The Female Condom: Will It Get Stuck Inside Me?

Photo credit: Micheal Grogan

Photo credit: Micheal Grogan

The FC2 female condom (a.k.a. the “internal condom”) is one of the most recent innovations in safer sex technology. The FC2 is the only insertable contraceptive available that protects against both STIs and accidental pregnancy. However, because it is so different from traditional roll-on condoms, many are weary of using female condoms.

One of the most common concerns is that the female condom will get stuck inside the body. Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, to the rescue, assuring us that it is impossible for the FC2 to disappear inside your body. In fact, she explains, there are many reasons to choose the FC2 over traditional latex condoms.

This post was originally published on Your Tango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

While the female condoms seems a bit confusing, it’s a great option for many women. We tell you why.

At Lucky Bloke, our mission is to lead you to the land of amazing sex with condoms. With a selection of the world’s best condoms at our fingertips, we’re here to prove that the right condom can actually improve your sex life. Got a question for the Lucky Bloke: Condom Experts? Let us answer your sex education inquiries so you can concentrate on having the hottest sex possible!

Dear Lucky Bloke,

I’ve heard that there is a female condom that you insert in your body and protects just as effectively as a regular condom. But why does it seems so large? And can it get stuck inside my body?

—Signed Perplexed in Pittsburg.

The FC2 female condom, which we prefer to call the “internal condom,” might seem oddly shaped at first, but that’s because it’s radically different from what we understand condoms to be. A female condom is actually similar in length to standard male condoms, but is a little wider.

When inserted, the condom forms to your internal walls and allows for movement of the penis inside the sheath. This is one of its many benefits. One size, actually, fits all!

Thus, penis size (nor knowing what condom size your man requires) is not a factor with female condoms making it an excellent option for those who find that traditional, roll-on male condoms never seem to fit quite right.

So contrary to your concern, there is absolutely no risk of the FC2 getting stuck or disappearing inside you. And you do not need to be fitted before use. There is an inner ring on one end that slips under your cervix. Then there is an open end with a soft ring which remains on the outside of the vagina. To remove the FC2, you simply twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out.

The FC2 is growing in popularity. Many people like the advantage that condom size is not a factor for comfort and safety. Plus, it can be inserted up to four hours prior to sex, so no need to pause for intimate donning in the heat of the moment. And it’s latex free!

Another great bit of news is that the FDA is currently considering reclassifying the FC2 as a “class II” device. Why is this important? Currently, the FC2 is not in the same class as traditional condoms.

They are considered a “class III” medical device, putting them under the same safety restrictions as pacemakers and replacement heart valves, states the National Female Condom Coalition.

Moving FC2 into the new class would enable invention and testing of new and different female condoms designs. While the FC2 has made huge advancements in terms of non-latex offerings, it remains the only female condom currently available.

As we all know, product variety means safer sex option for all of us to choose and best suit our lives. What better reason than that?

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Are Condoms Uncomfortable? These 10 Non-Latex Options Can Help

Photo credit: Katla Romanova

Photo credit: Katla Romanova

Dislike latex? Your best non latex condom options may change your mind about condoms.

When it comes to condoms, latex is the most prolific material by far. But speckled across the sea of safer sex products is a growing number of alternative non latex condom options. There are many benefits to non latex condoms. As Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke explains, an increasing number of consumers find non latex more pleasurable. Not only are latex free condoms softer and odor-free compared to latex, they also transfer body heat better which heightens sensitivity immensely. There used to be only five latex fee options available. Today the number has doubled to include non latex condoms with more variety in size, lubrication, flavor and texture.

In this post, Melissa White lists all the non latex condoms available today. 

If you find condoms bought at the general drug store too rubbery, restricting or just all around unpleasant, consider these little johnnies. They will be your new token to sexual bliss.

This article was originally published on YourTango.com

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

If you or your partner find the traditional latex condom experience, shall we say…mediocre at best, the good news is there is more innovation in the non latex condom world than ever before. A variety of latex-free materials and styles are taking safer sex to new horizons in both safety and pleasure.

