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12 Types of Condoms

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Erica Garza

Published 05/27/2024

With so many different types of condoms out there, it can take some trial and error to find your perfect match. If only you could base it on your zodiac sign — fiery Leos must use warming condoms, right?

But there are more important factors to consider. Allergies, penis size, and, of course, sensation preferences can all play a role in finding the best condom for you.

Condoms are a highly effective form of birth control and a good way to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They can also enhance pleasure if you choose the right one.

The different types of condoms include:

  • Latex condoms

  • Non-latex condoms

  • Lambskin condoms

  • Ribbed, studded, or textured condoms

  • Lubricated condoms

  • Spermicidal condoms

  • Flavored condoms

  • Premature ejaculation condoms

  • Tingling condoms

  • Warming condoms

  • Internal condoms

  • Novelty condoms

Read on to learn about the 12 most common options, including latex and non-latex condoms, premature ejaculation condoms, and textured condoms.

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1. Latex Condoms

Classic and trustworthy, latex condoms have been on the scene since the 1920s.

Compared to other types of condoms, including non-latex condoms made of polyurethane and polyisoprene, latex condoms are considered more reliable at preventing pregnancy. They’re also less likely to break or slip off during sex.

Latex condoms come in various sizes and designs, including textured and lubricated, which we’ll get into below.

2. Non-Latex Condoms

Ever experienced burning or itching during or after protected sex? You may have had an allergic reaction.

Latex allergies are rare, affecting less than one percent of the general population. If you’re among the unlucky few with a latex allergy, latex-free condoms could be a good alternative.

Non-latex condoms are typically made of polyurethane or polyisoprene. Polyurethane is a type of plastic and tends to be thinner than latex. Polyisoprene is synthetic latex — it’s just as thick as the real thing but a bit stretchier. This may be why it’s more prone to tearing.

Latex-free condoms are less reliable than latex condoms and break more often. But the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) still considers them an effective way to prevent STIs and unintended pregnancy for those who can’t use latex.

3. Lambskin Condoms

Another type of non-latex condom is the lambskin condom, usually made from lamb intestines.

Lambskin condoms are said to produce a more natural feel than other condom types and can be a suitable form of contraception.

However, this type of condom also contains pores — because, well…skin. This means it doesn’t effectively protect against STIs and STDs (but can still prevent pregnancy).

Lambskin condoms also tend to be more expensive than other options.

4. Ribbed, Studded, or Textured Condoms

Both latex and non-latex condoms can feature different textures and designs. The most common textures you’ll see are ribbed or studded.

These textures can serve multiple purposes, including enhanced pleasure for you and your partner. They can also increase the effectiveness of the condom.

For instance, ultra-thin condoms from Hims have small hexagons that look like honeycomb. This textured pattern doesn’t just maximize sensitivity — it also adds flexibility. This makes the condom suitable for a wide range of penis sizes without the risk of breaking or slipping off. More flex + more sensation = a winning combination.

5. Lubricated Condoms

Many condoms are pre-lubricated with water- or silicone-based lube. This can come in handy if you forget to bring your own.

Using lube with condoms is recommended to protect against friction burn while lowering the risk of condom breakage.

For even more pleasure and protection, there’s no harm in using extra lube with a pre-lubricated condom like our premium condoms and lubricant kit.

Just be sure not to use oil-based lubricants like coconut oil lotion or Vaseline® if you’re using a latex condom. This type of lube can degrade the latex and cause tearing or ripping.

Hims also has a water-based lube if you’re in the market for one.

6. Spermicidal Condoms

If you want to double down on lowering the risk of unintended pregnancy, think twice before you wear two condoms at once (which can lead to condom breakage).

A better choice is to use a condom coated in spermicide, a chemical that kills sperm. These contraceptives can be made from latex or non-latex materials.

An extra layer of protection may sound appealing, but there are a few drawbacks to using a spermicidal condom. The type of chemical used in spermicide may cause irritation for your partner if they have an allergy. And their risk of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI) is three times higher when using a spermicidal condom.

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7. Flavored Condoms

If you or your partner don’t like the way latex tastes during oral sex, you may want to try flavored condoms.

These condoms use sweet or fruity lubricants containing ingredients like glucose or glycerine. While the addition of sugars can make oral sex tastier, keep in mind they shouldn’t be used during vaginal sex. Flavored lubricants can disrupt your partner’s natural genital chemistry, potentially leading to vaginitis.

