When it comes to birth control, condoms may be a drag (because you're not really in direct contact with your partner), but when used properly, they are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs and they don't require the woman to be on hormones like the Pill, the Patch, the Nuvaring, the Shot, or the Implant. In addition to protecting you, condoms can help if the guy reaches orgasm too quickly by decreasing sensations.
With so many kinds of condoms out there, it's tough to know how to pick the right one. It's important to think about what the condom is made of, if it comes with lubricant, and what size to buy, etc. To figure out how to choose
Material - Latex condoms are awesome because they protect against STIs and prevent pregnancy. Most condoms are made out of latex, but remember to only use water-based lubes with these. Unfortunately, some women have a sensitivity to latex that causes an unbearable burning irritation. If that's the case, try these...
Polyurethane condoms also protect against STIs and prevent pregnancy, and are great for those with a sensitivity to latex. Durex Avanti and Trojan Supra are made out of polyurethane. These transmit heat well, and are ultra-thin and strong so they may feel more comfortable than latex condoms. Both water-based and oil-based lubricants can be used with these condoms.
Lambskin condoms are made out of lamb intestines and while the pores of this material are not large enough to allow sperm through, much smaller bacteria and viruses may easily slip in and out between the condom so be aware that lambskin condoms DO prevent pregnancy, but DON'T protect against STIs including HIV. I've also heard that these break easily so be careful.
Lubricant - Lube can really help make sex more enjoyable, but some lubes on condoms contain the spermicide Nonoxynol-9. This can also cause irritation, so before declaring that you are allergic to latex, try using a condom that is free of spermicide first. If the spermicide bothers you, buy a condom without it and use your own separate personal lube instead.
Size - Most condoms are a one size fits all kind of thing however, if you sleeping with a well-endowed man, you'll need to buy bigger sized condoms. You don't want your man's condom to be too snug a fit as it's both uncomfortable and poses a greater risk for breakage, so pick up a box of Trojan Magnums if regular condoms don't fit - they're a great choice.
For Added Pleasure - Some condoms are colored, have ribs or pleasure spots, some are flavored, and some even tingle Just be sure to read the labels on these to make sure they say that they're effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.
Style - You can also try out a female condom. This is another option that the woman inserts inside her vagina instead of the traditional condoms that fit on the man's penis. It's made out of polyurethane, contains no spermicide, and is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy. They tend to make noise though, which can kill the mood, and some women find them harder to insert than male condoms. They're also a little bit more expensive, but they may protect you better from STIs since they cover up more of your mucous membrane.
Whatever your choice, make sure the condom is on right or else they won't keep you protected.