Non latex condoms are not merely for those with sensitivities. Not at all. Latex free condoms are typically softer and odor-free compared to latex; they also transfer heat and sensation much better than their latex counterparts. This means sex with them often feels much better for both partners.

Until recently, out of the hundreds of condoms available, there were only five latex free condoms to choose from. And none of these condoms offered any special features such as flavor, stimulating lubricant or ribbed texture.

To further the frustration, most non latex condoms still focus on the 50% of men who need a “standard” size condom or the 15% requiring a “larger” size, while ignoring the 35% of men who need a more tailored condom.

If you or your partner feel that condoms are getting in the way of the best possible sex, I can’t emphasize enough how fundamental proper condom fit is to both safety and dramatically enhanced pleasure when it comes to condom use.

Here’s a condom size guide to help you determine your (partner’s) best condom fit.

The good news is that condom brands are catching on and much of the ongoing innovation focuses on non latex condoms. In 2014, three new non-latex condom options arrived on the scene. This non latex condom primer is guaranteed to improve your (safer) sex life:

  1. LifeStyle’s SKYN was the first premium condom made from polyisoprene — a scientifically formulated non-latex material that delivers a more natural, sensitive feel than latex. Many couples who try polyisoprene once, favor it and do not return to latex.
  2. SKYN Extra Lubricated adds 40% more long lasting, ultra silky lubricant — ensuring that you and your partner are in for a smooth ride.
  3. SKYN Large is the condom you choose if extra width or length is required for your guy’s comfort.
  4. LifeStyle’s SKYN Intense Feel is brand new, launched last month, and the world’s first ever non-latex studded condom. This polyisoprene condom features strategically placed studs to maximize pleasure and sensation for both partners.
  5. Beyond polyisoprene condom options, a fantastic new arrival to the scene is UNIQUE Pull Condom. This lesser known gem, made entirely from synthetic polyethylene resin, is both three times stronger and three times thinner than latex! Clear, odorless, and unbelievably thin.
  6. The FC2 internal condom (widely known as the “female” condom) is the only non-latex option available that works for couples no matter the penis size. The FC2 is also a fantastic option for men who have difficulty maintaining an erection when using condoms. And because you’ll be wearing the condom, it doesn’t matter what size penis is involved. This is a plus if your guy is on the larger or small end of the bell curve.
  7. Durex also returned to the latex free category with its off again on again non-latex offering now named Durex (Avanti Bare) Real Feel. The Real Feel is classic in shape and, like the SKYN line, is also made of polyisoprene.
  8. The final two latex free options are both by Trojan. The Supra Bareskin is currently the only male polyurethane condom. While polyurethane condoms are also odor-free and offer excellent body heat transmission, they do not share the elasticity and soft feel of polyisoprene.
  9. As the only natural skin condom available, Trojan Naturalamb condoms are made from a thin layer of sheep cecum (part of sheep intestines.) Many swear by these condoms for the sensitivity. Others can’t get over their smell. Either way, it’s important to note that these condoms do NOT protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  10. With several fantastic non-latex options to now choose from a Non-Latex Condom Sampler is the best and most affordable option for trying out a variety of the latex free condoms available without having to buy a box of each!

Condoms and lube can be tricky territory to navigate and we’re here to help. Contact Lucky Bloke privately (getlucky@luckybloke.com), and we’d be very happy to answer your safer sex questions, as well as help match you with the best condoms and lube available.

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Which of These 4 Types of Female Condoms Is Right For You?

Image by Condom Monologues

Image by Condom Monologues

There are hundreds of condom options for penis protection available today, ranging in condom size, material, texture, flavors and more. When it comes to the receptive partner, however, there is only one option. The FC2 is the only internal or female condom approved by the FDA and available for purchase. (We use the common term “female condom”, while recognizing that this barrier method can be used by all genders.)

As part of their weekly Q&A series, the folks at the CSPH (The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) explain what is the female condom and why it may be the best safer sex option for you. They also give some insight into three other internal condoms available in the future. There is certainly a lot to look forward to!

