Condoms provide a physical barrier between sexual partners and stop sperm from reaching the egg.

There are two types of condoms – external and internal.


They are the only form of contraception which can also prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Condoms (external)

Condoms are made of very thin and stretchy latex or a similar synthetic material. They can be worn over an erect penis and capture semen so it does not touch or enter their partner.

When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Condoms are relatively easy to use and some people incorporated putting them on in foreplay (before penetration).

A new condom must be used each time and before the packets use by date. Different sizes, materials and designs are available, particularly if you are allergic to latex.

As they provide a ‘barrier’ they are also the most effective way to stop the spread of STIs. They can be used for vaginal, oral and anal sex, and on sex toys such as vibrators.

Internal Condoms (femidom)

Internal (female) condoms are made from soft and thin latex or a similar synthetic material. They are worn inside the vagina to provide a barrier and stop semen entering the womb.

When used correctly, they are 95% effective at preventing pregnancy.

After sex, the internal condom should be carefully removed by the open end to avoid any of the semen escaping. Each internal condom must only be used once and before its use by date.

Like external condoms, wearing an internal condom can be incorporated into foreplay (before penetration) and helps prevent STIs by creating a physical barrier.

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