Condom
Overview
A condom is a barrier device
Barrier contraception
Barrier contraception methods prevent pregnancy by physically preventing sperm from entering the uterus.-History:The earliest recorded barrier methods are those of stem pessaries, found in Egypt. The diaphragm and reusable condoms became common after the invention of rubber vulcanization in the...

 most commonly used during sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 to reduce the probability of pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 and spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs—such as gonorrhea
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

, syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, and HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

). It is put on a man's erect penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

 and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Because condoms are waterproof, elastic, and durable, they are also used in a variety of secondary applications. These include collection of semen for use in infertility treatment as well as non-sexual uses such as creating waterproof microphones and protecting rifle barrels from clogging.

In the modern age, condoms are most often made from latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
A condom is a barrier device
Barrier contraception
Barrier contraception methods prevent pregnancy by physically preventing sperm from entering the uterus.-History:The earliest recorded barrier methods are those of stem pessaries, found in Egypt. The diaphragm and reusable condoms became common after the invention of rubber vulcanization in the...

 most commonly used during sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 to reduce the probability of pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 and spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs—such as gonorrhea
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

, syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, and HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

). It is put on a man's erect penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

 and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Because condoms are waterproof, elastic, and durable, they are also used in a variety of secondary applications. These include collection of semen for use in infertility treatment as well as non-sexual uses such as creating waterproof microphones and protecting rifle barrels from clogging.

In the modern age, condoms are most often made from latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine. A female condom
Female condom
A female condom is a device that is used during sexual intercourse as a barrier contraceptive and to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy...

 is also available, most often made of nitrile
Nitrile
A nitrile is any organic compound that has a -C≡N functional group. The prefix cyano- is used interchangeably with the term nitrile in industrial literature. Nitriles are found in many useful compounds, one example being super glue .Inorganic compounds containing the -C≡N group are not called...

. As a method of birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

, male condoms have the advantage of being inexpensive, easy to use, having few side effects, and of offering protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

However, according to a study in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association condoms have a breakage rate of 2.3% and a slippage rate of 1.3% which "may translate into a high risk for individuals who are very sexually active." With proper knowledge and application technique—and use at every act of intercourse—women whose partners use male condoms experience a 2% per-year pregnancy rate with perfect use and a 15% per-year pregnancy rate with typical use.

Condoms have been used for at least 400 years. Since the 19th century, they have been one of the most popular methods of contraception in the world. While widely accepted in modern times, condoms have generated some controversy, primarily over what role they should play in sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 classes. They are considered unacceptable in almost all situations by certain religions, notably the Catholic church.

Condoms interfere with the process of paternal tolerance, by which exposure of a woman's immune system to semen during unprotected sex may decrease the risk of pregnancy complications in subsequent pregnancies.

History


Before the 19th century

Whether condoms were used in ancient civilizations is debated by archaeologists and historians. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, pregnancy prevention was generally seen as a woman's responsibility, and the only well documented contraception methods were female-controlled devices. In Asia before the 15th century, some use of glans
Glans
The glans is a vascular structure located at the tip of the penis in men or a homologous genital structure of the clitoris in women.-Structure:...

 condoms (devices covering only the head of the penis) is recorded. Condoms seem to have been used for contraception, and to have been known only by members of the upper classes. In China, glans condoms may have been made of oiled silk paper, or of lamb intestines. In Japan, they were made of tortoise shell or animal horn.

In 16th century Italy, Gabriele Falloppio
Gabriele Falloppio
Gabriele Falloppio , often known by his Latin name Fallopius, was one of the most important anatomists and physicians of the sixteenth century....

 wrote a treatise on syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

. The earliest documented strain of syphilis, first appearing in Europe in a 1490s outbreak, caused severe symptoms and often death within a few months of contracting the disease. Falloppio's treatise is the earliest uncontested description of condom use: it describes linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution and allowed to dry before use. The cloths he described were sized to cover the glans
Glans penis
The glans penis is the sensitive bulbous structure at the distal end of the penis. The glans penis is anatomically homologous to the clitoral glans of the female...

 of the penis, and were held on with a ribbon. Falloppio claimed that an experimental trial of the linen sheath demonstrated protection against syphilis.

After this, the use of penis coverings to protect from disease is described in a wide variety of literature throughout Europe. The first indication that these devices were used for birth control, rather than disease prevention, is the 1605 theological publication De iustitia et iure (On justice and law) by Catholic theologian Leonardus Lessius
Leonardus Lessius
Leonardus Lessius was a Jesuit moral theologian and a pioneer in business ethics.-Life:...

, who condemned them as immoral. In 1666, the English Birth Rate Commission attributed a recent downward fertility rate to use of "condons", the first documented use of that word (or any similar spelling).

In addition to linen, condoms during the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 were made out of intestines and bladder. In the late 15th century, Dutch traders introduced condoms made from "fine leather" to Japan. Unlike the horn condoms used previously, these leather condoms covered the entire penis.
Casanova
Giacomo Casanova
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. His autobiography, Histoire de ma vie , is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century...

 in the 18th century was one of the first reported using "assurance caps" to prevent impregnating his mistresses.

From at least the 18th century, condom use was opposed in some legal, religious, and medical circles for essentially the same reasons that are given today: condoms reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, which some thought immoral or undesirable for the nation; they do not provide full protection against sexually transmitted infections, while belief in their protective powers was thought to encourage sexual promiscuity; and they are not used consistently due to inconvenience, expense, or loss of sensation.

Despite some opposition, the condom market grew rapidly. In the 18th century, condoms were available in a variety of qualities and sizes, made from either linen treated with chemicals, or "skin" (bladder or intestine softened by treatment with sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 and lye
Lye
Lye is a corrosive alkaline substance, commonly sodium hydroxide or historically potassium hydroxide . Previously, lye was among the many different alkalis leached from hardwood ashes...

). They were sold at pubs, barbershops, chemist shops, open-air markets, and at the theater throughout Europe and Russia. They later spread to America, although in every place there were generally used only by the middle and upper classes, due to both expense and lack of sex education.

1800 through 1920s

The early 19th century saw contraceptives promoted to the poorer classes for the first time. Writers on contraception tended to prefer other methods of birth control. Feminists of this time period wanted birth control to be exclusively in the hands of women, and disapproved of male-controlled methods such as the condom. Other writers cited both the expense of condoms and their unreliability (they were often riddled with holes, and often fell off or broke), but they discussed condoms as a good option for some, and as the only contraceptive that also protected from disease.

Many countries passed laws impeding the manufacture and promotion of contraceptives. In spite of these restrictions, condoms were promoted by traveling lecturers and in newspaper advertisements, using euphemisms in places where such ads were illegal. Instructions on how to make condoms at home were distributed in the United States and Europe. Despite social and legal opposition, at the end of the 19th century the condom was the Western world's most popular birth control method.

Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, American rates of sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketed. Causes cited by historians include effects of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, and the ignorance of prevention methods promoted by the Comstock laws. To fight the growing epidemic, sex education classes were introduced to public schools for the first time, teaching about venereal diseases and how they were transmitted. They generally taught that abstinence was the only way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms were not promoted for disease prevention because the medical community and moral watchdogs considered STDs to be punishment for sexual misbehavior. The stigma against victims of these diseases was so great that many hospitals refused to treat people who had syphilis.

The German military was the first to promote condom use among its soldiers, beginning in the later 19th century. Early 20th century experiments by the American military concluded that providing condoms to soldiers significantly lowered rates of sexually transmitted diseases. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the United States and (at the beginning of the war only) Britain were the only countries with soldiers in Europe who did not provide condoms and promote their use.