The benefits of the female condom include:

  • Female condoms protect against both STIs and accidental pregnancy.
  • Because female condoms form to the receptive partner’s body, they are a great option to solve condom size issues.
  • Female condoms are the only barrier method that can be worn by the receptive partner.
  • Female condoms can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
  • Female condoms protect the skin around the anus and vagina, reducing the risk of skin-to-skin transmitted infections.
  • Because the FC2 is made of synthetic rubber it is compatible with both silicon and water-based lube.

This post was originally published by the CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

Each week, The CSPH answers questions that have been submitted through our website and social media outlets like TwitterTumblr, and Facebook. This week’s question:

What’s the best female condom?

Female condoms, also known as internal condoms or FCs, help prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although these products are frequently marketed with the terms “female” or “woman,” the CSPH prefers to use “internal condom” when possible, because it better reflects the truth about gender identity—that being female or male cannot be defined by having a prescribed set of genitals. Besides, this fantastic prophylactic is an effective safer sex option for good times all around, both within and beyond the vaginal walls as it can also be used during anal sex by persons of any gender. Please note that some of the language in this Q&A may be triggering due to the fact that many brands of internal condom still market themselves using “female” specific language; however, we have included it as part of our resource set due to the fact that they are quality barrier methods even if the language they use is problematic.

Internal condoms are unique because they are the only barrier method that can be initiated by the receptive partner, which may empower that individual to feel greater control over their personal health and protection. Additional benefits of internal condom use include the potential for advance insertion (up to eight hours before sex), protection of the skin surrounding the vagina or anus, and its thin, synthetic rubber material—compatible with both silicone- and water-based lubes—that may better preserve sensation.

The Fc2

Assuming that you live in the United States, the answer to your question is simple: the FC2 is the “best” option. Why? Because it is the only internal condom approved by the Food and Drug Administration and, therefore, the only one available for purchase.  Although there are hundreds of brands on the market for penis protection—in assorted colors, textures, and flavors—there are limited condom choices for receptive partners. The good news, however, is that this could change in the next few years, as there are some exciting products under development.

Seattle-based nonprofit PATH has designed a new model, the Woman’s Condom, with input from heterosexual couples in the developing world. Despite the numerous benefits associated with internal condoms, not only can they be challenging to insert, but their  physical appearance can also be uninviting, somewhat akin to a slippery windsock. To address these ergonomic and aesthetic concerns, PATH scientists gathered most of the seven-inch polyurethane pouch into a capsule about the size of an OB tampon. All you have to do is insert the compact capsule, and then the pouch unfurls while foam supports adhere lightly to the vaginal walls to stabilize the condom. The Woman’s Condom, also branded as O’lavie, has been available in China in limited distribution channels since late 2011 and clinical trials were recently completed in the United States.

Other promising advances in the world of internal condoms include the following models, which, like the “Woman’s Condom,” have been designed and tested specifically for vaginal intercourse:

The Cupid

Available in both natural and pink colors, it is the only FC that is vanilla scented. If these qualities alone do not motivate you to stockpile your shelves, consider the more user-friendly insertion method: the Cupid uses a non-biodegradable sponge, meant to be compressed between the fingers, to push the condom into the vagina. The sponge  also holds the condom in place during use, much like the inner ring of the FC2. This FC was pre-qualified in June 2012 for bulk procurement by the United Nations, upon recommendations from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Female Condom Technical Review Committee. It is currently available in India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Origami

Made of silicone to provide flexibility and durability during vaginal intercourse, this product is folded “origami style” and inserted by pushing the folded material into the vagina. While the design is intended to minimize its size for ease of insertion, after insertion, the condom will deploy to its full length during intercourse. The Origami has the potential to be a viable, reusable condom, due to its high-grade silicone material. This possibility of re-use, if found to be feasible, could lower manufacturing costs significantly. Clinical trials will commence in the U.S. in 2014. Furthermore, if these condoms become available in select animal shapes—like frogs, swans, or tigers—I predict a new contraceptive trend!

