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.

Unsure what size

7 Condoms that even a Condom Skeptic would Love

Photo credit: Onyana Rose

Photo credit: Onyana Rose

These Sexy Condoms Will Completely Revolutionize Your Time In Bed! Guaranteed. 

Are you someone who hates condoms or has a partner that struggles with condom use? You’re not alone. In her Global Condom Review, Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, found that most people are unaware that condoms come in different sizes and shapes. Hence, many are wearing the wrong condom.

She argues that condom pleasure boils down to knowing what size you need and experimenting with different types and shapes.

Basically, if you dislike condoms it’s because you haven’t found the right one yet.

In this article, Melissa White recommends seven top-selling boutique condoms based on condom size needs. Take her advise and everything you thought you knew about condoms will improve.

This article was originally published on Your Tango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

Sure, contraception gets a bad rap. And, sometimes quite deservedly so.

However, to date, Lucky Bloke has matched over 45,000 happy condom users (in 28 countries) with a condom they love.

Isn’t it time that you and your partner launch over condom mediocrity and spend your future days (and nights) in condom nirvana?! Yes, with a little savvy and a few tips you’ll be there in no time.

Do you know what size condom you need? This is the first step to condom bliss.
And this handy trick will help you determine your partner’s condom size in no time. No measuring tape required.

Next read up on these seven condoms –all have something special to offer and each are worth a test drive:

1. Okamoto | 004

Okamoto (the leading brand in Japan, as well as the makers of Crown and Beyond Seven), continue to rock the condom world with stellar advances in latex technology. While, Japanese condoms are known for their ability to be ultrathin without compromising on strength and durability, the Okamoto 004 (Zero Zero Four) pushes all pleasure boundaries. It’s rumored to be the very thinnest latex condom available in the US. Until we are shown otherwise, we absolutely agree!

Because of the classic shaft this condom works best for the 50% of men who require a standard sized condom.

2. Unique Pull Condoms

Aptly named, their innovation is guaranteed to be nominated for the Pleasure Hall of Fame. When using UNIQUE PULL for the first time, many say they have to check to see if the condom was in place because they really could not feel it during sex. The thinner the condom, the greater the pleasure. Made from high-tech synthetic polyethylene resin, odorless, non-latex condom UNIQUE is 3x stronger AND 3x thinner than conventional (latex) condoms.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom, as well as men who need a larger condom.

3. SKYN | Intense Feel

Last year, when the good people at Lifestyles told us (on the down-low) they were going to introduce this new masterpiece in condom innovation: SKYN Intense Real Feel, it was hard not to shout about it from the rooftops. A bit dramatic you think? Well then, you’ve likely never tried a polyisoprene* condom. New condom materials (read: non-latex condoms) are the next direction for increased safer sex pleasure. And mind you, you don’t need a latex sensitivity to begin enjoying polyisoprene condoms.

SKYN Intense Real Feel is what happens when LifeStyles takes their already fantastic non-latex condom, SKYN, and adds a wave pattern of texture — Intensely deep studs on the areas along the condom that (studies have shown) maximize stimulation and pleasure.

*Polyisoprene — a scientifically formulated non-latex material that offers the strength of latex while delivering ultimate sensitivity — provides a softer, more natural feel than latex. While polyisoprene condoms are ideal for people with latex allergies or latex sensitivities, many couples prefer them to latex condoms altogether.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom. If your man needs a larger condom, try SKYN Large.

4. ONE | Tantric Pleasures

Ah, Tantric Pleasures. Of course, you want a condom that’s interesting, that feels great inside and out. Meet ONE’s answer: Tantric Pleasures, the first condom in the world created with tattoo-inspired texture for increased pleasure and an easy-rolling flared shape for added comfort. Pleasure shape meets pleasure texture. Pleasure, indeed. There are 3 separate designs: Maori, Tribal, & Titan.

When choosing ONE you’re helping people in need, as a portion of every purchase supports HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in Africa.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom, as well as men who need a slightly larger condom.