In the decades after World War I, there remained social and legal obstacles to condom use throughout the U.S. and Europe. Founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 opposed all methods of birth control on the grounds that their failure rates were too high. Freud was especially opposed to the condom because he thought it cut down on sexual pleasure. Some feminists continued to oppose male-controlled contraceptives such as condoms. In 1920 the Church of England's Lambeth Conference condemned all "unnatural means of conception avoidance." London's Bishop Arthur Winnington-Ingram
Arthur Winnington-Ingram
Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram KCVO PC was Bishop of London from 1901 to 1939.-Early life and career:He was born in Worcestershire, the fourth son of the Revd Edward Winnington-Ingram and of Louisa...

 complained of the huge number of condoms discarded in alleyways and parks, especially after weekends and holidays.

However, European militaries continued to provide condoms to their members for disease protection, even in countries where they were illegal for the general population. Through the 1920s, catchy names and slick packaging became an increasingly important marketing technique for many consumer items, including condoms and cigarettes. Quality testing became more common, involving filling each condom with air followed by one of several methods intended to detect loss of pressure. Worldwide, condom sales doubled in the 1920s.

Rubber and manufacturing advances

In 1839, Charles Goodyear
Charles Goodyear
Charles Goodyear was an American inventor who developed a process to vulcanize rubber in 1839 -- a method that he perfected while living and working in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1844, and for which he received patent number 3633 from the United States Patent Office on June 15, 1844Although...

 discovered a way of processing natural rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, which is too stiff when cold and too soft when warm, in such a way as to make it elastic. This proved to have advantages for the manufacture of condoms; unlike the sheeps' gut condoms, they could stretch and did not tear quickly when used. The rubber vulcanization process was patented by Goodyear in 1844. The first rubber condom was produced in 1855. The earliest rubber condoms had a seam and were as thick as a bicycle inner tube. Besides this type, small rubber condoms covering only the glans
Glans
The glans is a vascular structure located at the tip of the penis in men or a homologous genital structure of the clitoris in women.-Structure:...

 were often used in England and the United States. There was more risk of losing them and if the rubber ring was too tight, it would constrict the penis. This type of condom was the original "capote" (French for condom), perhaps because of its resemblance to a woman's bonnet worn at that time, also called a capote
Bonnet (headgear)
Bonnets are a variety of headgear for both sexes, which have in common only the absence of a brim. Bonnet derives from the same word in French, where it originally indicated a type of material...

.

For many decades, rubber condoms were manufactured by wrapping strips of raw rubber around penis-shaped molds, then dipping the wrapped molds in a chemical solution to cure the rubber. In 1912, Polish inventor Julius Fromm
Julius Fromm
Julius Fromm was a Polish-Jewish entrepreneur, chemist, and inventor of a process for making condoms from liquified rubber.-Biography:...

 developed a new, improved manufacturing technique for condoms: dipping glass molds into a raw rubber solution. Called cement dipping, this method required adding gasoline or benzene to the rubber to make it liquid. Latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

, rubber suspended in water, was invented in 1920. Latex condoms required less labor to produce than cement-dipped rubber condoms, which had to be smoothed by rubbing and trimming. The use of water to suspend the rubber instead of gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 and benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

 eliminated the fire hazard previously associated with all condom factories. Latex condoms also performed better for the consumer: they were stronger and thinner than rubber condoms, and had a shelf life of five years (compared to three months for rubber).

Until the twenties, all condoms were individually hand-dipped by semiskilled workers. Throughout the decade of the 1920s, advances in the automation of the condom assembly line were made. The first fully automated line was patented in 1930. Major condom manufacturers bought or leased conveyor systems, and small manufacturers were driven out of business. The skin condom, now significantly more expensive than the latex variety, became restricted to a niche high-end market.

1930 to present

In 1930 the Anglican Church's Lambeth Conference sanctioned the use of birth control by married couples. In 1931 the Federal Council of Churches
National Council of Churches
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is an ecumenical partnership of 37 Christian faith groups in the United States. Its member denominations, churches, conventions, and archdioceses include Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, African American, Evangelical, and historic peace...

 in the U.S. issued a similar statement. The Roman Catholic Church responded by issuing the encyclical Casti Connubii
Casti Connubii
Castī Connūbiī was a papal encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius XI on December 31, 1930 in response to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church. It stressed the sanctity of marriage, prohibited Catholics from using any form of artificial birth control, and reaffirmed the prohibition on abortion...

affirming its opposition to all contraceptives, a stance it has never reversed.

In the 1930s, legal restrictions on condoms began to be relaxed. But during this period Fascist Italy
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 increased restrictions on condoms (limited sales as disease preventatives were still allowed). During the Depression, condom lines by Schmid gained in popularity. Schmid still used the cement-dipping method of manufacture which had two advantages over the latex variety. Firstly, cement-dipped condoms could be safely used with oil-based lubricants
Personal lubricant
Personal lubricants are specialized lubricants to reduce friction between body parts, or between body parts and other objects...

. Secondly, while less comfortable, these older-style rubber condoms could be reused and so were more economical, a valued feature in hard times. More attention was brought to quality issues in the 1930s, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 began to regulate the quality of condoms sold in the United States.

Throughout World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, condoms were not only distributed to male U.S. military members, but also heavily promoted with films, posters, and lectures. European and Asian militaries on both sides of the conflict also provided condoms to their troops throughout the war, even Germany which outlawed all civilian use of condoms in 1941. In part because condoms were readily available, soldiers found a number of non-sexual uses for the devices, many of which continue to this day.

After the war, condom sales continued to grow. From 1955–1965, 42% of Americans of reproductive age relied on condoms for birth control. In Britain from 1950–1960, 60% of married couples used condoms. The birth control pill became the world's most popular method of birth control in the years after its 1960 début, but condoms remained a strong second. The U.S. Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

 pushed condom use in developing countries to help solve the "world population crises": by 1970 hundreds of millions of condoms were being used each year in India alone. (This number has grown in recent decades: in 2004, the government of India purchased 1.9 billion condoms for distribution at family planning clinics.)

In the 20th century the invention of plastic and other man-made materials did not lead to an improvement in the quality of condoms. However the deterioration of the rubber became less rapid. Condoms became not only thinner but also more reliable. In 1995, plastic condoms went on the market in the USA.

In the 1960s and 1970s quality regulations tightened, and more legal barriers to condom use were removed. In Ireland, legal condom sales were allowed for the first time in 1978. Advertising, however was one area that continued to have legal restrictions. In the late 1950s, the American National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association, workers union, and lobby group representing the interests of for-profit, over-the-air radio and television broadcasters in the United States...

 banned condom advertisements from national television: this policy remained in place until 1979.

After learning in the early 1980s that AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 can be a sexually transmitted infection, the use of condoms was encouraged to prevent transmission of HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

. Despite opposition by some political, religious, and other figures, national condom promotion campaigns occurred in the U.S. and Europe. These campaigns increased condom use significantly.

Due to increased demand and greater social acceptance, condoms began to be sold in a wider variety of retail outlets, including in supermarkets and in discount department stores such as Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

. Condom sales increased every year until 1994, when media attention to the AIDS pandemic began to decline. The phenomenon of decreasing use of condoms as disease preventatives has been called prevention fatigue or condom fatigue
Condom fatigue
Condom fatigue is a term used by medical professionals and safer sex educators to refer to the phenomenon of decreased condom use. "Condom fatigue" can also be used to describe a general weariness of and decreased effectiveness of safer sex messages...

