What is an External Condom?
External condoms (sometimes called “male” condoms) are a covering designed to fit over an erect penis, almost like a second skin and can be used for oral, vaginal and anal sex. They are usually made of latex but are also available in non-latex materials like polyisoprene and polyurethane.
How do condoms work?
- For birth control, they prevent pregnancy by keeping the sperm away from the vagina.
- For STI protection, they act as a physical barrier method that works to protect against STIs by reducing contact with partner(s) bodily fluid and skin.
How effective are external condoms?
- When used as birth control they are approximately 87% effective at preventing pregnancy.
- When used as a birth control method, they are ideally used with another birth control instead of on their own.
- They are very effective at preventing STIs
- Easy to find and often free.
- Available without a prescription.
- Accessible by people with penises.
- Can delay ejaculation and prolong some kinds of sex.
- If allergic to latex may cause irritation in the vagina or on the penis.
- May break if improperly stored or used incorrectly
- Needs to be applied before each act of intercourse, reducing spontaneity
- May reduce sensitivity during intercourse
- Oil based products such as Vaseline, baby oil, massage oil or creams can cause latex condoms to tear or break.