Panty Condoms

The Natural Sensation Panty Condom® offers sexy snatch protection with a discrete design that MacGyver would envy.  A reusable cotton thong, the Panty Condom® includes a replaceable pantyliner that contains a condom made of synthetic resin. The condom can be inserted by a penis or a finger, and the panty itself can be reused with another condom for additional acts of intercourse. One great benefit of this product is that you can wear it all day and, like a Girl Scout, be prepared. Additionally, it covers the entire vulva, which eliminates direct contact with the genital area and reduces the potential for sexually-transmitted infections such as herpes or HPV. Natural Sensation is available in parts of South America and Europe, though it has not received FDA or WHO approval. This FC is under review by the WHO Female Condom Technical Review Committee, and clinical work on function and acceptability is due to be undertaken in 2013.

If you wish to support the development and distribution of these fantastic products, consider joining the National Female Condom Coalition, or donating to PATH.  Unlike traditional condoms, FCs are considered a new “medical device” by the FDA and must undergo rigorous testing and research before widespread distribution, requiring funding and advocacy. Of the products that have already been approved, much of their availability is dependent upon donor organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, especially within the developing world.

For more information about the positive impact of FCs worldwide, check out the video submissions to PATH’s film contest, Female Condoms Are ________.  According to global citizens everywhere, from Bolivia to Kenya to the United States, “female condoms are sexy;” “female condoms are freedom;” “female condoms are for everyone.”

condom ad condoms too tight

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

Limp On Condoms? How to Rock the Sock in the Sack!

Photographers Karen and Brad Emerson

Photographers Karen and Brad Emerson

Experiencing erectile dysfunction when using condoms is not uncommon. However, as Melissa White argues below, this has less to do with condoms being inherently un-pleasurable; rather, it has more to do with choosing and using the wrong condom. This is not surprising considering that most people are falsely taught that condoms are one-size-fits-all. The fact is that there is a lot of variation in quality condoms. In this article, Melissa explains how one can solve the problem of condom discomfort.

Here’s a quick summary of how you can improve your condom experience:

This piece was originally published on the Huffington Post. Don’t miss Melissa White’s interview (video below) in which she busts the myth that condoms and pleasure don’t mix.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

“I peeled open the condom and as I rolled it on him, his shaft instantaneously went soft, softer. Limp. “Urgh, I hate condoms!” He exhaled. “I never had to use them in my last relationship. I’m not used to them.”

My story isn’t rare. I’ve encountered different versions by my friends and peers that, even in clear non-monogamous scenarios, men will complain that condoms dull sex- as if sex is not worth it if it involves a condom! This puts the woman in an incredibly confusing situation.

Speaking from my own experience, I felt it was implied that the problem was that I wanted him to use protection. This guy wasn’t just complaining. There was a real physical disdain to the condom. He kept losing his erection each time we tried.”

This story, first shared on Condom Monologues is alas far from uncommon. A study published in the journal Sexual Health found that – over the course of 3 months – 37% of men lost at least one erection while putting on a condom. As expressed above, this can make the partner doubt their own sexual worth or worry that they’re to blame for making great sex impossible by insisting on condom use.

What’s wrong with that picture? Well, first, remind yourself that being safe is a legitimate requirement of great sex. As in, a lifetime of great sex. Over the long-term, only being sexually safe allows for hot sex. No one is worth putting your own well-being at risk.

And it turns out that great sex is very much possible when using a condom. As long as it’s not just any old condom, mind you.

Most folks (even those who’ve been using condoms for decades) have little idea how to find a the most comfortable and pleasurable condom for their needs. This leads to men suffering through standard condoms that are too big (35% of men require a smaller than standard condom) or too small (15% of men require a larger than standard condom). And by “standard” I mean the vast majority of condoms sold at the local store.

Further, the selection offered at most conventional retailers does not focus on the brands leading condom innovations such as enhanced shape, ultra-thin premium latex or non-latex materials.

Which brings us to our blow-by-blow guide to optimize your condom sexperience:

1. Choosing the Right Condom Size and Type

He may need a different size condom. Did you know that there are three different size categories for condoms? Wearing the right condom will radically improve pleasure. Check out this condom size chart to know what will fit your penis of choice best.

