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What Is a Male Contraceptive?

A condom is one of only two effective forms of male contraception, the other being vasectomy.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Contraceptive is the term given to various methods of preventing pregnancy. While there are several forms of female contraceptives available, there are only two scientifically proven methods of male contraception as of 2011. These methods are the use of condoms or a sterilization surgery known as a vasectomy. Condoms are used during sexual intercourse every time the man has sex without wanting to risk getting his female partner pregnant. A vasectomy is typically a permanent sterilization method that is performed only when the man is certain that he does not want to father a child.

Condoms are the most frequently used male contraceptive method. Condoms are typically made of either latex or polyurethane. Latex condoms are usually easier to find and are a bit more effective at preventing pregnancy than condoms made of polyurethane, a type of plastic. If lubricants are used with the condoms, it is important to note that only water-based lubricants should be used with latex condoms, as oil-based lubricants could damage the condom and make it less effective. Both water-based and oil-based lubricants can be used with condoms made of polyurethane.

Condoms are an easily accessible male contraceptive, and many family planning facilities offer them free of charge. Many supermarkets and convenience stores sell condoms at reasonably inexpensive prices. Some public restrooms have discreet vending machines that dispense condoms. Each individual condom wrapper contains an expiration date so the user will know when it is time to replace an out-of-date condom.

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Surgical intervention is considered a permanent male contraceptive method. This type of surgical procedure is known as a vasectomy and is typically performed on an outpatient basis at a doctor's office. While a vasectomy may be able to be reversed in some cases, this is not always possible. For this reason, this male contraceptive method should be used only when the man is absolutely certain that he does not wish to father a child.

A vasectomy is a minimally invasive male contraceptive surgical procedure. The patient is awake for the surgery, so a local anesthetic is used to numb the genital area. The tube that carries the sperm from the testicles is cut and sealed so that sperm is not able to mix with the semen when the man ejaculates. After the procedure, the man's sperm count will be checked periodically, as it takes a while for the sperm to be reabsorbed into the body following surgery. Another form of birth control should be used until the sperm count reaches zero.

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