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Condoms: Male vs. Female

Condoms are an amazing invention, aren't they? Not only are they effective at helping you not get pregnant, but also they help prevent you from contracting an STI. Male condoms have been around much longer than female condoms so I think they definitely get used more, but isn't it great that there's another option available that allows women can be in control, too? A woman can now use the female condom to protect herself from disease and motherhood, and no longer has to rely on the guy to use a condom.

Want to see how these two compare? Then read more

Male Female
What they're made of Latex, polyurethane, or lamb intestines Polyurethane (great for people who have a latex sensitivity)
Price Latex condoms cost $5 for a 12-pack
Polyurethane condoms cost about $7 for a 6-pack
Natural Lamb condoms costs about $8 for a 12-pack
$10 for a 5-pack
Efficacy against preventing pregnancy 85 percent effective 75 percent effective
Do they prevent STIs? Condoms made out of latex and polyurethane do, but natural lamb condoms don't. Yes
Lubricants You can use only water-based lubes on latex male condoms, but you can use both water- and oil-based lubes on ones made out of polyurethane or lamb intestine. You can use both oil- and water-based lubricants
Availability Easy to find at pharmacies, grocery stores, and some bathrooms and doctor's offices for free. Available for free under Obamacare. They're not usually found at stores. You may need to get them from your doctor or order them online. Available for free under Obamacare.
When can it be used? It must be placed on the penis immediately before intercourse, when the man has an erection. It can be inserted up to 8 hours before intercourse.
Use They can break or slip off, but using the right size condom should help solve this problem. It may make noise while you're having sex, but using extra lubricant can help.
Comfort and ease It's easy to put on and it fits snugly around the penis when erect, so it stays put while you're having sex. Some people complain that it's difficult to insert the inner rim, and that the outer rim doesn't stay put while you're having sex. Some also say that it moves around while they have sex, so it's really noticeable and distracting.
Removal After sex, hold the outer rim as the man pulls his penis out of the woman. Then the condom can be easily slid off and thrown away. After sex, gently tug on the outer rim and pull the condom out of the woman.

I know people who absolutely love the female condom, and I know people who absolutely despise it, but the same goes for male condoms. That's why it's great that there are so many birth control options out there to fit people's needs and preferences.

— Additional reporting by Alexis Nordby

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