. Observers have cited condom fatigue in both Europe and North America. As one response, manufacturers have changed the tone of their advertisements from scary to humorous. New developments continue to occur in the condom market, with the first polyurethane condom—branded Avanti and produced by the manufacturer of Durex—introduced in the 1990s, and the first custom sized-to-fit condom, called TheyFit, introduced in 2003. Worldwide condom use is expected to continue to grow: one study predicted that developing nations would need 18.6 billion condoms by 2015. Condoms have become an integral part of modern societies.

Etymology and other terms

The term condom first appears in the early 18th century. Its etymology is unknown.
In popular tradition, the invention and naming of the condom came to be attributed to an associate of England's King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, one "Dr. Condom" or "Earl of Condom". There is however no evidence of the existence of such a person, and condoms had been used for over one hundred years before King Charles II ascended to the throne.

A variety of unproven Latin etymologies have been proposed, including condon (receptacle), condamina (house), and cumdum (scabbard or case). It has also been speculated to be from the Italian word guantone, derived from guanto, meaning glove. William E. Kruck wrote an article in 1981 concluding that, "As for the word 'condom', I need state only that its origin remains completely unknown, and there ends this search for an etymology." Modern dictionaries may also list the etymology as "unknown".
Other terms are also commonly used to describe condoms. In North America condoms are also commonly known as prophylactics, or rubbers. In Britain they may be called French letters. Additionally, condoms may be referred to using the manufacturer's name.

Varieties

Most condoms have a reservoir tip or teat end, making it easier to accommodate the man's ejaculate. Condoms come in different sizes, from oversized to snug and they also come in a variety of surfaces intended to stimulate the user's partner. Condoms are usually supplied with a lubricant
Personal lubricant
Personal lubricants are specialized lubricants to reduce friction between body parts, or between body parts and other objects...

 coating to facilitate penetration, while flavored condoms are principally used for oral sex. As mentioned above, most condoms are made of latex, but polyurethane and lambskin condoms are also widely available.

Natural latex

Latex has outstanding elastic properties: Its tensile strength
Tensile strength
Ultimate tensile strength , often shortened to tensile strength or ultimate strength, is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before necking, which is when the specimen's cross-section starts to significantly contract...

 exceeds 30 MPa, and latex condoms may be stretched in excess of 800% before breaking. In 1990 the ISO
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

 set standards for condom production (ISO 4074, Natural latex rubber condoms), and the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 followed suit with its CEN
European Committee for Standardization
The European Committee for Standardization or Comité Européen de Normalisation , is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to foster the European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens and the environment by providing an efficient infrastructure to interested parties for...

 standard (Directive 93/42/EEC concerning medical devices). Every latex condom is tested for holes with an electrical current. If the condom passes, it is rolled and packaged. In addition, a portion of each batch of condoms is subject to water leak and air burst testing.

While the advantages of latex have made it the most popular condom material, it does have some drawbacks. Latex condoms are damaged when used with oil-based substances as lubricants
Personal lubricant
Personal lubricants are specialized lubricants to reduce friction between body parts, or between body parts and other objects...

, such as petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly, petrolatum, white petrolatum or soft paraffin, CAS number 8009-03-8, is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons , originally promoted as a topical ointment for its healing properties...

, cooking oil
Cooking oil
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature ....

, baby oil, mineral oil
Mineral oil
A mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of alkanes in the C15 to C40 range from a non-vegetable source, particularly a distillate of petroleum....

, skin lotions, suntan lotions
Sunscreen
Sunblock is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn...

, cold cream
Cold cream
Cold cream is an emulsion of water and certain fats, usually including beeswax and various scent agents, designed to smooth skin and remove makeup. The name derives from the cooling feeling that the cream leaves on the skin...

s, butter
Butter
Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It is generally used as a spread and a condiment, as well as in cooking applications, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying...

 or margarine
Margarine
Margarine , as a generic term, can indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes, typically composed of vegetable oils. In many parts of the world, the market share of margarine and spreads has overtaken that of butter...

. Contact with oil makes latex condoms more likely to break or slip off due to loss of elasticity caused by the oils. Additionally, latex allergy
Latex allergy
Latex allergy is a medical term encompassing a range of allergic reactions to natural rubber latex.-Type I:The most serious and rare form, type I is an immediate and potentially life-threatening reaction, not unlike the severe reaction some people have to bee stings...

 precludes use of latex condoms and is one of the principal reasons for the use of other materials. In May 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 granted approval for the production of condoms composed of Vytex, latex that has been treated to remove 90% of the proteins responsible for allergic reactions. An allergen-free condom made of synthetic latex (polyisoprene) is also available.

Synthetic

The most common non-latex condoms are made from polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

. Condoms may also be made from other synthetic materials, such as AT-10 resin
AT-10 Resin
AT-10 is a synthetic resin, mainly used in the manufacture of ultra-thin condoms. It has a higher strength in thinner sheets than other materials such as natural latex.AT-10 is not stretchable, but does cling to skin to form a "wrap"...

, and most recently polyisoprene.

Polyurethane condoms tend to be the same width and thickness as latex condoms, with most polyurethane condoms between 0.04 mm and 0.07 mm thick.

Polyurethane can be considered better than latex in several ways: it conducts heat better than latex, is not as sensitive to temperature and ultraviolet light (and so has less rigid storage requirements and a longer shelf life), can be used with oil-based lubricants
Personal lubricant
Personal lubricants are specialized lubricants to reduce friction between body parts, or between body parts and other objects...

, is less allergenic than latex, and does not have an odor. Polyurethane condoms have gained FDA
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 approval for sale in the United States as an effective method of contraception and HIV prevention, and under laboratory conditions have been shown to be just as effective as latex for these purposes.

However, polyurethane condoms are less elastic than latex ones, and may be more likely to slip or break than latex, and are more expensive.

Polyisoprene is a synthetic version of natural rubber latex. While significantly more expensive, it has the advantages of latex (such as being softer and more elastic than polyurethane condoms) without the protein which is responsible for latex allergies.

Lambskin

Condoms made from sheep intestine
Intestine
In human anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine...

s, labeled "lambskin", are also available, although they have been clinically shown not to necessarily keep out STDs
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

 compared to latex because of pores in the material, which are thought to be large enough to allow infectious agents to pass through; sperm is still blocked. Lambskin provides more sensation and are less allergenic than latex, but because of their comparatively less-safe nature, other hypoallergenic materials such as polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

 are recommended for latex-allergic users and/or partners. Lambskin condoms are also significantly more expensive than other types, similar to polyurethane's comparative expense to latex.

Spermicidal

Some latex condoms are lubricated at the manufacturer with a small amount of a nonoxynol-9
Nonoxynol-9
Nonoxynol-9, sometimes abbreviated as N-9, is an organic compound that is used as a surfactant. It is a member of the nonoxynol family of nonionic surfactants. N-9 and related compounds are ingredients in various cleaning and cosmetic products. It is widely used in contraceptives for its...

, a spermicidal chemical
Spermicide
Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that eradicates sperm, inserted vaginally prior to intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As a contraceptive, spermicide may be used alone. However, the pregnancy rate experienced by couples using only spermicide is higher than that of couples using other methods...

. According to Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is an American magazine published monthly by Consumers Union since 1936. It publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from its in-house testing laboratory. It also publishes cleaning and general buying guides...

