The Basics of Condoms


A condom is a sheath that goes over the penis during intercourse. Acting as a barrier method, it captures the man’s ejaculate so that sperm never enters the vagina. Additionally, it limits skin-to-skin contact of the penis and vagina.




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Condom History



  • Among couples that use condoms perfectly, only 2% experience a pregnancy after a year.

  • Condoms significantly reduce STI infection risk.

  • Condoms are easily accessible in stores and online.

  • Condoms are reasonably affordable often around $1 per condom in the US and frequently much less when purchased online.

  • The condom’s real-world pregnancy rate (the kind that matters most) is signficant. Among couples that use the condom as their primary method, 18% experience a pregnancy after a year.

  • Because condoms cover much of the penis’ surface area, they reduce sexual sensation.

  • The act of retrieving, unwrapping, and applying condoms interrupts intercourse.

The Basics of Withdrawal

Withdrawal (pulling out) is a behavioral form of birth control where the man removes his penis from the vagina before ejaculating.


  • No cost.

  • Among couples that use withdrawal perfectly, it’s estimated that only 4% will experience a pregnancy after one year.

  • There is no barrier to diminish sexual sensation during intercourse.

  • Real-world pregnancy rates are high. Among couples that use withdrawal as their primary method, 22% experience a pregnancy after a year.

  • Because there is no barrier, there is no protection against STI’s.

  • The sensation of orgasm does not occur while the penis is inside the vagina.

The Basics of Vasectomies


A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that severs the vas deferens tubes leading from both testes. Sperm travel through the vas deferens tubes during ejaculation. This procedure is treated as a permanent form of birth control.


  • Extremely effective. A year out from the procedure, the chance of a couple experiencing a pregnancy is between one and two out of a thousand.

  • Once a vasectomy is performed, there is no interruption to intercourse, no effect on sexual ability, and no interference with sexual sensation.

  • The procedure is done using a local anesthetic and has a short recovery period.

  • The cost is often covered by insurance. Without insurance, the price can range from $500 to $2,000.

  • Although considered permanent, it is possible to reverse a vasectomy. Sperm motility returns to 97% of patients if done within the first few years, though this rate falls to about 70% after 15 years.

  • “Banking” sperm is available as a backup option, although the process of in vitro fertilization can cost many tens of thousands of dollars.

  • A vasectomy is considered to be a permanent solution and is not guaranteed to be reversible.

  • The reversal procedure is rarely covered by insurance and can cost over $10,000. The reversal is also more involved.

  • A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that requires a doctor’s visit.

  • A vasectomy’s effectiveness isn’t immediate. You’ll be required to have your sperm tested about six weeks after the procedure and continue until your sperm count has completely deplenished.

  • A vasectomy provides no STI protection.

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