Lancashire Sexual Health logo and Blackpool Sexual health logo

Male Condoms (External)

External condoms are made of very thin latex (rubber) and cover the penis when erect, to stop sperm entering the vagina.

They act as a barrier preventing sexual fluids being transferred between partners preventing pregnancy and STI’s.

98% effective if used correctly



  • Only method that protects against both pregnancy and STI’s.
  • Only need to use them when you have sex
  • No serious side effects
  • Variety of shapes, sizes, textures, colours and flavours – making sex more fun
  • Easily available, and free from sexual health clinics


  • May slip off or split if used incorrectly
  • Penis needs to be withdrawn straight after ejaculation, before it goes soft, being careful not to spill any semen
  • Some people find talking about condoms awkward and embarrassing


  • Use a new condom every time and follow instructions carefully
  • Must be on the penis before the penis touches a partner’s genital area
  • Oil-based products can damage latex, making them less effective
  • Use extra water-based lubricant when using condoms for anal sex
  • If a condom splits you needs access to emergency contraception/STI testing
  • Not affected by other medicines

Further Information: