Male Contraception

We read a startling statistic about Canadian pregnancies—nearly half are unplanned.

It suggests a need for better family planning with more options for both partners, including a male contraceptive, perhaps a male contraceptive pill instead of (or in addition to) birth control pills for females.

We’ll explain this today, but we must also tell you whether there’s a connection between male contraception methods and erectile dysfunction risks.

The best contraceptive method for males should never pose a risk to their physical or sexual health, so let’s discuss this critical subject!

What’s Happening in Male Contraception

Medical research continues to delve into safe family planning methods for men, like a male contraceptive pill, but the best contraceptive method for males remains limited. 

Still, there are things to consider when using any current male contraceptive method, and we’ll break down the risks and benefits here.


The oldest form of male contraceptive is the male condom. While the ancient Greeks used goat bladders, a modern male condom is a thin sheath meant to slide over and shield a penis when fully erect.

Condoms are commonly referred to as a “barrier method” of male contraception since the sheath traps the man’s sperm after ejaculation. When a condom operates effectively, it prevents sperm from fertilizing a female’s egg.

Latex and polyurethane are synthetic materials used to make condoms, and a more natural material is lambskin condoms.

Manufacturers make condoms that increase sensitivity or make penetration easier. Lubricated condoms can decrease pain for the female, and because that reduces friction, the condom may be less prone to tearing during sex.

Other condoms get a coating of spermicide to prevent pregnancy more. Here are the benefits of using condoms as a male contraceptive:

Condom Benefits

Condom benefits
  • A proper-fitting condom offers excellent pregnancy prevention.
  • Additionally, condoms offer good protection from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), including syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV.
  • Condoms are inexpensive and widely available over-the-counter without a prescription.

While condoms have been male contraception for centuries, there are risks. Here’s what to know:

Condom Risks

  • A condom can slip off during sex if put on improperly.
  • Some condoms rip easily, and older condoms dry out and can tear.
  • Condoms expire by their best-before date, and light or heat may damage the material.
  • Latex allergies aren’t uncommon, and you may experience an itching or swelling reaction after sex. 
  • Spermicide can cause urinary tract infection (UTI) in a woman’s vagina.

Some people are unaware condom usage may pose a risk of sexual dysfunction, and some men experience condom-associated erection problems (CAEP). Here’s what to know.

What are CAEPs?

Condom-associated erection problems (CAEP) can occur when a condom fits incorrectly or the size isn’t right on a man’s penis.

Sometimes, a man loses his erection when he puts on a condom or if he feels unpleasant friction during sex.

After experiencing CAEP, a man can get anxious using condoms, which becomes a sexual dysfunction in extreme circumstances. In addition, some men report less sexual sensation wearing a condom, which eventually becomes a dysfunction.

Results of an Interesting CAEP Study

An international team of researchers studied a group of heterosexual men (aged 18 to 24) on their condom usage.

The men completed an International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) assessment as part of the study. Doctors also use this assessment to diagnose erectile dysfunction (ED).

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • Of the 479 men, 38% had normal erections and no issues using condoms. 
  • Up to 14% experienced CAEP trying to put on a condom. 
  • Roughly 16% experienced CAEP during intercourse with a female partner.
  • 32% experienced CAEP while putting on a condom and also during intercourse.

All the men in the study who’d experienced CAEP were at greater risk of sexual dysfunctions with or without using condoms, including milder to moderate cases of ED.

Can CAEP Be Fixed?

Good sexual education is vital for many reasons, and when men don’t learn to use condoms correctly, it increases their risk of experiencing CAEP.

So here’s how to use a condom properly:

  1. When your penis is fully erect, remove the condom from its foil wrapper and put the tip of the condom on the head of your penis.
  2. Unroll the sheath of the condom down your shaft to the base of your penis.
  3. Ensure there’s no air caught underneath the sheath, but leave some space at the tip for your ejaculation.
  4. After you’ve ejaculated during intercourse, hold the condom sheath at the base of your penis and pull out (this ensures the condom won’t slip or break).
  5. Dispose of the condom properly in a trash receptacle.

In addition, if you’re uncircumcised, it’s essential to pull your foreskin back before you unroll the condom onto your shaft. Following intercourse, it’s also a great idea to focus on health and hygiene by washing your genital area

While CAEP poses risks, there isn’t enough data to link condom use to ED in men. But for some, the best contraceptive method for a male could be male sterilization. 


