Male condoms

A male condom is a thin sheath placed over the erect penis. When left in place during sexual intercourse, oral sex or anal sex, male condoms are an effective way to protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Male condoms are also an effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Condoms, also called rubbers, are usually made of latex, but some are made from polyurethane or lambskin. Latex and polyurethane condoms provide the most protection against STIs.

Male condoms are simple to use, inexpensive and widely available. Male condoms are available with or without a lubricant and come in a variety of lengths, shapes, widths, thicknesses and colors. Some condoms are textured to increase sensation.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

If you use them correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are very effective at preventing pregnancy and the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Condoms also reduce the risk of infection from other STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Condoms don't have the side effects found in some forms of female contraception, such as birth control pills or shots, or potential complications of an intrauterine device (IUD). They're available without a prescription, so it's easy to have one on hand when you need it.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use