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Just How Reliable Are Condoms?


Are you looking for more information around the reliability of male condoms? Or perhaps you want to know more about your current chosen form of contraception? Although many of us regularly use condoms, how many of us actually know the detail when it comes to how reliable they are?

Whether you’re interested in learning about how well men’s condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections, or want to get the low down on how reliable they are at preventing pregnancy, we have everything you need to know.

Are condoms safe?

Condoms are one of the oldest forms of contraception, potentially dating back thousands of years. In modern times, condoms are usually made from latex or non-latex equivalents. However, historically, even animal bladders have been used as a sheath to prevent against pregnancy.

Needless to say, condoms have come a long way over the years. They are much more reliable now that they are mass produced and quality tested. But how safe are condoms really?

How reliable are condoms against pregnancy?

When it comes to pregnancy and condoms, you would be forgiven for thinking that, if used correctly, a condom is a sure-fire way to prevent unexpected pregnancy. This isn’t the case, however.

According to the NHS, when used correctly, men’s condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that 2 out every 100 women will become pregnant following intercourse, even if the condom has been used according to the pack instructions.

This number increases substantially when a condom is used incorrectly or, in a worst-case scenario, splits during usage. If you are purchasing condoms with the explicit intent of using them to prevent pregnancy, be sure to read all the instructions thoroughly before use to ensure you get the best out of them.

If you do experience a rip in the condom during intercourse, the condom’s effectiveness is voided, and you should seek advice from a medical professional at the earliest opportunity. Your GP or sexual health clinic may suggest the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy in such a situation,

How effective are condoms against STIs?

As with pregnancy, condoms are also not 100% effective at preventing against sexually transmitted infections (STI). In fact, depending on what STI your sexual partner has, the use of a condom may have little to no effect when it comes to reliably preventing transmission.

According to STDcheck, some sexually transmitted infections can be transmitted or contracted even if you correctly use a condom during intercourse.

Condoms are 98% reliable for preventing pregnancy because they provide a physical barrier that prevents the semen entering your partner. When you ejaculate, the semen is trapped in the condom. When you then safely remove your penis and condom from your partner’s vagina, the semen comes with you.

In the case of sexually transmitted infections, transmission can occur in a variety of ways. For example, if your partner has crabs, or an open sore caused by an STI (such as HPV or syphilis) which is away from the penis or vaginal area, the infection can still be spread by sexual touching alone.

What are the most reliable condoms?

To ensure that the condom you have purchased meets the highest standard of protection, always check that they have the BSI kitemark and the CE mark on the packet.


All Durex condoms come with Durex quality assurance. This means that they have been 100% electronically tested, with 5 more quality tests being carried out on every batch. When shopping with Durex, you can rest assured that your condoms are as safe and reliable as any other quality assured condom – just make sure they are in date before use!

Where you may have difficulty, however, is deciding which condom to buy. With an incredible range to choose from, you may find yourself torn between a flavoured condom or something a little more sensory such as our Pleasure Me ribbed and dotted condom.

If it is size you are uncertain about though, simply head over to our blog and explore our condom size chart to help you make an informed decision.

Want to learn more about all things sex? Head over to our Explore Sex blog now where we discuss everything from phone sex to anal. Are you looking to explore the condom range at Durex? Head over to our condom ranges page and get yourself protected.



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