, condoms lubricated with spermicide have no additional benefit in preventing pregnancy, have a shorter shelf life, and may cause urinary-tract infections
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli...

 in women. In contrast, application of separately packaged spermicide is believed to increase the contraceptive efficacy of condoms.

Nonoxynol-9 was once believed to offer additional protection against STDs (including HIV) but recent studies have shown that, with frequent use, nonoxynol-9 may increase the risk of HIV transmission. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 says that spermicidally lubricated condoms should no longer be promoted. However, it recommends using a nonoxynol-9
Nonoxynol-9
Nonoxynol-9, sometimes abbreviated as N-9, is an organic compound that is used as a surfactant. It is a member of the nonoxynol family of nonionic surfactants. N-9 and related compounds are ingredients in various cleaning and cosmetic products. It is widely used in contraceptives for its...

 lubricated condom over no condom at all. As of 2005, nine condom manufacturers have stopped manufacturing condoms with nonoxynol-9 and Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Federation of America , commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The...

 has discontinued the distribution of condoms so lubricated.

Textured

Textured condoms include studded and ribbed condoms which can provide extra sensations to both partners. The studs or ribs can be located on the inside, outside, or both; alternatively, they are located in specific sections to provide directed stimulation to either the g-spot
G-spot
The Gräfenberg Spot, often called the G-Spot, is a bean-shaped area of the vagina. Many women report that it is an erogenous zone which, when stimulated, can lead to strong sexual arousal, powerful orgasms and female ejaculation...

 or frenulum
Frenulum of prepuce of penis
The word frenulum on its own is often used for the frenulum of prepuce of penis, which is an elastic band of tissue under the glans penis that connects to the prepuce, or foreskin to the vernal mucosa, and helps contract the prepuce over the glans. This is sometimes colloquially known as the "banjo...

. Many textured condoms which advertise "mutual pleasure" also are bulb-shaped at the top, to provide extra stimulation to the male. Some women experience irritation during vaginal intercourse with studded condoms.

Boosting condom

June 2011: An erection-enhancing condom recommended for European approval and will take around one month to receive CE mark certification after recommendation. In a double blind test the boosting condom gave a significant proportion that it was better than a standard condom which increased the penis size and longer lasting sexual experience for women. The boosting condom used gel in its tips that dilates the arteries and increased blood flow to penis make a firmer and bigger erection.

Adolescent and teenage condoms

In March 2010, the Swiss Government announced that it was planning to promote smaller condoms intended for boys of 12–14 years old following concern about the pregnancy rate among adolescent girls, and also about the potential spread of AIDS among this age group. This was due to the fact that standard condoms were too wide and consequently failed to afford protection to adolescent boys during vaginal and anal intercourse. Family planning groups and the Swiss Aids Federation had campaigned to have a narrower condom produced for adolescent use after a number of studies, including a government study researched at the Centre for Development and Personality Psychology at Basel University, found that standard condoms were unsuitable for boys in this age range, and that the condoms either failed during use or that the boys rejected them altogether because they were too wide, and consequently they used no protection at all

As a result of these studies, a condom aimed at 12 to 14 year old boys is now produced and is available in Switzerland and in certain other countries. Manufactured by Ceylor, the 'Hotshot' is a lubricated, teat-ended latex condom which is narrower than a standard condom and has a tight band at the opening to ensure that it remains on the boy's penis during intercourse. A standard condom has a diameter of 2 inches (5.2 cm) whereas the Hotshot has a diameter of 1.7 inches (4.5 cm). Both are the same length– 7.4 inches (19 cm).

In a German study of 12,970 13 to 19-year-olds,a quarter of the boys surveyed also said a standard condom was too large. Other manufacturers, such as Durex, also produce smaller than average condoms such as Durex Love which is aimed at this end of the teenage market.

Other

The anti-rape condom is another variation designed to be worn by women. It is designed to cause pain to the attacker, hopefully allowing the victim a chance to escape.

A collection condom is used to collect semen for fertility treatments or sperm analysis. These condoms are designed to maximize sperm life.

Some condom-like devices are intended for entertainment only, such novelty
Novelties
A novelty item is a small manufactured adornment, especially a personal adornment.- Novelty item :This term covers a range of small manufactured goods, such as*antiques*collectables*chocolates*esoterica*executive toys*gadgets*tools and implements...

 condoms may not provide protection against pregnancy and STDs.

Female condom

Male condoms have a tight ring to form a seal around the penis while female condoms typically have a large stiff ring to keep them from slipping into the body orifice
Body orifice
-External orifices:In a typical mammalian body such as the human body, the external body orifices are:* The nostrils, for breathing and the associated sense of smell.* The eyes, for the sense of sight and crying....

. The Female Health Company produced a female condom that was initially made of polyurethane, but newer versions are made of nitrile
Nitrile rubber
Nitrile rubber, also known as Buna-N, Perbunan, or NBR, is a synthetic rubber copolymer of acrylonitrile and butadiene. Trade names include Nipol, Krynac and Europrene....

. Medtech Products produces a female condom made of latex.

In preventing pregnancy

The effectiveness of condoms, as of most forms of contraception
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

, can be assessed two ways. Perfect use or method effectiveness rates only include people who use condoms properly and consistently. Actual use, or typical use effectiveness rates are of all condom users, including those who use condoms incorrectly or do not use condoms at every act of intercourse. Rates are generally presented for the first year of use. Most commonly the Pearl Index
Pearl Index
The Pearl Index, also called the Pearl rate, is the most common technique used in clinical trials for reporting the effectiveness of a birth control method.-Calculation and usage:...

 is used to calculate effectiveness rates, but some studies use decrement table
Decrement table
Decrement tables, also called life table methods, are used to calculate the probability of certain events.-Birth control:Life table methods are often used to study birth control effectiveness...

s.

The typical use pregnancy rate among condom users varies depending on the population being studied, ranging from 10–18% per year. The perfect use pregnancy rate of condoms is 2% per year. Condoms may be combined with other forms of contraception (such as spermicide
Spermicide
Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that eradicates sperm, inserted vaginally prior to intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As a contraceptive, spermicide may be used alone. However, the pregnancy rate experienced by couples using only spermicide is higher than that of couples using other methods...

) for greater protection.

In preventing STDs


Condoms are widely recommended for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They have been shown to be effective in reducing infection rates in both men and women. While not perfect, the condom is effective at reducing the transmission of organisms that cause AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, genital herpes
Herpes genitalis
Herpes genitalis refers to a genital infection by Herpes simplex virus.Following the classification HSV into two distinct categories of HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the 1960s, it was established that "HSV-2 was below the waist, HSV-1 was above the waist"...

, cervical cancer
Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is malignant neoplasm of the cervix uteri or cervical area. One of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding, but in some cases there may be no obvious symptoms until the cancer is in its advanced stages...

, genital wart
Genital wart
Genital warts is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by some sub-types of human papillomavirus . It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner...

s, syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, chlamydia, gonorrhea
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

, and other diseases. Condoms are often recommended as an adjunct to more effective birth control methods (such as IUD) in situations where STD protection is also desired.

According to a 2000 report by the National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...

 (NIH), correct and consistent use of latex condoms reduces the risk of HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

/AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 transmission by approximately 85% relative to risk when unprotected, putting the seroconversion rate (infection rate) at 0.9 per 100 person-years with condom, down from 6.7 per 100 person-years. Analysis published in 2007 from the University of Texas Medical Branch
University of Texas Medical Branch
The University of Texas Medical Branch is a component of the University of Texas System located in Galveston, Texas, United States, about 50 miles southeast of Downtown Houston...

  and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 found similar risk reductions of 80–95%.