Next I suggest that you explore different condom materials and shapes to find a better option for your partner.

Condoms with more headroom: There are a variety of condoms that offer a wider, dome-like shape that some men find very appealing in that there is less constriction, which can translate into greatly improved sensation during sex. Condoms with more headroom are great to explore in an effort to keep your partner …

Thin condoms: Ultra thin condoms enhance sensitivity. They are a great starting point if your partner complains that he simply can’t feel anything when using a condom.

Non-latex condoms: Many people prefer non-latex condoms regardless of having a sensitivity to latex. This is because polyisoprene and polyurethane transfer body heat better than latex. The material also is generally more comfortable and less restrictive than latex.

2. Buy and Use Your Own Lube

While most condoms are “lubricated”, I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to add additional lube to improve your condom experience. Both water and silicone-based lube (or a hybrid) are safe to use with condoms. Starting with a lube sampler is the most cost efficient and fun way to explore a variety of lubes and figure out what lube feels best.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice…with Superior Condoms

It’s likely your partner is not used to associating pleasure with condoms. Anyone with a penis would benefit from solo practice with a high-quality condom. Masturbating with a condom will help your partner determine his pleasure spots and what feels best with premium protection. This will also help if his issue is anxiety-related. I’ll add that mutual stimulation can be very sexy. So there is no reason you can’t help him here if he’d like an extra hand.

4. Make it Sexy

There is no one way to be sexy. Being sexy is about how you feel. And how you work it. If you pull out a condom with confidence, and you firmly believe that safer sex is sexy, then it’s likely to be perceived as much sexier.

A condom can be a turn on. Keeping condoms in an easily accessible place is very helpful, but that does not mean that it is always best to rush through the process of putting one on. When you introduce condoms, it’s a great idea to turn up the sizzle and have a sense of play.

For example, try putting the condom on your partner for them. When done in a deliberately slow manner with stroking, teasing and eye contact, putting on a condom can be very exciting. Try slipping it on his penis with your mouth. Spice it up by carrying a condom with you in your handbag or pocket (keeping in mind safe condom storage) when you are out together and discreetly show it to your partner to hint at what’s on your mind.

The possibilities are endless.

Remember: The goal is a long and healthy sex life. Asking someone to use a condom shows that you care about them, as well as caring about yourself. Communication really is key and talking about sex might mean sharing what you like, what your favorite position is, or how to choose and use condoms in ways that work for both of you. Talking together about these things will cultivate intimacy and deepen your bond (not hinder it) — and exploring the best premium condoms available (most you’ve likely not tried before) is a surprisingly enjoyable way to get on track in the sack.

For more on condom choosing, check out Melissa White’s interview with Huffington Post Live!

Interview with Melissa White begins at 7min 22 sec.

Latex-Free Condoms?

Photographer Rorro Navia

Photographer Rorro Navia

Researchers at Condom Monologues investigate the confusion surrounding Durex’s only latex-free condom option: Avanti Bare.

Here are some key points:

  • Durex’s only non-latex condom first switched from polyurethane to polyisoprene in 2008.
  • In 2011, Durex Avanti changed and was no longer a non-latex option. It was now manufactured as latex but with the same name.
  • Durex does now offer non-latex again. The new name is called Avanti Bare Real Feel.
  • Always read condom packaging carefully.

This article was originally published here.

BY CONDOM MONOLOGUES | CondomMonologues.com

How many times can you change a condom from latex to latex-free and back again?

Well, if you are Durex Avanti you can be transformed at least three times.

As the world’s most widely distributed condom brand, Durex have a lot of strings to their pleasure bow: offering consumers an abundance of various shapes, textures, lubes and sex accessories to choose from. When it comes to latex free options, however, the company puts the onus on just one condom, yet even this single choice is not without confusion. Durex Avanti, previously the name of their latex-free rubber, is in fact a latex condom. The non-latex option has been recently rebranded Avanti Bare Real Feel™. In fact, this latex-free option has been through a few re-branding rotations.