5. GLYDE | Slimfit Strawberry

When creating the tastiest flavored condoms (and dams) in the world, GLYDE ignored cheap chemical concoctions and sourced the highest quality food-grade natural and organic fruit and nut extracts on the planet. Combining this with a red premium secure fit condom, GLYDE Slimfit Strawberry surpasses international quality standards with ultrathin comfort and increased sensation for any connoisseur in the mood for vegan, sugar-free strawberry deliciousness. It also smells absolutely divine!

This condom works best for the 35% of men who require a tighter fit, more secure condom. If you need a standard fit, try Strawberry Ultra.

6. Durex | Performax Intense

Durex Performax Intense condoms are perfect for the couple that needs support matching both of their needs. They feature a body heat-activated, desensitizing, 5% benzocaine delay lubricant on the inside for him, which helps to delay climax and prolong sexual excitement for longer lasting enjoyment. And then, there’s ribs and studded texture on the outside to insure maximum mutual pleasure for the receiving partner. As with the original Performax, the fitted shape insures that the delay lubricant stays safely on the inside.

PERFORMANCE TIP: Gentlemen, DESENSITIZING CONDOMS are highly recommended if you require additional stamina support — you will likely be pleasantly impressed by their effectiveness. On the other hand, if you don’t truly require this type of condom, numbness and a difficulty to climax are more likely to be your experience.

This condom works best for both men who require a standard sized condom. If your man needs a tighter condom or larger condom, try Ride Rock Delay Spray.

7. FC2 | Female (“internal”) Condom

The FC2 Condom offers an advantage for women who want to ensure birth control and protection from STDs. The internal condom is a strong, thin and flexible nitrile sheath inserted into (just going to get medical here) 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.

The female condom can be used no matter how your man is endowed. The female condom offers a fantastic advantage for couples where a partner has a latex sensitivity. This is the only non-latex condom option for guys requiring a smaller condom (we like to call this a “tighter” or more “tailored” fit).

No matter the size, many men find the female condom more liberating. It is still “there” yet, he does not feel the same restriction, as when he is wearing the protection. Give it a try if you are (or he is) a traditional condom hater.

Once you’ve made it to the end of this list, if you’d appreciate personalized attention, Lucky Bloke offers an absolutely free Condom Concierge Service, via email. Contact us at getlucky@luckybloke.com and Lucky Bloke will assist you in identifying the condoms and lube that are right for you. (No purchase necessary!)

Unsure what size

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.

Scarleteen’s: Condom User Manual

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Condoms have a lot of advantages. They are the most effective form of protection against many STIs. They are the only method the protects against both STIs and pregnancy. They are affordable and accessible. Also, condoms are one of the only birth control methods in which both partners can share responsibility.

While using a condom is easy once you get the hang of it, the first few times can be a bit tricky. Heather Corinna from Scarleteen is here with a helpful step-by-step guide to condom application as well as a ton of tips, tricks and valuable information to keep you safer sex savvy.

This Condom User Manual includes:

  • For people with penises, it can be helpful to practice condom application alone in a no-pressure environment.
  • Try out a couple of styles of condoms, multi-packs are great for finding what works for you.
  • Latex allergies should not keep you from condom use, there are several non-latex options available.
  • Lubrication is very important. Always use additional lube for pleasure AND safety.
  • Condoms are necessary for oral sex (both vaginal and anal).
  • Women should keep their own condoms on hand to be sure that they are protected. Don’t rely on partners.

Read the original article at Scarleteen.

BY HEATHER CORINNA | Scarleteen

condom2Using a condom is easier than it looks, but the first few times, it can be tricky, especially if you’re nervous about knowing how to use one, or have never even opened one before. It’s important to know how to use condoms like a pro, to assure that they work to help prevent unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or both, and because you want them to feel as good as possible for both partners. No matter what your gender is, or what your partner’s gender is, if one of you has a penis (or you both use a toy), knowing how to use a condom properly can make you safer and can make a big difference in your relationship.

Do yourself a favor — if you’re the person whose body part or toy a condom is going on, try it at home by yourself first, without the pressure of being watched, without worrying about losing an erection, or without the uncomfortable feeling that you’re being graded on your condom skills. You or a partner can also practice on a banana (silly, we know: but hey, it works!) with the same condom until you get it right. Either or both of you can put the condom on when the time is right, so it’s good for everyone to know how.

