Polyurethane as a Latex Condom Alternative

Polyurethane condoms are a type of male condom that is made from polyurethane — which is a type of thin, clear plastic. This birth control method has FDA-approval as an effective way to prevent pregnancy as well as protecting you from sexually transmitted diseases. Polyurethane condoms are usually thinner, stronger, and not as tight as latex condoms. Because of this, they can help to increase sensitivity during sex. Many men say that they like the feel and appearance of polyurethane condoms more than a latex condom.

A close-up of a man passing a polyurethane condom to a woman
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Positive Points

  • Polyurethane condoms transmit heat better than other condoms. This warming sensation can help to increase pleasure.
  • They protect you from both pregnancy and many STDs.
  • Polyurethane condoms are a good condom alternative if you or your partner are allergic to latex.
  • Unlike other condoms, polyurethane ones are available in male and female versions.

Negative Points 

  • Polyurethane condoms are usually more expensive than latex condoms and polyisoprene condoms.
  • Researchers have reported that polyurethane condoms are less effective than latex condoms for for the prevention of pregnancy and STIs.
  • Because they are less elastic and looser-fitting than latex condoms, there is a greater risk that polyurethane condoms will slip-off or break during sex. Using some additional lubrication may help lower this risk.
  • Because they have a more loose fit, these condoms may not be the best choice if you tend to have forceful or vigorous sex.


Overall, studies comparing polyurethane condoms to latex condoms have revealed that, overall, both men and women prefer the polyurethane condoms over latex ones. Research also shows:

  • Men report more discomfort when wearing latex condoms (complaining that they are too tight), yet some men find that polyurethane condoms are too loose.
  • Polyurethane condoms allowed for greater stimulation and less penis constriction.
  • Both men and women felt more sensitivity while using polyurethane condoms.
  • People appear to prefer the odor of polyurethane condoms versus latex condoms and found the lubricant to be less messy.
  • Polyurethane condoms seem to be harder to unroll than latex condoms.

Should You Use Polyurethane Condoms?

Even though latex condoms may be more effective than polyurethane condoms, the overall risk of pregnancy if you use these condoms is similar to other barrier birth control methods. Polyurethane condoms go through the same rigorous testing as all condoms and meet the FDA's safety standards. If you have are allergic or sensitive to latex, polyurethane condoms offer you a great alternative to latex condoms. Many couples prefer to use these condoms and are extremely satisfied with them. If you feel latex condoms are too restricting, you may welcome the looser fit of polyurethane condoms. So, if you are not happy about using latex condoms, it may be worth the time to experiment with polyurethane ones to see if you can find a condom that works for you.

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2 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. Marfatia YS, Pandya I, Mehta K. Condoms: Past, present, and futureIndian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2015;36(2):133–139. doi:10.4103/0253-7184.167135

  2. Yah CS, Simate GS, Hlangothi P, Somai BM. Nanotechnology and the future of condoms in the prevention of sexually transmitted infectionsAnn Afr Med. 2018;17(2):49–57. doi:10.4103/aam.aam_32_17

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