” work?
Pulling out before ejaculation, also known as the withdrawal method, isn’t very good at preventing pregnancy. Twenty-two out of 100 couples who use the withdrawal method will get pregnant in a year. Plus, it doesn’t protect against STIs.
What is emergency contraception?
AKA “the Morning After Pill,” it’s a medication taken by girls that can help prevent pregnancy if a condom breaks. It works best when taken as soon as possible after sex. If you think you might need it, talk with your partner or your doctor.
For More Information
Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine Still have questions? Contact us.
Our adolescent medicine team has special training to meet the unique needs of teens. We're here to help guide you and answer any questions you might have.
The information here is not intended to be nor should be used as a substitute for medical evaluation or treatment by a health care professional. This publication is for information purposes only and the reader assumes all associated risks.
Content experts: Jameson Dyal, M.D., Scott Furer, M.D., and Jasmine Reese, M.D., M.P.H.
- southernhillshospital.com/about/newsroom/choosing-a-safe-and-effective- birth-control-method-to-suit-your-lifestyle