What is vasectomy

A vasectomy is a big deal, but it’s also highly effective. This surgical method requires a doctor to snip and seal the tubes in a man’s testicles to stop travelling sperm.  

Benefits of Vasectomy:

  • It’s a more straightforward operation than female sterilization and is more effective.
  • It’s a same-day surgery with no overnight stay in the hospital.
  • Sex and ejaculation feel the same. 
  • There is no adverse reaction to the look or smell of semen post-vasectomy.

It’s estimated that barely 15 couples out of every 10,000 experience an accidental pregnancy within a year of the male partner’s vasectomy. So that’s a helpful statistic.

Drawbacks of Vasectomy:

  • Most times, it’s permanent. Reversal surgery can be attempted, but there are no guarantees.
  • If STDs are a concern, you must still wear a condom.
  • Rare side effects of the surgery are bleeding, mild infections, and swelling.

Unplanned pregnancies still occur post-vasectomy, but it’s mostly because living sperm can remain in a man’s semen for up to three months after his vasectomy.

Can a Vasectomy Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

A 2014 study followed 76 couples post-vasectomy. Researchers used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) assessment tool to compare the men’s erection pre and post-surgery.

The study found that men scored better post-vasectomy in erections, orgasms, and general satisfaction during sex. The females reported increased physical satisfaction too.

Researchers noted that some men did regret being unable to have more children. Emotional issues like this can lead to depression and, in turn, sexual dysfunction, so a man should address any mental health issues he’s experiencing post-vasectomy.

But physically, we can conclude that a vasectomy does not contribute to a man experiencing sexual dysfunctions, particularly ED.

Is Withdrawal the Best Contraceptive Method for Males?

Many men have long believed they could prevent pregnancy by pulling out of their partner’s vagina before ejaculating. It’s called the withdrawal method.

We can’t say there are any benefits to this method because it’s highly ineffective. It also offers no protection against contracting a sexually transmitted disease. In most cases, the partners may also experience less pleasure during sex.

Outercourse Doesn’t Require a Male Contraceptive Pill

You don’t need pregnancy protection with “outercourse” because it’s strictly foreplay with no penetration of your partner’s vagina, so no sperm fertilizing the egg.

Outercourse may include fondling, masturbation, oral sex, and deep kissing. In addition, while anal sex is penetrative, it’s also considered outercourse. 

While this method can be an enjoyable way to experience pleasure, most couples prefer to have vaginal sex.

Here’s Our Bottom Line on Male Contraception

The best contraceptive method

While there’s no male contraceptive pill we can recommend yet, and the best contraceptive method for males is up for debate, we couldn’t find direct links to erectile dysfunction for any man looking for ways to prevent pregnancy.

For your physical, sexual, and mental health, keep this in mind:

  • STDs are a real risk for anyone who doesn’t use condoms during sex.
  • While condom misuse can cause condom-associated erection problems, any link to ED is indirect.
  • Men can experience depression or anxiety post-vasectomy, enough to cause psychological ED issues.
  • In addition, using condoms and the withdrawal method may disrupt sexual pleasure resulting in low libido.

Oakwood Health Network proudly offers several confidential men’s health clinics throughout the GTA. Our medical professionals are fully experienced in men’s sexual health, including the best male contraceptive methods.

At OHN, you can get your mojo back. We invite you to contact us for a free online consultation. Or get in touch with us today!

Johnson, T., 2021. Male Birth Control Options. [online] WebMD. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

Whelan, C., 2021. Male Birth Control: What Are the Options? [online] Healthline. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

Male Contraceptive Initiative. 2022. Existing Methods of Male Contraception. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

Betjes, E., 2022. What are condom-associated erection problems (CAEP)? [online] ISSM. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

Roland, J., 2018. No-Scalpel Vasectomy: Procedure, Benefits, Risks, and Recovery. [online] Healthline. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

ISSM. n.d. Can a vasectomy cause erectile dysfunction (ED)? [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].

Buchholz NP, Weuste R, Mattarelli G, Woessmer B, Langewitz W. Post-vasectomy erectile dysfunction. J Psychosom Res. 1994 Oct;38(7):759-62. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(94)90028-0. PMID: 7877130. n.d. Unintended pregnancy – Pregnancy Info. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 August 2022].