After reading this you can hopefully walk into a store and pick out the condoms that are right for you. Or at the very least, you’ll be a little more knowledgeable about which types of condoms work for you and your partner.

It can be quite overwhelming to buy condoms for the first time, especially when there are so many different types! I remember the first time I went to buy condoms (apart from the time I went to buy them for the customary high school health project). I’ll have to admit—I was a bit frazzled. From ultra-thin to warming to ribbed, there were so many different types, and I didn’t have the slightest idea which ones to buy!

So that your experience isn’t nearly as confusing as mine, let’s talk about the different types of condoms. My hope is that after reading this you can confidently walk into a store and pick out the condoms that are right for you.

…or that you’ll at least be a little bit more knowledgeable about which type(s) of condoms work for you and your partner.


There are many types of condoms. They may be made out of either latex, polyurethane or lambskin, and these may also be lubricated, spermicidal or textured. Choose a condom material that best suits your needs and those of your partner. For example, latex condoms are very effective at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (when used properly), but if you’re allergic to latex, you can opt for polyurethane condoms. Lambskin condoms provide protection against unintended pregnancy but not STIs. Viruses and bacteria can pass through lambskin condoms, which is why they are only recommended for monogamous couples.

Lubricated Condoms

Lubricated condoms have a water or silicone based lubricant on them. This lessens the friction between the skin and the condom, making sex feel better.

  • Warming sensate condoms are a type of lubricated condom with a warming agent inside of them that may be stimulating to some people—making sex more interesting.
  • Spermicidal condoms have spermicidal lubricant on them that paralyzes sperm and provides extra protection against pregnancy. However, remember that spermicidal condoms can irritate your or your partner’s body, which could lead to allergic reactions or an increased susceptibility to STIs.
  • Delay condoms have benzocaine inside of them, which delays ejaculation.

Textured condoms can be ribbed or dotted, meaning that they have extra nubs around them to make sex more pleasurable.

Other types of condoms include extra-large condoms, ultra-thin condoms and internal condoms, which are also called “female condoms.”

Don’t be daunted by the various types of condoms—in fact, that’s the best part about them! Because there are so many different types, textures, sizes and shapes of condoms, it gives you even more opportunity to find one that best suits you and your partner. Remember, sex is meant to be fun and pleasurable; good sex stems from good communication about sex—and this includes talking about your and your partner’s preferences for condoms!



Parth Thakkar (he/him) is a freshman at Johns Hopkins University studying public health and economics. He has been writing for Sex, Etc. for four years. In his free time, Parth likes to dance, play the ukulele and read nonfiction.