Condoms Are Here To Stay Even With A Male Pill

Aaron Hamlin
2 min readJul 30, 2015

Male Contraception Initiative exists because current male contraceptives aren’t adequate. That includes condoms. And saying that out loud that can make some public health professionals defensive. For example, an article featuring us in the UK Huffington Post had one sexual health executive state that condoms are a “very effective method of contraception.”

But condoms are not a “very effective method of contraception.” That particularly goes for long-term pregnancy prevention. Even the CDC concedes this in the graphic below. You’ll find condoms located on the side labeled “least effective”.

We could transport ourselves into a fictionalized world where everyone uses the condom perfectly, but that would still mean a 1 in 50 pregnancy risk each year. Over ten years, that’s nearly one in five couples experiencing at least one unplanned pregnancy. That’s bad in itself, but the real picture is even worse. Because we don’t live in a fictionalized world where everyone uses the condom perfectly and consistently, our long-term risk with typical use is alarmingly high.

To be clear, this isn’t a declaration to scrap condoms, even for pregnancy prevention. When other methods aren’t available or appropriate (ex// sterilization, IUD, implant), using a condom will get you much further than nothing. The annual pregnancy rate among partners using nothing is 85%. That’s a lot higher than even the condom’s 18% typical-use pregnancy rate. That’s a no brainer — use a condom. Using the condom perfectly and short term as a transition to more effective methods can also be a good pregnancy prevention strategy.

Condoms aren’t just pregnancy prevention though. Perhaps their best use is at preventing sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).

Besides the female condom, the male condom is the only barrier method used for intercourse. It stops fluid transfer and even protects some skin surface area. This is the best approach we have at tackling STI’s. Even prospective male contraceptives can’t pull that off. Minus some sci-fi medical breakthrough, the condom isn’t going anywhere.

Men need real options for reversible contraception right now — better than the condom. Unplanned pregnancies are a huge deal for everyone. This can and must be addressed. Want to be part of the solution? Take part in our first annual crowdfunding campaign for the first male Pill here.

Originally published at on July 30, 2015.