8. Premature Ejaculation Condoms

If you’re among the 20 to 30 percent of men who struggle with premature ejaculation (PE), you may benefit from using a condom designed to help you last longer in bed.

Our climax-control condoms are lubricated on the inside with benzocaine, which reduces sensitivity (without numbing you entirely) to help delay ejaculation.

But they won’t reduce sensitivity for your partner. On the outside, the condoms are studded and lightly lubricated for heightened pleasure.

Using a premature ejaculation condom is a discreet way to take control of your erectile function while practicing safe sex at the same time.

9. Tingling Condoms

Tingling condoms feature a specific type of lubricant that provides a tingling or cooling sensation for you and/or your partner.

While there are tingling condoms for all types of sex, some options are more ideal for oral sex, like those with a peppermint or spearmint flavor.

10. Warming Condoms

While tingling condoms may have a cooling effect, warming condoms deliver the opposite experience by adding some heat.

Warming condoms are typically thinner to make the most of body heat. They’re also pre-lubricated with formulas containing heat-producing ingredients like capsaicin, a chili pepper extract.

11. Internal Condoms

Sometimes called female condoms, internal condoms are worn inside the vagina or during anal sex. They’re meant to be used on their own, not in addition to an external male condom.

Internal condoms are typically made of nitrile, a non-latex soft plastic.

When used consistently and correctly every time you have sex, the effectiveness of an internal condom is said to be 95 percent — although Planned Parenthood estimates them as 79 percent effective. This is slightly lower than the estimated 87 percent effectiveness of external condoms.

12. Novelty Condoms

From edible to glow-in-the-dark, novelty condoms are the kind you might find at Spencer’s® at the mall.

Some are more effective than others, but they probably shouldn’t be your first choice when trying to find the best condoms for your needs. Novelty condoms are more likely to be bought as gag gifts and less likely to protect against STIs and unintended pregnancy.

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There’s no doubt that using condoms is a highly effective way to practice safe sex and lower your risk of contracting STDs like HIV, HPV, and genital herpes.

With so many options available, it’s easier than ever to look after your sexual health and overall health while adding some fun features to the bedroom.

When looking for the right condom, keep in mind:

  • Latex condoms are more reliable than non-latex condoms. Studies show that latex condoms are more effective at preventing pregnancy and less likely to break or slip off during sex compared to the latex-free variety.

  • Non-latex condoms are a good choice for those with allergies. Latex allergies are rare, but if you have one, latex-free condoms made of materials like polyurethane or polyisoprene are appropriate alternatives. They may not be as effective as latex condoms, but they’re pretty close.

  • Condoms offer protection, but they can also enhance pleasure. With different textures, sensations, and flavors, condoms can add something new to the mix by enhancing pleasure for both you and your partner.

  • Fit is important. Condoms break when they don’t fit well or if you’re not using them properly. Be sure to use the appropriate condom size to ensure it doesn’t break.

Want more tips for safer sex? Read our guide to having sex with herpes and explore non-penetrative sex ideas.

11 Sources

  1. Apga B. (1998). Spermicide-Coated Condoms and Urinary Tract Infections. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/1998/0801/p522.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Primary Prevention Methods. https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/clinical-primary.htm
  3. Gallo MF, et al. (2006). Non-latex versus latex male condoms for contraception. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003550.pub2/full
  4. Khan F, et al. (2013). The story of the condom. https://journals.lww.com/indianjurol/fulltext/2013/29010/the_story_of_the_condom.3.aspx
  5. Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). How effective are internal condoms?. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/internal-condom/how-effective-are-internal-condoms
  6. Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). Vaginitis, Yeast Infection & BV | Symptoms, Signs and Causes. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/vaginitis
  7. Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). What Is the Effectiveness of Condoms?. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/condom/how-effective-are-condoms
  8. Raveendran AV, et al. (2021). Premature ejaculation - current concepts in the management: A narrative review. https://chooser.crossref.org/?doi=10.18502%2Fijrm.v19i1.8176
  9. Valls A, et al. (2004). Alergia al látex [Latex allergy]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301054604792587?via%3Dihub
  10. Van Ulsen J, et al. (1987). Allergy to spermicidal lubricant in a contraceptive. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0536.1987.tb02678.x
  11. Yah CS, et al. (2018). Nanotechnology and the future of condoms in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875119/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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