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Novelty Condoms

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Updated February 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Price:

Varies. Novelty condoms may be cheaper than regular condoms, but they also may be substantially more expensive. The price depends on what the novelty condoms are made of and how they are being marketed.

Where to Find Them:

Novelty condoms are easily found online and occasionally in gift shops or joke shops. Some sex shops may also carry novelty condoms, if it is a store that carries humorous products, but they may not be shelved with the condoms that can actually be used for safe sex.

Use During Vaginal Intercourse:

Novelty condoms should not be used for contraception or to prevent STDs.

Use During Anal Sex:

Novelty condoms should not be used for anal sex. Instead, people should use a regular latex, polyisoprene or polyurethane condom to make anal sex safer.

Use During Oral Sex:

Novelty condoms should not be used as protection during oral sex.

The Verdict:

Novelty condoms usually carry a warning stating that they should not be used to prevent pregnancies or to protect against STDs. Such warnings may reflect the fact the way in which the condoms are made, or they may simply be a sign that the manufacturer has not taken the time to put the condoms through the regulatory processes required to label condoms as effective for contraception and STD reduction. Since there is no way to tell which of these categories any given novelty condom falls into, novelty condoms should not be used for safe sex.

In general, when buying any non-standard condom product, it's a good idea to check the box to make certain the condoms are actually approved for use during sex. Novelty condoms are not always clearly marked, and I would strongly advise against storing any of these products with your safe sex supplies in order to avoid accidental using a condom you should not be relying on.

It's possible that novelty condom products and products designed to look like condoms may serve a role in making safe sex more acceptable - by encouraging people to talk about condoms - but it is important to remember that safe sex isn't a joke. It's an important part of sexual health, and you should never present a novelty condom to someone as the real thing.

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