When prophylactics are scarce, the amorous may be tempted to use something similar that's not actually a condom. Don't. For the love of nonoxynol-9, don't!

An 1844 book called "The United States Practical Receipt Book" printed a recipe for making your own condoms at home. All you need to do is locate the sheath of flesh between a sheep's large and small intestine. Got it? OK, now soak both sides in water for a day. Then soak that in a fresh batch of sodium hydroxide every few hours for another day. All that's left now is to peel off the mucus membrane, then sulphur it, then wash a few times with soap, then rinse thrice in clean water. Inflate your new condom and leave it out to dry. Once it does, tie a ribbon around it (really, that's how it stays on) and Voila! Surely you'll still be in the mood after all that, right?

Now that condoms are inexpensive and easy to find, there's really no excuse for not having one on hand. Despite that, the Internet is inundated with questions about condom substitutes. Kids, the only thing that can be trusted to work like a condom is - that's right - an actual condom. But that won't keep us from giggling merrily at some of the things people have tried to use instead. (Of course, even when you have a condom, you need to use it correctly. Learn more in 9 Things You Didn't Know About Putting on a Condom.)


A condom may be made of natural animal product. The safest are made from latex. So why anyone would want to wrap their willy with the same thing we use to keep leftovers fresh is beyond me. Still, people do this in an effort to prevent both pregnancy and disease.

Why It's a BAd Idea: Clingfilm (AKA plastic wrap) is not thick enough, nor has it been tested to retain its integrity during sex. That means it will probably rip, slip, or unwrap itself amid the friction of intercourse. It can also come off and become lodged internally, which is going to be embarrassing to explain to the intake person at the emergency room. Even if you can manage to create a receptacle tip on your plastic wrap condom, it's probably not strong enough to contain your little swimmers.


A balloon, like the ones they make balloon animals from, is long and thin sort of like a condom. Plus there's plenty of room on the end to hold the payload, right? Not really, no.

Why It's a Bad Idea: I'd be shocked if any dude can put a balloon on the entire length of his penis. Most balloons would squeeze and hurt. A lot. A balloon would have to be pretty large to accommodate an erect member. That would increase the risk of slipping and/or getting stuck inside your partner. Plus, getting it on there is going to take some lube, which may cause your makeshift condom to disintegrate. You'd be better off spending the evening making erotic balloon sculptures.

Candy Bar Wrappers

In a 2005 episode of the show "Family Guy," Peter has a flashback where he declares that he doesn't need a condom since he has a Milky Way wrapper handy. Ew. As it urns out, using a candy bar wrapper as a condom is not unheard of. I'll say it again: ewwww.

Why It's a Bad Idea: Aside from the usual concerns about slippage and lack of a receptacle tip, chocolate or sugar near your underpants zone is the shortest route to a terrible infection. There's a reason they make flavored oils and lubes especially for sex, and it's not so you can put real chocolate in your hoo-ha. (Try a flavored condom instead.)

Sandwich Baggies

This is another item that seems like it could potentially work as an uncomfortable, unsexy condom. Deep down though, we all know that zip-top bags are not ribbed for anyone's pleasure.

Why It's a Bad Idea: Aside from not wanting anything with square corners on your penis or in your vagina, sandwich baggies simply have not been tested for the purposes of preventing pregnancy or disease. Heck, they can't even prevent your coworkers from stealing your lunch.

Medical Gloves

If something was made for medical purposes, surely it's safe for sex, right? Nope. Even if you find some gloves that are latex rather than vinyl, and that don't have any powder in them, this is still a bad idea.

Why It's a Bad Idea: Gloves are thicker than condoms, so sensation would be greatly reduced. Also, unless you have five thin penises (or four thin penises and a thumb-shaped sack), a glove is not going to fit. Couple that with the standard caveats like a lack of lube and the possibility of it ending up inside your partner and you've got a five-fingered recipe for genital disaster.

Chicken Skin

Yes, really. I was horrified at the very idea that someone would use the actual skin of last night's dinner to prevent pregnancy and disease. Yet, it came up on a list of things Brits have used instead of condoms. And if I have to know about it, so do all of you!

Why It's a Bad Idea: If the aroma of chicken mixed with sex isn't reason enough to avoid this one, how about the fact that cooked chicken skin will in no way hold up against friction. Honestly, this is just so utterly disgusting, it's enough to put me off of both sex and chicken for a while.

Choose Actual Condoms for Your Sexy Time

Ultimately, we all know that no weird condom substitute out there is safer than a condom. And condoms are great. There are plenty of places to buy them. You can probably even get some for free. Depending on where you live, you might even be able to get them delivered right to your door. All told, there's really no reason not to use a real condom. And let's face it, kids, a little lubricated rubber is a whole lot sexier than any of these alternatives, not to mention safer.