The 2000 NIH review concluded that condom use significantly reduces the risk of gonorrhea
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

 for men. A 2006 study reports that proper condom use decreases the risk of transmission of human papillomavirus
Human papillomavirus
Human papillomavirus is a member of the papillomavirus family of viruses that is capable of infecting humans. Like all papillomaviruses, HPVs establish productive infections only in keratinocytes of the skin or mucous membranes...

 to women by approximately 70%. Another study in the same year found consistent condom use was effective at reducing transmission of herpes simplex virus-2
Herpes simplex virus
Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 , also known as Human herpes virus 1 and 2 , are two members of the herpes virus family, Herpesviridae, that infect humans. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are ubiquitous and contagious...

 also known as genital herpes
Herpes simplex
Herpes simplex is a viral disease caused by both Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 . Infection with the herpes virus is categorized into one of several distinct disorders based on the site of infection. Oral herpes, the visible symptoms of which are colloquially called cold sores or fever...

, in both men and women.

Although a condom is effective in limiting exposure, some disease transmission may occur even with a condom. Infectious areas of the genitals, especially when symptoms are present, may not be covered by a condom, and as a result, some diseases can be transmitted by direct contact. The primary effectiveness issue with using condoms to prevent STDs, however, is inconsistent use.

Condoms may also be useful in treating potentially precancerous cervical changes
Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is malignant neoplasm of the cervix uteri or cervical area. One of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding, but in some cases there may be no obvious symptoms until the cancer is in its advanced stages...

. Exposure to human papillomavirus, even in individuals already infected with the virus, appears to increase the risk of precancerous changes. The use of condoms helps promote regression of these changes. In addition, researchers in the UK suggest that a hormone in semen can aggravate existing cervical cancer, condom use during sex can prevent exposure to the hormone.

Causes of failure

Condoms may slip off the penis after ejaculation, break due to improper application or physical damage (such as tears caused when opening the package), or break or slip due to latex degradation (typically from usage past the expiration date, improper storage, or exposure to oils). The rate of breakage is between 0.4% and 2.3%, while the rate of slippage is between 0.6% and 1.3%. Even if no breakage or slippage is observed, 1–2% of women will test positive for semen residue after intercourse with a condom.
"Double bagging," using two condoms at once, also increases the risk of condom failure.

Different modes of condom failure result in different levels of semen exposure. If a failure occurs during application, the damaged condom may be disposed of and a new condom applied before intercourse begins – such failures generally pose no risk to the user. One study found that semen exposure from a broken condom was about half that of unprotected intercourse; semen exposure from a slipped condom was about one-fifth that of unprotected intercourse.

Standard condoms will fit almost any penis
Human penis size
Human penis size is the measured length and width of the human penis. The most accurate measurement of the human penis comes from several measurements at different times, as there is natural variability in size due to arousal level, time of day, room temperature, frequency of sexual activity, and...

, with varying degrees of comfort or risk of slippage. Many condom manufacturers offer "snug" or "magnum" sizes. Some manufacturers also offer custom sized-to-fit condoms, with claims that they are more reliable and offer improved sensation/comfort. Some studies have associated larger penises and smaller condoms with increased breakage and decreased slippage rates (and vice versa), but other studies have been inconclusive.

Condom thickness is not associated with condom breakage, thinner condoms are as effective as thicker ones. Nevertheless, it is recommended for condoms manufactures to avoid very thick, or very thin condoms, because they are both considered less effective. Some authors even encourage users to choose thinner condoms "for greater durability, sensation, and comfort", but others warn that "the thinner the condom, the smaller the force required to break it".

Experienced condom users are significantly less likely to have a condom slip or break compared to first-time users, although users who experience one slippage or breakage are more likely to suffer a second such failure. An article in Population Reports suggests that education on condom use reduces behaviors that increase the risk of breakage and slippage. A Family Health International
Family Health International
Family Health International is a public health and development organization dedicated to improving living standards of the world's most vulnerable people. Family Health International has 2,500 staff conducting research and implementing programs in fifty-five countries...

 publication also offers the view that education can reduce the risk of breakage and slippage, but emphasizes that more research needs to be done to determine all of the causes of breakage and slippage.

Among people who intend condoms to be their form of birth control, pregnancy may occur when the user has sex without a condom. The person may have run out of condoms, or be traveling and not have a condom with them, or simply dislike the feel of condoms and decide to "take a chance." This type of behavior is the primary cause of typical use failure (as opposed to method or perfect use failure).

Another possible cause of condom failure is sabotage
Birth control sabotage
Birth control sabotage, or reproductive coercion, refers to efforts to manipulate another person's use of birth control or to undermine efforts to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Examples include replacing birth control pills with fakes, puncturing condoms and diaphragms, or threats and violence to...

. One motive is to have a child against a partner's wishes or consent. Some commercial sex workers from Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 reported clients sabotaging condoms in retaliation for being coerced into condom use. Using a fine needle to make several pinholes at the tip of the condom is believed to significantly impact their effectiveness.

Prevalence

The prevalence of condom use varies greatly between countries. Most surveys of contraceptive use are among married women, or women in informal unions. Japan has the highest rate of condom usage in the world: in that country, condoms account for almost 80% of contraceptive use by married women. On average, in developed countries, condoms are the most popular method of birth control: 28% of married contraceptive users rely on condoms. In the average less-developed country, condoms are less common: only 6-8% of married contraceptive users choose condoms.

Condom use for disease prevention also varies. Among gay men in the United States, one survey found that 35% had used two condoms at the same time, a practice called "double bagging". While intended to provide extra protection, double bagging actually increases the risk of condom failure.

Use

Male condoms are usually packaged inside a foil wrapper, in a rolled-up form, and are designed to be applied to the tip of the penis and then unrolled over the erect
Erection
Penile erection is a physiological phenomenon where the penis becomes enlarged and firm. Penile erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is usually, though not exclusively, associated with sexual arousal...

 penis. It is important that some space be left in the tip of the condom so that semen has a place to collect; otherwise it may be forced out of the base of the device. After use, it is recommended the condom be wrapped in tissue or tied in a knot, then disposed of in a trash receptacle.

Some couples find that putting on a condom interrupts sex, although others incorporate condom application as part of their foreplay. Some men and women find the physical barrier of a condom dulls sensation. Advantages of dulled sensation can include prolonged erection and delayed ejaculation; disadvantages might include a loss of some sexual excitement. Advocates of condom use also cite their advantages of being inexpensive, easy to use, and having few side effects.

Role in sex education

Condoms are often used in sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 programs, because they have the capability to reduce the chances of pregnancy and the spread of some sexually transmitted diseases when used correctly. A recent American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

 (APA) press release supported the inclusion of information about condoms in sex education, saying "comprehensive sexuality education programs... discuss the appropriate use of condoms", and "promote condom use for those who are sexually active."

In the United States, teaching about condoms in public schools is opposed by some religious organizations. Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Federation of America , commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The...

, which advocates family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

 and sex education, argues that no studies have shown abstinence-only programs to result in delayed intercourse, and cites surveys showing that 76% of American parents want their children to receive comprehensive sexuality education including condom use.