In 2008, it was replaced from being made of polyurethane to synthetic polyisoprene. Polyurethane is a type of soft plastic; polyisoprene is the latest latex-free technology, chemically similar to rubber latex but without the proteins that cause allergic reactions (see our article about the differences). In Europe, the product’s current name is simply, and explicitly, “Latex Free”. The North America version, however, is not so straight forward.

Michael Gesek, from Durex Consumer Relations Canada, explained to Condom Monologues, that when multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser took over Durex in 2011 they lost supply of the materials to make Avanti Bare and thus it was discontinued in North America. Recently the polyisoprene product was secured again and is renamed Avanti Bare Real Feel. Besides the (longer) new name, nothing is different about this new polyisoprene rubber. It’s now rolling out on store shelves.

However, few consumers know that Durex did not offer latex-free condoms for a period in the midst of company turn over. In fact, Avanti Bare went from being made of polyisoprene to becoming just a standard latex condom. Yet despite this very dramatic product change, Durex kept the name and package similar to the latex free version- as if condom shopping isn’t confusing already!

As expressed by Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, this move was irresponsible and “a major packaging fail!” In response, Lucky Bloke listed a consumer warning on their site. It’s unclear what Durex’s strategy was for informing the public about this change. One may assume that when Durex lost supply of the polyisoprene condom, they may have sent a notice to selective distributors with the expectation that sellers would inform consumers. To the best of her knowledge, Melissa White does not recall any advanced warning from Durex.

So, please be aware that Durex does offer a latex-free condom now, just make sure not to pick up the former Avanti Bare and read packaging extra carefully!

condom-monologuesCONDOM MONOLOGUES SexEd, Activism, Storytelling and More… Condom Monologues dispel harmful myths about safe sex and sexual stereotypes that permeate our ways of understanding what is “healthy sexuality”. They accomplish this through sex-positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality that affirm the diversity of people- genders, sexualities, kinks and relationships.
Find them on twitter @CondomMonologue

4 Effective Condom Alternatives to Latex Sensitivity

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Latex sensitivity or latex allergy causes symptoms that can range from unpleasant to— in severe cases— deadly… nothing about that is sexy. So what is one to do when it comes to condoms? Lucky Bloke, global condom experts, to the rescue with several safer sex suggestions.

This article is intended to inform you of the various non-latex condom options available and what the benefits are of each. Here is some essential know-how:

  • Condom technology presents the latex sensitive with multiple, pleasurable alternatives to latex condoms. Here is a sample pack of non-latex options.
  • Polyurethane condoms are thinner and less elastic and form fitting than latex condoms. They do, however, transfer heat better.
  • Polyisoprene condoms are stretchier and more resistant to breakage than other condom options. They are also very soft to the touch and offer an enjoyable sensation.
  • The nitrile FC2 “female condom” is the only option that works no matter the size of the penis.

This article was originally published on YourTango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | CEO of LuckyBloke.com

If you or your partner has a latex sensitivity, all hope for a fun (and safer) sex life is not lost. Condom technology has come a long way, and there are some incredible alternatives to latex available. In fact, non-latex condoms can even be more pleasurable for couples, regardless of latex sensitivities. Lucky Bloke is here to share four top non-latex condom options:

1. Polyurethane condoms. Polyurethane condoms are made from a special type of plastic. They not only prevent pregnancy, they reduce your risk of STIs.

These condoms have no odor and tend to have a longer shelf life than latex condoms; they are not as sensitive to temperature or UV lighting. Best of all, polyurethane condoms transfer heat very well between the condom and skin. As a result, many people find that polyurethane condoms offer a more intimate and pleasurable sensation than latex condoms.

Compared to latex condoms, polyurethane condoms are thinner and less elastic. They are not as form fitting as latex condoms, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re getting frisky. It is highly recommended that users pair a quality water-based or silicone-based lube with polyurethane condoms to reduce the risk of slippage or breakage.

Our top pick: TROJAN | Supra which offers a standard fit

2. Polyisoprene condoms. These are relatively new to the market after gaining FDA approval for preventing pregnancy and STDs in 2008. These condoms are made out of a synthetic latex material which is just as strong as latex without containing the proteins that trigger allergic reactions.

