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Condoms: How to use them and how effective are they?

Freya Eriksson headshot

Written by Freya Eriksson

Freya Eriksson

With more than three years of experience in the field, Freya Eriksson specializes in writing about the latest research into fertility and reproductive health. She is passionate about shining a light on under-researched topics such as contraception and planning pregnancy. Freya holds a Master's degree in Linguistics and lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Fact checked by Dr. Carlotta Favaro PhD, Scientist at Natural Cycles

Dr. Carlotta Favaro PhD

Dr. Carlotta Favaro is a particle physicist by education, with a PhD from the University of Zurich earned at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). She currently works as a Data Scientist for Natural Cycles in the field of women’s reproductive health. She has several years of experience in fundamental scientific research, and currently lives in Switzerland.

Key takeaways

  • The two main types of condoms:  external and internal condom 
  • Both types of condom are a barrier method that work by stopping sperm from entering the vagina
  • External condoms are the most popular type of condom, and these are 87% effective with typical use and 98% effective with perfect use

One of the most commonly used and widely available options, condoms are the contraceptive method of choice for many. But how effective are condoms? What’s the failure rate of condoms? And why do they fail in the first place? In this post, we’re going to look at condom effectiveness and some of the advantages and disadvantages of using condoms. We'll also touch on some other methods that are available.

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