Q&A: What is a Condom?

A condom is a tube-shaped contraceptive device which is made from a thin latex or synthetic latex material. This tube fits snuggly (like a glove) over the penis for protection during oral and/or vaginal penetration.

Condoms are used to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and they also prevent unwanted pregnancies, when used correctly. This makes condoms different from birth control pills or other methods of contraception which only protect against pregnancy and not STDs and STIs.

What is a Condom?


Condoms are referred to as a, “barrier method,” contraceptive. Other items in this category of contraceptives are dental dams and diaphragms. Barrier methods prohibit the exchange of bodily fluids, such as ejaculate, blood, saliva and vaginal fluids which can either cause pregnancy or STDs, or both.

Condoms have been used throughout human history and are widely known as being the most reliable form of birth control, as long as they are consistently used in the right way. It is imperative for the reliability of the condom to wear the correct size, to use the proper type and amount of lubrication (no oil), to use each condom only once (single use) and to just wear one condom at a time.

Although condoms are very effective, for the ultimate amount of safety and precaution, it is recommended to pair condoms with another form of birth control, such as hormonal contraception, and to be regularly tested for STDs.

Female Condoms

A newer, but still highly effective, type of condom is called the female condom. These condoms are worn internally by the woman to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STDs/STIs. The female condom is inserted into the vagina before penile penetration. When using a female condom, the male should remain bare (condomless). For more information about the female condom, including instructions for use, view the FC2 product description.

Anal Sex and Condoms

Currently, the FDA has not approved any condoms for anal sex. However, it is very important to stay protected from STD transmission, even while having anal sex. Condoms can safely be used for anal sex for this purpose. Just remember that the anus does not make its own natural lubrication, so additional lube will be necessary in order to reduce the amount friction on the condom. Using water or silicone based lubricants will keep the condom in tact and help to keep you and your partner safer during anal sex.

Common Condom Questions

About Kara

Kara is the Creative Director for the Condom Depot Learning Center, Condoms Fast Blog & the Spicy Gear Blog. She's an FSU alumni with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Studio Art & is as sex positive as they come. She be found swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, reading or playing the drums.

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