Since this material was created in a laboratory setting, it has been engineered to offer a few key advantages over polyurethane or latex condoms. Notably, polyisoprene condoms are generally stretchier and more resistant to breakage than other condom options. They are slightly thicker than polyurethane or latex condoms and as a result, are a bit more form fitting. Despite the added thickness, polyisoprene condoms are very soft to the touch and offer an enjoyable sensation.

These condoms pair very well with water-based lubricants and silicone-based lubricants, but should never be used with oil based lubricants.

Our top picks: LifeStyles |SKYN which offers a standard fit; LifeStyles | SKYN Large which offers a larger fit

3. FC2.  The FC2 (aka the female condom) offers an advantage for women who want to ensure protection from pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infection. The female condom is a strong, thin, and flexible nitrile sheath inserted into the vagina, prior to sex. It has a flexible polyurethane ring on one end, a soft nitrile ring on the other, and is absolutely latex-free. It is pre-lubricated with a slick silicone-based lubricant, but additional lubricant can be used, as well.

Many advances have been made to the FC2 condom. It is not much larger than a “male” condom and it has no latex odor. There are so many advantages to this condom that it is impossible to list them all here.

The FC2 is a great choice for any condom user who has any type of allergies or chemical sensitives. Also, as the woman wears the condom, they are the only option that works no matter the size of the man’s penis. This is incredibly important for men who benefit from a slimmer, more tailored condom. The FC2 is the only non-latex option for these couples.

The FC2 is also the ideal alternative for any couple that faces condom-related erectile challenges. And if this isn’t enough, couples who seek enhanced pleasure (better heat transmission, more stimulation, and a natural feel) should absolutely check the FC2 out.

Our top pick: FC2 | Female Condom which offers a fantastic fit, regardless of penis size

4. Natural skin condoms. Natural skin condoms are one of the oldest methods of preventing pregnancy, and are made from a thin layer of sheep cecum (which is part of sheep intestines). Due to their porous nature, lambskin condoms should only be used to prevent pregnancy. They are not effective at preventing STIs/STDs. Unless you are absolutely certain that both you and your partner are STD-free, lambskin condoms are NOT the option for you.

Many people who use lambskin condoms say that they’re extremely pleasurable due to their thin construction, and how well they conduct heat. In fact, many men who use lambskin condoms have reported that they’re barely able to tell that they’re even wearing a condom during sex. For those who are concerned about the environment, these condoms are also completely biodegradable. They’re not as elastic as latex condoms, and they’re a bit more generous in fit than latex alternatives.

Since these condoms are made from an animal by-product, they do have a certain smell that might take some getting used to. Of the three latex condom alternatives, lambskin condoms are by far the most expensive at several dollars per condom, and are currently only manufactured by TROJAN. Despite these potential drawbacks, lambskin condoms remain popular and can be used with any lubricant.

Our top pick: TROJAN | NaturaLamb which will fit all men albeit a bit differently

Even if you don’t have a latex allergy, it’s not a bad idea to keep a few non-latex condoms at hand if you’re sexually active with multiple partners. You never know when you might end up in a sexy situation with someone who has a latex sensitivity. Safe sex is everyone’s responsibility.

For those of you in a monogamous relationship, there’s a lot to be said for keeping things fresh in the bedroom; trying out new condoms might just give you the incentive you need to get busy.

condom ad condoms too loose

How to Choose & Use Condoms: A Better Guide

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BY JOELLEN NOTTE | theRedheadBedhead.com

Condoms may not be anyone’s favorite but they are far preferable to unplanned pregnancies and STIs, right? Right. So, if we’re going to use condoms, we should definitely make sure we’re using them right, right? Right.

The problem is, a lot of folks are still kind of fumbling the condom thing and so much of the information out there is, well, not great. With “helpful” tips like, “if it’s not rolling the right way, it’s on the wrong way”(what?), intense mis-leading warnings such as “you should ONLY USE WATER-BASED LUBRICANTS!!!!” (not actually true) and condescending instructions like “remove the condom carefully, not spilling the contents. Wrap it up and dispose of it” (this just seems obvious), folks aren’t really getting a ton of help with the whole thing.