Infertility treatment

Common procedures in infertility
Infertility
Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term...

 treatment such as semen analysis
Semen analysis
A semen analysis evaluates certain characteristics of a male's semen and the sperm contained in the semen. It may be done while investigating a couple's infertility or after a vasectomy to verify that the procedure was successful. It is also used for testing donors for sperm donation, in stud...

 and intrauterine insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

 (IUI) require collection of semen samples. These are most commonly obtained through masturbation
Masturbation
Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation of a person's own genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation can be performed manually, by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods. Masturbation is a common form of autoeroticism...

, but an alternative to masturbation is use of a special collection condom to collect semen during sexual intercourse.

Collection condoms are made from silicone or polyurethane, as latex is somewhat harmful to sperm. Many men prefer collection condoms to masturbation, and some religions prohibit masturbation entirely. Also, compared with samples obtained from masturbation, semen samples from collection condoms have higher total sperm counts, sperm motility, and percentage of sperm with normal morphology. For this reason, they are believed to give more accurate results when used for semen analysis, and to improve the chances of pregnancy when used in procedures such as intracervical or intrauterine insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

. Adherents of religions that prohibit contraception, such as Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

ism, may use collection condoms with holes pricked in them.

For fertiltiy treatments, a collection condom may be used to collect semen during sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 where the semen is provided by the woman's partner. Private sperm donors may also use a collection condom to obtain samples through masturbation or by sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 with a partner and will transfer the ejaculate from the collection condom to a specially designed container. The sperm is transported in such containers, in the case of a donor, to a recipient woman to be used for insemination, and in the case of a woman's partner, to a fertility clinic for processing and use. However, transportation may reduce the fecundity of the sperm. Collection condoms will not be used where semen is produced at a sperm bank or fertility clinic.

Condom therapy is sometimes prescribed to infertile couples when the female has high levels of antisperm antibodies. The theory is that preventing exposure to her partner's semen will lower her level of antisperm antibodies, and thus increase her chances of pregnancy when condom therapy is discontinued. However, condom therapy has not been shown to increase subsequent pregnancy rates.

Other uses

Condoms excel as multipurpose containers because they are waterproof, elastic, durable, and will not arouse suspicion if found. Ongoing military utilization begun during World War II includes:
  • Tying a non-lubricated condom over the muzzle of the rifle barrel in order to prevent barrel fouling by keeping out detritus
    Detritus
    Detritus is a biological term used to describe dead or waste organic material.Detritus may also refer to:* Detritus , a geological term used to describe the particles of rock produced by weathering...

    .
  • The OSS
    Office of Strategic Services
    The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

     used condoms for a plethora of applications, from storing corrosive fuel additives and wire garrote
    Garrote
    A garrote or garrote vil is a handheld weapon, most often referring to a ligature of chain, rope, scarf, wire or fishing line used to strangle someone....

    s (with the T-handles removed) to holding the acid component of a self-destructing film canister, to finding use in improvised explosives.
  • Navy SEALs have used doubled condoms, sealed with neoprene cement, to protect non-electric firing assemblies for underwater demolitions—leading to the term "Dual Waterproof Firing Assemblies."


Other uses of condoms include:
  • Covers for endovaginal ultrasound probes. Covering the probe with a condom reduces the amount of blood and vaginal fluids that the technician must clean off between patients.
  • Condoms can be used to hold water in emergency survival situations.
  • Condoms have also been used to smuggle cocaine
    Cocaine
    Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

    , heroin, and other drugs across borders and into prisons by filling the condom with drugs, tying it in a knot and then either swallowing it or inserting it into the rectum
    Rectum
    The rectum is the final straight portion of the large intestine in some mammals, and the gut in others, terminating in the anus. The human rectum is about 12 cm long...

    . These methods are very dangerous and potentially lethal; if the condom breaks, the drugs inside become absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause an overdose.
  • In Soviet
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     gulag
    Gulag
    The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

    s, condoms were used to smuggle alcohol into the camps by prisoners who worked outside during daylight. While outside, the prisoner would ingest an empty condom attached to a thin piece of rubber tubing, the end of which was wedged between his teeth. The smuggler would then use a syringe
    Syringe
    A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube , allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube...

     to fill the tubing and condom with up to three liter
    Litér
    - External links :*...

    s of raw alcohol, which the prisoner would then smuggle back into the camp. When back in the barracks, the other prisoners would suspend him upside down until all the spirit had been drained out. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

     records that the three liters of raw fluid would be diluted to make seven liters of crude vodka
    Vodka
    Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

    , and that although such prisoners risked an extremely painful and unpleasant death if the condom burst inside them, the rewards granted them by other prisoners encouraged them to run the risk.
  • In his book entitled Last Chance to See
    Last Chance to See
    Last Chance to See is a 1989 BBC radio documentary series and its accompanying book, written and presented by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. In the series, Adams and Carwardine travel to various locations in the hope of encountering species on the brink of extinction...

    , Douglas Adams
    Douglas Adams
    Douglas Noel Adams was an English writer and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a "trilogy" of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television...

     reported having used a condom to protect a microphone he used to make an underwater recording. According to one of his traveling companions, this is standard BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     practice when a waterproof microphone is needed but cannot be procured.
  • Condoms are used by engineers to keep soil samples dry during soil tests.
  • Condoms are used in the field by engineers to initially protect sensors embedded in the steel or aluminum nose-cones of Cone Penetration Test
    Cone penetration test
    The cone penetration test is an gouda cpt testing method used to determine the geotechnical engineering properties of soils and delineating soil stratigraphy. It was initially developed in the 1950s at the Dutch Laboratory for Soil Mechanics in Delft to investigate soft soils. Based on this...

     (CPT) probes when entering the surface to conduct soil resistance tests to determine the bearing strength of soil.
  • Condoms are used as a one-way valve by paramedics when performing a chest decompression in the field. The decompression needle is inserted through the condom, and inserted into the chest. The condom folds over the hub allowing air to exit the chest, but preventing it from entering.

Debate and criticism

There do exist some criticisms of condoms both on the moral
Moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 level and on the scientific level despite the many proven benefits of condoms by scientific consensus
Scientific consensus
Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the...

 and sexual health experts, particularly over the last century when direct and concentrated research on condoms has increased.

Criticism within sexual situations

Condom criticism is not limited to external parties; sometimes the very people who use them have problems with them as well. An entirely subjective but still potentially notable criticism sometimes levelled at the male condom by partners, especially heterosexual partners, who are actually engaging in sexual activity while using them, has in recent history consisted of an aggregate of the following general ideas, or some combination thereof:
  • "Condoms are too heavy", i.e., their material significantly decreases sensation both in the penis
    Penis
    The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

     and in the ability of the vagina
    Vagina
    The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

    's walls to properly feel the penis, because of the material barrier. In general, this complaint has been responded to by condom manufacturers via the production of "thin" and even "ultra-thin" condom types; however, even the "thin" types are sometimes claimed by men or women (or both) to not "feel as good" as sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

     without a condom.

  • Some men genuinely cannot properly maintain an erection
    Erection
    Penile erection is a physiological phenomenon where the penis becomes enlarged and firm. Penile erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is usually, though not exclusively, associated with sexual arousal...

     while a condom is on, even if they always are able to do so during sexual play without a condom. There are those who claim that men who experience this problem simply need to "train themselves" to maintain erections while attempting intercourse with a condom (such as by masturbating while wearing a condom, and other strategies), but some of these men counter that they are physically unable to do so regardless of how much they try.

