What are condoms?

Condoms are disposable sheaths worn on the penis during various types of sexual intercourse. They can serve two primary functions: to prevent pregnancy by blocking the transmission of sperm-laden semen, and to prevent sexually-transmitted infections (STIs and STDs) by blocking the transmission of pathogens (germs, such as viruses and bacteria).

Not all types of condoms are equally effective for each of these purposes, so the packaging should be carefully read before use.

Condoms are manufactured from a variety of materials each with their own benefits and drawbacks. They are also made in a variety of shapes, some larger and some smaller, some thicker and some thinner, some with ribs or bumps intended for sexual stimulation, and some with colors or flavors. Special classes of condoms are not fitted to the penis, but worn internally, such as female condoms and anal condoms. Many condoms come pre-lubricated with a water-based lubricant applied, and some come with a spermicidal gel. Certain brands come with a desensitizing gel applied to help prolong sex for men who struggle with premature ejaculation.

They can be purchased in most drug stores and grocery stores, or online.

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