What contraception is available for men?
There are three choices that male partners have control over: condoms, withdrawal (pulling out), and vasectomy (sterilisation).
Pills or injections are not yet available for men.
Condoms are the only method that prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Pleasure is the biggest problem with condoms: experienced condom users can find ways round this – for example, the right size and fit is very important. Condoms should not break or slip off, and if that’s happening, there’s usually a reason.
Tailored advice about problems with condoms:
This means taking the penis out of the vagina before coming. This works for some people but involves a great deal of self-control.
There’s quite a high risk of pregnancy because it’s hard to do, and because there is sometimes sperm in pre-cum.
This is a small operation to cut or block the tubes from the testicles. This is a very effective choice for those who don’t want any more children.
Does contraception make people moody?
Sometimes, yes. Different methods affect people differently. Hormonal contraception can sometimes actually help with moods, by levelling out hormones and helping with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
Will it be difficult for my partner to get pregnant in future?
It’s a common concern that using contraception will mean that it’s difficult to get pregnant in future. Contraception is safe and completely reversible (except sterilisation).
It does no harm to take hormones for many years, and it does no harm when periods stop for a while. It’s harder for people to get pregnant as they get older, but contraception makes no difference to this. Find out more about fertility here
Learn more about the combined pill, the mini pill, the injection, the implant, and coils.
Does irregular bleeding do any harm?
Some methods affect bleeding patterns and some might bleed more, less, or unpredictably. Some methods are excellent at making periods lighter and less painful, and you can choose to skip periods completely.
How do partners know if their sperm are healthy?
Sometimes couples end up thinking that one of them must be infertile if they are having unprotected sex and have not got pregnant. An egg is only available for 12 to 24 hours in every month, so it’s likely to be just chance instead of infertility.
Partners can check whether their sperm are healthy by doing a fertility test – that involves masturbating so that fresh semen that can be looked at a under a microscope. GPs can organise fertility tests.
Can partners feel coils?
Coils are very small, and are right inside the uterus (womb). This video provides more information about coils.
Since the coil is right inside the uterus it can’t be felt by a male partner. There are two soft nylon threads which come through the neck of the womb so that the coil can be taken out easily – sometimes partners can feel the threads with the penis. If this happens and is uncomfortable, the threads can be trimmed.
Can partners feel the vaginal ring?
The vaginal ring is a soft plastic ring which is in the vagina, gently releasing hormones. Partners can’t usually feel the ring with their penises, but if they can, it can feel quite nice. It doesn’t really matter exactly where the ring sits in the vagina, so it does no harm if it’s touched during sex. It should not be taken out for sex, but if it is, it should be put back within three hours. This video provides more information about the vaginal ring
Can partners feel the diaphragm?
The diaphragm is a soft silicone disc which is at the top of the vagina, covering the neck of the womb. It’s used with a spermicide gel. Partners can’t usually feel the diaphragm with their penises, but if they can, it is soft and is not in the way. It does no harm if it’s touched during sex. It should be left in for six hours after sex, to allow time for the spermicide gel to work. More gel is needed if couples want to have sex again within the six hours. The gel can be messy, but can also be a good lubricant. This video provides more information about the diaphragm
Which type of contraception is the best?
There are advantages and disadvantages to all contraception methods. Some are much better than others for preventing pregnancy. Some choices help with mood, acne, painful periods and heavy periods, but some people get more moody, go off sex, get sore breasts or headaches. People may need to try a few different methods to find the best one.
Find out more about effectiveness of different methods of contraception here
Find out about all methods of contraception here