Last modified on March 3rd, 2021
External condoms –known as male condoms- are one of the most popular forms to prevent pregnancies and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Just slip it on the penis. External condoms (male) lower the risk of STIs by keeping sperm inside the condom and out of the vagina, anus or mouth. (There are also internal condoms (female) that go inside the vagina or anus.) External condoms (male) come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. You can also buy them with lube and without.
Types of external condoms (male):
Spermicide. These condoms are lubricated with a chemical that kills sperm. They are not recommended for oral or anal sex.
Spermicide-free. If you or your partner is sensitive to spermicide, look for spermicide-free condoms. Condoms have very few side effects. This type has even less.
Latex. Latex condoms can stretch up to 800%. These are the most common condoms. But do not use them with oil-based lubricants. Oil-based lube can cause the condom to break or slip, increasing your risk of pregnancy or STIs.
Non-latex. If you are allergic to latex or like oil-based lube, then look for non-latex condoms. They are usually made from polyurethane, other synthetic high tech materials, or natural lambskin.
STI protection. Most external condoms (male)help protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Lambskin condoms are the one type you should not rely on for STI protection. Lambskin condoms block sperm but not infections.
External condoms (male) take effort and commitment. The man needs to slip it on the penis correctly every time, no matter what, for them to be effective. In some places, it can be difficult for women to demand their male partner uses it every time and correctly.
May help sex last longer. External condoms (male) can decrease sensitivity. In some cases that can be a good thing. (If you or your partner has trouble with premature ejaculation, condoms may help sex last longer.)
Cheap and easy to find. External condoms (male) are inexpensive, and sometimes you can get them for free. You can find them just about everywhere. There are many different kinds to choose from.
No prescription is necessary. If you cannot make it to the health care provider or do not want to go, you can always use an external condom (male).
Not ideal if you are allergic to latex. If you are allergic to latex, you will need to use a non-latex external condom (male). If you cannot find non-latex condoms, try another method.
External condoms (male) are pretty easy to use. We have tips below to remind you how to use them properly. And remember – if you are only using condoms, you have to remember to use them EVERY SINGLE TIME you have sex.
How to put an external condom (male) on:
How to take an external condom (male) off:
Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.
The Positive: there are lots of things about external condoms (male) that are good for your body as well as your sex life.
 CATIE Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. (2013). Condoms for the prevention of HIV and STI transmission. Toronto . Retrieved from https://www.catie.ca/ga-pdf.php?file=sites/default/files/condoms-en.pdf
 Dr Marie Marie Stopes International. (2017). Contraception. Retrieved from http://www.mariestopes.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Contraception-brochure-web-200417.pdf
 FPA the sexual health charity. (2019). Your guide to condoms. Retrieved from http://www.fpa.org.uk/sites/default/files/condoms-external-and-internal-your-guide.pdf
 Festin MR. (2013). Non-latex versus latex male condoms for contraception.The WHO Reproductive Health Library; Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://extranet.who.int/rhl/topics/fertility-regulation/contraception/non-latex-versus-latex-male-condoms-contraception
 IPPF and UNFPA. (2010). MYTHS, MISPERCEPTIONS AND FEARS: ADDRESSING CONDOM USE BARRIERS. New York . Retrieved from http://bibliobase.sermais.pt:8008/BiblioNET/Upload/PDF4/002988.pdf
 Lopez, et al. (2014). Behavioral interventions for improving condom use for dual protection. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD010662. DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD010662.pub2 Retrieved from https://extranet.who.int/rhl/topics/fertility-regulation/contraception/behavioural-interventions-improving-condom-use-dual-protection
 Stover, et al. (2017) The case for investing in the male condom. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177108. Retrieved fromhttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177108&type=printable
 Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. (2015). Canadian Contraception Consensus Chapter 5: Barrier Methods. JOGC Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada , 37. Retrieved from https://www.jogc.com/article/S1701-2163(16)39376-8/pdf
 Shoupe, D. (2016). Barrier Contraceptives: Male Condoms, Vaginal Spermicides, and Cervical Barrier Methods. En D. Shoupe, The Handbook of Contraception: A Guide for Practical Management. Retrieved from http://eknygos.lsmuni.lt/springer/677/147-177.pdf
 World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (2018) Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Baltimore and Geneva. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/260156/9780999203705-eng.pdf?sequence=1
 World Health Organization. (2016). Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Geneva. Retrieved fromhttps://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/252267/9789241565400-eng.pdf?sequence=1