Your Guide to Birth Control: Condoms
Introduction to Male Condoms
Birth control is a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control; some types also protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are one type of birth control that in addition to preventing pregnancy also prevent the spread of STDs.
There are two types of condoms, the male condom and the female condom.
What Is a Male Condom?
The male condom, or "rubber," is a thin covering made of latex, plastic, or animal membrane that is rolled over an erect penis. The covering prevents semen, the fluid that contains sperm, from entering a woman's vagina.
What Are Male Condoms Made of?
Most condoms are made of a type of rubber called "latex." Latex condoms are the most effective condom at preventing STDs. Recently, condoms made of polyurethane (a type of plastic) have become available. These are more expensive than latex condoms and seem to break more easily. They are mainly useful for people who are allergic to latex. There are also "natural" condoms, which are made of animal membranes (lambskin). These are expensive and although they are effective at preventing pregnancy they do not decrease the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases.
What Types of Latex Condoms Are There?
Condoms come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Here are some characteristics to consider when buying condoms.