  • Some men can properly maintain an erection but cannot ejaculate with a condom on. This has the potential of defeating the purpose of using the condom in the first place, considering its main purpose during sexual intercourse is to prevent passage of semen
    Semen
    Semen is an organic fluid, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals and can fertilize female ova...

     into the vagina, and taking the condom off just before ejaculating essentially invalidates that purpose. A potential 'opposite' strategy, i.e. stimulating the penis to near-orgasm without a condom and then hurriedly applying the condom at the last possible moment before ejaculation, is typically either logistically impossible or prone to some other type of failure.

  • Sociologically
    Sociology
    Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

    , the desire not to use condoms is sometimes culturally seen among post-feminist condom-accepting cultures as occurring almost exclusively in men rather than women; as involving 'male' perspectives; and as being essentially a personal aversion to condom use among males, while their female partners always or almost-always want to use condoms, at least by comparison. However, this view fails to take into account the reality that some women, on their own and from their own views, do not want to use condoms. Common justifications among such women include the idea that sexual intercourse without a condom is more intimate
    Sexual intimacy
    The term "sex" is often loosely used to mean one of a number of possible degrees of sexual intimacy between humans.-Stages of Intimacy:Zoologist Desmond Morris has established a Normative progression of general stages in pair-formation leading to sexual intimacy:# Eye to body# Eye to eye# Voice to...

    ; that sex without a condom is "uninterrupted" whereas sex with a condom takes "work" and ruins the mood
    Sexual arousal
    Sexual arousal, or sexual excitement, is the arousal of sexual desire, during or in anticipation of sexual activity. Things that precipitate human sexual arousal are called erotic stimuli, or colloquially known as turn-ons. There are many potential stimuli, both physical or mental, which can cause...

    ; and perhaps more importantly, that sex with a condom either feels significantly less pleasurable or even actively irritates their vaginal walls and leaves the vagina sore and/or irritated whereas condomless sex does not.

Religious

The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 opposes all sexual acts outside of marriage, as well as any sexual act in which the chance of successful conception has been reduced by direct and intentional acts (for example, surgery to prevent conception) or foreign objects (for example, condoms).

The use of condoms to prevent STD transmission is not specifically addressed by Catholic doctrine, and is currently a topic of debate among theologians and high-ranking Catholic authorities. A few, such as Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, believe the Catholic Church should actively support condoms used to prevent disease, especially serious diseases such as AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

. However, the majority view—including all statements from the Vatican—is that condom-promotion programs encourage promiscuity, thereby actually increasing STD transmission. This view was most recently reiterated in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest organized body of any world religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. The church has hundreds of programs dedicated to fighting the AIDS epidemic in Africa
HIV/AIDS in Africa
HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern and cause of death in Africa. Although Africa is home to about 14.5% of the world's population, it is estimated to be home to 67% of all people living with HIV and to 72% of all AIDS deaths in 2009.-Overview:...

, but its opposition to condom use in these programs has been highly controversial.

In a recent interview, the pope discussed for the first time the use of condoms to prevent STD transmission. He said that the use of a condom can be justified in a few individual cases if the purpose is to reduce the risk of an HIV infection. He gave as an example male prostitutes. There was some confusion at first whether the statement applied only to homosexual prostitutes and thus not to heterosexual intercourse at all. However, Federico Lombardi
Federico Lombardi
Federico Lombardi, SJ is an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the current director of the Holy See Press Office.-Early life and ordination:...

, spokesman of the vatican, clarified that it applied to heterosexual and transsexual prostitutes, whether male or female, as well. He did, however, also clarify that the vatican's principles on sexuality and preservatives had not been changed.

Scientific and environmental

More generally, some scientific researchers have expressed objective concern over certain ingredients sometimes added to condoms, notably talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

 and nitrosamine
Nitrosamine
Nitrosamines are chemical compounds of the chemical structure R1N-N=O, some of which are carcinogenic.-Usages:Nitrosamines are used in manufacture of some cosmetics, pesticides, and in most rubber products. -Occurrences:...

s. Dry dusting powders are applied to latex condoms before packaging to prevent the condom from sticking to itself when rolled up. Previously, talc was used by most manufacturers, but cornstarch
Cornstarch
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

 is currently the most popular dusting powder. Talc is known to be toxic if it enters the abdominal cavity (i.e. via the vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

). Cornstarch is generally believed to be safe, however some researchers have raised concerns over its use as well.
Nitrosamines, which are potentially carcinogenic in humans, are believed to be present in a substance used to improve elasticity in latex condoms. A 2001 review stated that humans regularly receive 1,000 to 10,000 times greater nitrosamine exposure from food and tobacco than from condom use and concluded that the risk of cancer from condom use is very low. However, a 2004 study in Germany detected nitrosamines in 29 out of 32 condom brands tested, and concluded that exposure from condoms might exceed the exposure from food by 1.5- to 3-fold.

In addition, the large-scale use of disposable condoms has resulted in concerns over their environmental impact via littering and in landfills, where they can eventually wind up in wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 environments if not incinerated or otherwise permanently disposed of first. Polyurethane condoms in particular, given they are a form of plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

, are not biodegradable, and latex condoms take a very long time to break down. Experts, such as AVERT
AVERT
AVERT is an international AIDS charity based in Horsham, South East England, United Kingdom.-Early work:...

, recommend condoms be disposed of in a garbage receptacle, as flushing them down the toilet (which some people do) may cause plumbing blockages and other problems. The plastic and foil wrappers condoms are packaged in are also not biodegradable. However, the benefits condoms offer are widely considered to offset their small landfill mass. Frequent condom or wrapper disposal in public areas such as a parks have been seen as a persistent litter problem.

While biodegradable, latex condoms damage the environment when disposed of improperly. According to the Ocean Conservancy, condoms, along with certain other types of trash, cover the coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s and smother sea grass and other bottom dwellers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 also has expressed concerns that many animals might mistake the litter for food.

Health problems

Condoms may increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine....

 and miscarriage
Miscarriage
Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the spontaneous end of a pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or fetus is incapable of surviving independently, generally defined in humans at prior to 20 weeks of gestation...

 by interfering with the process of paternal tolerance.

The use of latex condoms by people with an allergy to latex can cause allergic symptoms such as skin irritation. In people with severe latex allergies, using a latex condom can potentially be life-threatening. Repeated use of latex condoms can also cause some people to develop an allergy to latex.

Cultural barriers to condom use

In much of the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, the introduction of the pill in the 1960s was associated with a decline in condom use. In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, oral contraceptives were not approved for use until September 1999, and even then access was more restricted than in other industrialized nations. Perhaps because of this restricted access to hormonal contraception, Japan has the highest rate of condom usage in the world: in 2008, 80% of contraceptive users relied on condoms.

Cultural attitudes toward gender roles, contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

, and sexual activity vary greatly around the world, and range from extremely conservative to extremely liberal. But in places where condoms are misunderstood, mischracterised, demonised, or looked upon with overall cultural disapproval, the prevalence of condom use is directly affected. In less-developed countries and among less-educated populations, misperceptions about how disease transmission and conception work negatively affect the use of condoms; additionally, in cultures with more traditional gender roles, women may feel uncomfortable demanding that their partners use condoms.

As an example, latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 immigrants in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 often face cultural barriers to condom use. A study on female HIV prevention published in the Journal of Sex Health Research asserts that Latino women often lack the attitudes needed to negotiate safe sex due to traditional gender-role norms in the Latino community, and may be afraid to bring up the subject of condom use with their partners. Women who participated in the study often reported that because of the general machismo
Machismo
Machismo, or machoism, is a word of Spanish and Portuguese origin that describes prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme male chauvinism...

 subtly encouraged in latino culture, their male partners would be angry or possibly violent
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

 at the woman's suggestion that they use condoms. A similar phenomenon has been noted in a survey of low-income American black women; the women in this study also reported a fear of violence at the suggestion to their male partners that condoms be used.

