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What are condoms?

When you’re having sex with someone, using condoms is the only way to prevent STIs. Make sure you know how to use a condom properly. 

What is a condom?

A condom is a stretchy sheath (cover) that fits over an erect penis. It is usually made of thin rubber. Condoms catch the semen, protecting against pregnancy and STIs. A condom is the only contraceptive that protects against STIs as well as pregnancy!

Where do you buy condoms?

You can buy condoms at chemists, pharmacies and in many supermarkets. And condoms are available from vending machines in lots of bars, clubs and discos. has a separate 'locator' page which shows you all the places  in the Netherlands with condom vending machines and shops that sell condoms. You can also order condoms online.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • A condom is the only contraceptive that protects you against STIs
  • You don't have to go and see a doctor first.
  • It’s not something you have to think about unless you’re going to have sex (but do make sure you've always got some in case you need them!)
  • You can buy them in lots of places.
  • A condom can stop you having an orgasm too quickly.
  • No semen gets into the vagina or anus.


  • If you don’t use a condom properly, there is a risk of tearing, leaking or slipping off. That makes condoms less reliable than other contraception.
  • Some people don’t like having to stop during sex to put it on or take it off.
  • You have to use one every time you have sex.
  • Some men say they don’t feel as much.