11 External Condom Types and Styles to Explore

Picking out condoms—external or internal—can be a fun experience. But with so many types of condoms on the market, how do you choose between them?

When looking for a condom, think about the purpose. For example, do you plan to use the condom as contraception, for safer sex, or for sex play?

If you plan to use a condom to prevent pregnancy or STIs, make sure to read the condom label to see if the FDA approves it for those purposes.

Also, check the expiration date (yes, they expire). The FDA requires that condoms be labeled with an expiration date.

It is also important to be aware of the materials in the condom to avoid allergic reactions. This is generally listed on the package. If used for sexual relations, make sure your partner is also not allergic to any of the materials.

This article discusses the different types of external condoms available, how they work, and things to think about with each.


Glow-In-The-Dark Condoms

Most brands of glow-in-the-dark external condoms are FDA-approved to help prevent pregnancy and STIs. To make them glow, expose the external condom to light for at least 30 seconds before putting it on.

These external condoms are usually non-toxic and made in three layers. The inner and outer layers consist of regular latex. This ingredient is found in rubber products, and some people are allergic to it. The third layer, sealed between the first two layers, contains a safe dye that glows.

This type of external condom can be a fun surprise.


Flavored Condoms

Many flavored external condom brands advertise great flavors and alluring smells. The flavor is either added to the lubricant or coated on the condom.

You'll find flavors such as mint, grape, orange, banana, strawberry, bubblegum, chocolate, vanilla, bacon, and cola. Sometimes they are colored to match the flavor, such as yellow for banana and red for strawberry. 

Flavored external condoms are generally used for oral sex. In addition, many of the brands are also FDA-approved for strength and protection.


Studded or Textured External Condoms

You may have heard the advertising expression "ribbed for her pleasure." These external condoms are shaped and textured to increase pleasure for one or both partners, depending on where the raised studs and ribs are located on the condom.

These types of external condoms have:

  • Ribs: Some have two sections of ribs—on the top and at the base. This placement adds stimulation, which can make penetration more enjoyable.
  • Studs: When the raised studs are on the inside, it's meant to enhance the enjoyment of the person wearing the external condom. When the studs are on the outside, they are meant to offer more stimulation for the partner.

These external condoms tend to be wider, have bulb-like tips, and have a more contoured shape to increase comfort and pleasure for the person wearing the external condom.

Textured external condoms are sometimes marketed for mutual pleasure. Make sure, as with any condom, to check for FDA approval.


Warming External Condoms

Warming external condoms tend to be made of thinner latex. This can help increase sensation.

They usually contain a warming lubricant that is activated by natural body moisture, so it heats up during sexual intercourse.

The gentle, warm sensations of warming external condoms are designed to add pleasure for both partners.



The idea behind pleasure-shaped external condoms is that they tend to be looser with enlarged, pouch-like tips. The wider tips of this kind of external condom allow for more friction. That's because the extra latex stimulates the tip of the penis.

Some, like Trojan Twisted, also introduce a winding, twisting shape that allows for more forceful action. This type of design boosts sensitivity for both partners.


Colored External Condoms

External condoms are available in almost every color. You can even find tri-colored condoms that feature countries' national colors, such as America, France, Spain, Russia, and Italy. They also come in LGBTQ pride flag themes.

Dual-color external condoms are also available. These may be fun to use during the holidays—like black and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, and pink and red for your valentine.

Like other external condoms, many of the colored types of condoms are FDA-approved to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. So make sure to read the label on the external condom.


Sensis Condoms With QuikStrips

Sensis condoms (lubricated and made of latex) have QuikStrips, which work very much like the pull-off tabs on a Band-aid.

QuickStrips help you put on the external condom. They are meant to help you avoid common mistakes that can lead to condom failure.​​

The basic steps for using these kinds of external condoms are:

  1. Remove the Sensis condom from its foil package.
  2. Locate the ridged ends of the pull-down strips located on the top side of the external condom.
  3. Feel for the ridges with your fingers.
  4. By holding the QuikStrips, pull down the external condom to quickly and correctly put it on.
  5. Discard the strips.

These external condoms are available in thin and micro-dot ribbed options. These have a contoured shape for a comfortable fit. The dots and ribbed rings are designed to provide pleasure for both partners.


Kiss of Mint External Condoms

LifeStyles brand offers Kiss of Mint, a non-lubricated external condom coated with a powder that provides a sweet, spearmint taste. Trustex Mint external condoms are green and are made with a sugar-free formula.

Mint external condoms are a favorite for safe oral sex. They are also FDA-approved for pregnancy protection.

These external condoms tend to be a little bit wider than average. They have a flared tip that balloons out a bit, allowing heightened sensation for the person wearing them.


French Ticklers

Tickler external condoms either have a soft rubber tickler tip or are made of soft jelly. They come in various styles with nodules, nubs, ridges, and shapes that provide stimulation by "tickling" the inner walls of the partner's vagina or anus.

As they are novelty condoms, they are not intended to protect from pregnancy or infection. However, they might be used by couples who use a hormonal or permanent birth control method.

You can wear a external condom underneath the tickler to ensure pregnancy and STI protection.


Tingling Pleasure External Condoms

Tingling pleasure external condoms are formulated to provide an intense experience for both partners. Durex's Tingle brand contains a safe, spearmint-flavored, tingling lubricant as well as a minty scent.


Edible External Condoms

Edible external condoms are available in a variety of flavors. To use, roll the external condom on, then eat it off.

Edible external condoms are for novelty use only. They do not provide any protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.


You can be playful in choosing a condom while also protecting yourself and your partner. Whether you're buying them for your partner or yourself, you have more choices than ever before. Be sure to check whether the condom you choose is FDA-approved for protection against pregnancy or STIs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens if you use an expired condom?

    After the expiration date, the material a condom is made of is more likely to tear, so if you use an expired condom, you increase your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and getting pregnant. 

  • Are flavored condoms safe?

    As long as you buy a condom from a legitimate store or online retailer, the condom should be FDA-approved and safe to use. However, some flavored condoms are only approved to be used for oral sex and should never be used for vaginal intercourse. Read the packaging carefully to determine how the condom should be used.

  • Can you be allergic to a condom?

    Yes. An allergic reaction is most likely caused by an allergy to the latex material that a condom is made of. However, you may also be allergic to the lubricant or spermicide that coats the condom.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Birth control.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Labeling for natural rubber latex condoms classified under 21 CFR 884.5300 - Class II special controls guidance for industry and FDA staff.

  3. National Coalition for Sexual Health. What Happens If You Use An Expired Condom?

  4. MedlinePlus. Latex Allergy.