Condoms: What Do They Actually Do?

We’ve all used condoms and we know how they work, right? Wrong. Condoms are so commonly used and spoken about that it’s easy to assume that everyone is somehow an expert, but even those of us who use condoms may not be fully aware of their function and how exactly they work. Let’s go back to basics.



A thin rubber sheath worn on a man's penis during sex as a contraceptive, as protection against infection or both.


What is a condom?

A condom is a latex barrier that is put onto the penis during sexual activity. It’s as easy as that. Often called johnnies or rubbers, condoms have been made of various materials before becoming the latex method of protection popularised today.

How do you put it on?

First, make sure you've got the right size condom, as this is very important both for comfort and safety. At the risk of sounding too instructional: to put on a condom, first make sure it’s the right way round. Then, pinch the top of the condom, slide it on to the tip of the penis or sex-toy, and roll it all the way down. Voila!

When do you use a condom?

A condom can be used during vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex performed on a person with a penis. Basically, any time the penis comes into contact with another sexual partner. They’re typically not used for hand jobs, but it’s definitely possible for those who’d prefer even more protection against bacteria transmission and general hygiene breaches.

What does it actually do?

A condom is classed as a ‘barrier’ method of contraception because it prevents pregnancy by physically blocking the sperm from entering the vagina during vaginal sex. Instead, the sperm ends up in the condom, and then in the bin along with it.

But condoms also have the function of protecting against sexually transmitted illnesses or diseases (STIs or STDs). They block contact between the penis and the other sexual partner’s skin, orifices, and genital secretions. Condoms aren’t a substitute for good hygiene, though, and you should make sure to clean your hands and your genitals before and after sexual activity.

Condoms and sex toys

As a general rule, you should treat your sex toys like your dishes and wash them after each use (we see you reusing that cereal bowl), but condoms can help, too. They minimise the spread of germs and make it easier to use sex-toys with multiple different partners, as well as just maintaining them.

The bigger picture

All in all, condoms are pretty simple and easy to get used to once you’ve practiced a couple of times. They shouldn’t feel overwhelming or intimidating; safe sex is your friend! Condoms ensure safer, cleaner, and therefore more carefree sex.

With love and lube,

Roam x

Not sure?
We’ll help you explore

I want to play

focused on the

Get intimacy tips and offers
SIGN UPBy signing up, you agree to e-mail marketing. You can opt-out at any time. Read more in our Privacy Policy

Your bag

0 items
We use cookies

Our cookies ensure you get the best experience on our website. Read our policy.