Comparing Condoms

Characteristic Male Condoms Female Condoms
How to wear Rolled on the man's penis. Fits the penis tightly. Inserted into the woman's vagina. Loosely lines the vagina and does not constrict the penis.
When to put on Put on erect penis right before sex. Can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex.
Material Most made of latex; some of synthetic materials or animal membranes. Most made of a thin, synthetic film; a few are latex.
How it feels during sex Change feeling of sex. Fewer complaints of changed feeling of sex than with male condoms.
Noise during sex May make a rubbing noise during sex. May rustle or squeak during sex.
Lubricants to use Users can add lubricants:

  • Water-based or silicone-based only.
  • Applied to outside of condom.
Users can add lubricants:
  • Water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based.
  • Before insertion, applied to outside of condom.
  • After insertion, applied to inside of condom or to the penis.
Breakage or slippage Tend to break more often than female condoms. Tend to slip more often than male condoms.
When to remove Require withdrawing from the vagina before the erection subsides. Can remain in vagina after erection subsides. Requires removal before woman stands.
What it protects Cover and protect most of the penis, protect the woman's internal genitalia. Cover both the woman's internal and external genitalia and the base of the penis.
How to store Store away from heat, light, and dampness. Plastic condoms are not harmed by heat, light or dampness.
Reuse Cannot be reused. Reuse not recommended (see Female Condoms, Question 5).
Cost and availability Generally low cost and widely available. Usually more expensive and less widely available than male condoms.
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