So I’m going to give you some quick and fun pointers to help you rock rubbers right.

Choosing your condom- As with anything you wear, you want your condom to fit right and be comfortable. Unlike anything else you wear your condom also needs to protect you from diseases and feel good to the inside (whether it be vagina, mouth or anus) of another person. There’s a lot to think about.

Luckily the folks at Lucky Bloke put together this great guide to determining your condom size. You may have to try a couple different condoms to find what works for you, but seriously? Best. Research process. Ever.

The most important thing is that, in the end, you buy condoms that fit!

Fitting your condom- If a condom is too tight to comfortably roll it down it can cause problems ranging from discomfort and loss of erection to broken condoms. Don’t assume larger condoms are just there for men of crazy porn-style proportions. If regular condoms bind or are particularly difficult to get on look into a bigger fit. Also, when wondering if you need bigger, length isn’t everything. Even if your penis is of an average length, it may require more room in terms of girth.

Sometimes standard condoms maybe a bit big. In this case these are slimmer fitting condoms out there. Check out your options.

Rolling it on- The “is it facing the right way?” thing has long been perhaps the most troublesome part of condom application.

The best tip I ever got on the topic came from Megan Andelloux: Take your condom out and put it on the tip of your finger- What kind of hat does it look like? If the answer is “The kind of beanie you’d wear because it’s cold out” (the roll is pointing down) then it’s facing the wrong way. If the answer is “A sombrero” (the roll is pointing up) then it’s time to party! “Olé!” indeed!

Leave yourself some space- Ejaculate moves quickly, like really quickly. It leaves the penis at about 35 mph (that’s faster than a moped can go, just fyi). This little fact makes it very important that you make room in your condom for that high-speed sperm to go without bursting your bubble, so to speak.

Okay, here’s the deal: you need space in the tip of your condom and you need that space to not have air in it. It can be helpful to unroll the condom a little before you go to put it on so you have some slack. Once you have it on, grip the penis and condom firmly at the base, give a gentle tug to that tip and squeeze out any air and voila! All dressed up and ready to go.

Keep it slick– I love lube. Lubricant is great for increasing pleasure with condoms especially as latex can stick to skin. Further, a few drops of lube inside a condom can do wonders for the wearer’s pleasure.

I find the lube instructions that come with condoms a little discouraging though- there’s a lot of talking about only using water-based products. This is not strictly necessary. What you don’t want to do is use oil-based products (lotions, vaseline, even mineral oil) as they will break down latex or polyisoprene condoms. Generally, silicone based lubricants are okay for condoms.

Take it all off- After ejaculation you do want to be sure to withdraw the penis from your partner before it goes limp and hold onto the condom at the base of the penis so as to not spill ejaculate on/in your partn​er, rendering the use of the condom futile.

After that, it’s pretty much basic campsite rules – leave no trace. Carry out your mess and dispose of it properly. If you can master the use of a condom you can also master the use of a trash can – I believe in you!

Bonus tips!

Foreskin – If you are in possession of a foreskin and it is mobile (this is not always a given) pull the foreskin back first, then put the condom on. Once it is in place and you have pinched the tip to get any trapped air out, push the foreskin back toward the tip of the penis, while holding onto the base of the condom to keep it in place. This allows for free movement of the foreskin during sex. Add a drop or two of lube inside the condom and away you go.

Colored condoms – This is another tip from the fabulous Megan Andelloux: Colored condoms are safer than plain ones. Why? It’s easier to see if they have broken. So get colorful! Megan suggests coordinating with upcoming holidays.

 

JoEllen-NotteJOELLEN NOTTE is helping to share the gospel of better living through better sex ed (amen!) – serving as both the Education Coordinator & Lead Sex Educator for the Portland Academy of Sex Education and a co-Emissary of Sex Geekdom Portland. Working as an adult retail consultant, she is working to help promote better sex through better adult retail. JoEllen first began fighting sexual mediocrity on her site theRedheadBedhead.com. Follow JoEllen on twitter: @bedheadtweeting