Become a condom expert

Ever wondered why a condom is made as it is to make sure it actually works? In this article, we break down how condoms actually work (98% of the time).



A thin rubber sheath worn on a penis or toy during sexual intercourse as a contraceptive or as a protection against infection.


The basics

In one sentence, condoms work as a barrier method of protection by preventing the sperm reaching the egg and to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases/infections. Condoms can be worn during vaginal, anal and oral sex, and in order to work effectively, they must be put on properly.

Why are condoms made of latex?

The vast majority of condoms are made out of latex rubber, which developed after a long history of strange and rather curious materials being used. A small percentage of people have a latex allergy, so make sure to test this before using. However, latex rubber condoms are most popular. As the name suggests, this type of condom is made out of natural rubber harvested from the rubber tree. Some companies, such as Roam, use Fair Rubber Latex and RRI, meaning that the rubber used is sustainably sourced and protects those who farm it.

Latex is very flexible, which makes it perfect for a stretchy product such as condoms, and can also be made ultra-thin, as it is in our own condoms. Latex condoms can actually be stretched up to 800% their usual size before breaking!

How are condoms tested?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set standard principles for the production of latex condoms in 1990 and the European Union created its own CEN standard  in 1993. These standards of production mean that every condom must be tested with an electric current for holes (at Roam, they’re tested three times!) A random sample of each condom batch is also subject to a water leak and air burst test.

These tests ensure and prove that latex condoms are safe and very resilient for all kinds of sex. However, it’s important to note that they can be damaged by oil-based lubricants, including baby oil, petroleum jelly, and cooking oils. We’d recommend using a water-based lube with your latex condoms.

Why do our condoms have a reservoir tip?

You may have sometimes wondered why many condoms, including Roam’s, have a small tip at their end. This tip, called a ‘reservoir tip’, is there to as an addition to help collect semen when ejaculation occurs. When the condom is inside out (i.e. put on wrong!), this tip might not work as well and could make the condom liable to break! 

Do condoms have an expiration date?

Yes! This is very important. All condoms have expiration dates stamped on to their packaging (at Roam, it’s on the bottom of our boxes!) Make sure never to use a condom once it’s expired, as it will make it more likely to snap or break. It’s also super important to store condoms in a cool, dry place, rather than on top of your radiator or in your boiler cupboard. It’s also not recommended to keep them in your wallet, purse or pocket (as much as you may want to!), as they can become bent or creased. 

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