Perhaps even more troubling is the apparent fact of a telephone survey conducted by Rand Corporation and Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a coeducational, public research university located in Corvallis, Oregon, United States. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees and a multitude of research opportunities. There are more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the...

 and published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes is a peer-reviewed medical journal covering all aspects of research in HIV/AIDS, including basic science, clinical science, and epidemiology. It is currently published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins....

that showed that belief in AIDS conspiracy theories
AIDS conspiracy theories
Various conspiracy theories and other such hypotheses have arisen to speculate about the origins of HIV and AIDS. These alternative ideas range from suggestions that AIDS was the inadvertent result of experiments in the development of vaccines, to claims that human immunodeficiency virus was...

 among United States black men is linked to rates of condom use. As conspiracy beliefs about AIDS grow in a given sector of these black men, consistent condom use drops in that same sector. Female use of condoms, interestingly, was not similarly affected.

In the African continent, condom promotion in some areas has been impeded by anti-condom campaigns by some Muslim and Catholic clerics. Among the Maasai in Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, condom use is hampered by an aversion to "wasting" sperm, which is given sociocultural importance beyond reproduction. Sperm is believed to be an "elixir" to women and to have beneficial health effects. Maasai women believe that, after conceiving a child, they must have sexual intercourse repeatedly so that the additional sperm aids the child's development. Frequent condom use is also considered by some Maasai to cause impotence. Some women in Africa believe that condoms are "for prostitutes" and that respectable women should not use them. A few clerics even promote the idea that condoms are deliberately laced with HIV.

Major manufacturers

One analyst described the size of the condom market as something that "boggles the mind". Numerous small manufacturers, nonprofit groups, and government-run manufacturing plants exist around the world. Within the condom market, there are several major contributors, among them both for-profit businesses and philanthropic organizations. Most large manufacturers have ties to the business that reach back to the end of the 19th century.
  • Julius Schmid, Inc. was founded in 1882 and began the Sheik and Ramses brands of condoms. The London Rubber Company began manufacturing latex condoms in 1932, under the Durex
    Durex
    Durex is the trademarked name for a range of condoms that used to be made by British company SSL International. This company was sold to Reckitt Benckiser in July 2010....

     brand. Both companies are now part of Seton Scholl Limited
    SSL International
    SSL International plc was a British manufacturer of healthcare products. Its best known brands were Durex and Scholl; other significant brands were Sauber and Mister Baby. The company's name was an abbreviation of Seton Scholl London International, its predecessor businesses. Since November 2010,...

    .
  • Youngs Rubber Company, founded by Merle Youngs in late 19th century America, introduced the Trojan
    Trojan (condoms)
    Trojan is a brand name of condoms manufactured by the Church & Dwight Company. 70.5 percent of condoms purchased in United States drugstores are Trojan brand. Trojan began selling condoms in 1927 through an ad placed in a trade magazine for pharmacists....

     line of condoms now owned by Church and Dwight
    Church and Dwight
    Church & Dwight Co., Inc. is a minor U.S. manufacturer of household products that is based in Princeton, New Jersey. While it manufactures many items, it is by far best known for its Arm & Hammer line which includes baking soda and many other items made with it. The company was founded in 1896 to...

    .
  • Dunlop Rubber
    Dunlop Rubber
    Dunlop Rubber was a company based in the United Kingdom which manufactured tyres and other rubber products for most of the 20th century. It was acquired by BTR plc in 1985. Since then, ownership of the Dunlop trade-names has been fragmented.-Early history:...

     began manufacturing condoms in Australia in the 1890s. In 1905, Dunlop sold its condom-making equipment to one of its employees, Eric Ansell, who founded Ansell Rubber
    Ansell Limited
    Ansell Limited is an international manufacturer of protective and medical gloves and condoms. Ansell was founded in Australia in 1929 by by Eric Norman Ansell who was at the time a worker for Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company of Australasia. Originally Ansell was known as E. N. Ansell & Sons but...

    . In 1969, Ansell was sold back to Dunlop. In 1987, English business magnate Richard Branson
    Richard Branson
    Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

     contracted with Ansell to help in a campaign against HIV and AIDS. Ansell agreed to manufacture the Mates brand of condom, to be sold at little or no profit in order to encourage condom use. Branson soon sold the Mates brand to Ansell, with royalty payments made annually to the charity Virgin Unite
    Virgin Unite
    Virgin Unite is the working name of The Virgin Foundation, the independent charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Created by Richard Branson and Virgin employees in September 2004, Virgin Unite pools volunteering efforts from across the Virgin Group and its hundreds of subsidiaries and associated...

    . In addition to its Mates brand, Ansell currently manufactures Lifestyles for the U.S. market.
  • In 1934 the Kokusia Rubber Company was founded in Japan. It is now known as the Okamoto Rubber Manufacturing Company.
  • In 1970 Tim Black and Philip Harvey
    Phil Harvey
    Phil Harvey is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and libertarian who over the past 30 years has set up large-scale programs that deliver subsidized contraceptives in poor countries. Harvey is the president of DKT International, the Washington, D.C.-based charity that implements family...

     founded Population Planning Associates (now known as Adam & Eve
    Adam & Eve (business)
    Adam & Eve is a marketer of adult products that sells sex toys and produces pornographic films, as well as funding non-profit social marketing organizations that address issues such as population growth, disease control and sex education in developing countries. In 2006 it was described by Reuters...

    ). Population Planning Associates was a mail-order business that marketed condoms to American college students. Black and Harvey used the profits from their company to start a non-profit organization Population Services International
    Population Services International
    Population Services International is a global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health...

    , and Harvey later also founded another nonprofit company, DKT International
    DKT International
    DKT International is a charitable non-profit organization that promotes family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention through social marketing. The Washington, D.C.-based DKT was founded in 1989 by Phil Harvey and operates in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Much of its revenue comes from its sales of...

    , that annually sells millions of condoms at discounted rates in developing countries around the world.

Research

A spray-on condom
Spray-on condom
A prototype spray-on condom was invented by Jan Vinzenz Krause of the Institute for Condom Consultancy in 2006. The idea was inspired by the mechanics of a drive-through car wash—the penis was inserted into a chamber where nozzles apply a coat of fast drying liquid latex. The process took close to...

 made of latex is intended to be easier to apply and more successful in preventing the transmission of diseases. As of 2009, the spray-on condom was not going to market because the drying time could not be reduced below two to three minutes.

The Invisible Condom, developed at Université Laval
Université Laval
Laval University is the oldest centre of education in Canada and was the first institution in North America to offer higher education in French...

 in Québec, Canada, is a gel that hardens upon increased temperature after insertion into the vagina or rectum. In the lab, it has been shown to effectively block HIV and herpes simplex virus. The barrier breaks down and liquefies after several hours. As of 2005, the invisible condom is in the clinical trial phase, and has not yet been approved for use.

Also developed in 2005 is a condom treated with an erectogenic compound. The drug-treated condom is intended to help the wearer maintain his erection, which should also help reduce slippage. If approved, the condom would be marketed under the Durex brand. As of 2007, it was still in clinical trials. In 2009, Ansell Healthcare, the makers of Lifestyle condoms, introduced the X2 condom lubricated with "Excite Gel" which contains the amino acid l-arginine and is intended to improve the strength of the erectile response.

External links

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