Condom use is just like tying your shoes: tying them all the time may be a bother sometimes, but if you don’t do it, you’ll trip and fall on your face. The consequences here can be far worse. A few STIs are incurable, and once you have them can create some health issues you may need to deal with for your whole life. A couple of them can shorten that life, and all of this also goes for your partners (and their partners, and their partners…). All of them can impact your health and the public health and cost you time, energy and money to deal with. If you’re in a relationship with an opposite sex partner, and condoms are your only method of reliable birth control, I don’t need to tell you why they’re important, even when you’re not the one who can wind up pregnant. One fantastic thing about condoms is that they are one of the only methods where both partners can share responsibility when it comes to birth control. They also make an excellent backup when using other methods. So, here’s how to do it right.

The Basics:

Copyright of Scarleteen. Re-published with permission.

Copyright of Scarleteen. Re-published with permission.

1) Use a good quality condom that is new, and well before the expiry date. Every condom has an expiration date on the package, so just take a look at it before you open one. be sure you’re also using a condom that hasn’t been kept anywhere where it can get worn or too warm or cold (it isn’t a good idea to keep them in your car, wallet or pocket for that reason).

When you first buy condoms, see if you can get a few different brands and styles for yourself. It can take some trial and error to find the kind that best fit you and feel best, so getting assortment packs, or a few small boxes of a couple different kinds is a good idea.

2) Open the condom wrapper carefully with your fingers, and roll it out a little so that the edge is rolled on the outside of the condom. That rolled-up edge needs to be on the outside, facing up, or the condom won’t roll down right. Put a few drops of water-based lube (such as Astroglide, KY Liquid or Liquid Silk) inside the tip of the condom: that not only helps with getting it on, it makes condoms feel a lot better during use. Only put a condom on AFTER there is a partial or full erection (after the penis has “gotten hard”).

3) Squeeze the tip of the condom with your fingertips to leave some extra space in the tip, and roll the rest down the length of the penis, while still pinching the top. The rim of the condom should be as close to the base of the penis as possible. When you’re down to the base, run your fingers from the tip all the way down to press out any air bubbles: this helps keep condoms from breaking.

4) Put some more latex-safe lube–lube that doesn’t contain any kind of oil–on the outside of the condom, and you’re good to go. While you are using the condom, neither you nor your partner need to hold onto its base: condoms are designed for hands-free use.

5) After ejaculation (or not, but you’re finished having genital sex — before you withdraw — hold the base of the condom (the rolled-up part) with your hand. If you withdraw without holding the base, the condom could slip off.

Keep your hand there while you withdraw, and until the penis is all the way out of the vagina, anus or mouth. Pull it off with that same hand on the rim of the condom and your other hand by the tip. Pulling it off by the tip alone not only makes a big mess, you could drip all over yourself what you just worked so hard to keep out. Tie a knot near the base of the condom.

6) Throw the condom away in the rubbish bin – NEVER reuse condoms. And please don’t just toss them outside a car or in a park: not only is that just plain gross and uncouth, it’s unhealthy for the rest of us. (Plus, that also means that now and then, as happened to me when I used to teach Kindergarten, some poor teacher winds up with some little kid finding one, waving it all over everyone and everything, and then said teacher having to quickly come up with a very good story about what exactly the “slobbery balloon” is, knowing her wee ones have just been exposed to gawd knows what.)

Never put two condoms on at once to try and be “extra safe”. Both of them will most likely break due to extra friction, and it just doesn’t work or feel very nice for the wearer. One condom, used properly, is as safe as it gets.

If that isn’t safe enough for you, don’t have sex yet where you need one — stick to outercourse — or, if it’s about birth control worries, back up condoms with a second method.

Some extra tips:

• You or a partner being allergic or sensitive to latex does NOT mean you can’t use condoms. It just means you need to use condoms made out of another material. The female condom is nonlatex, and there are a couple brands of male condoms (like Avanti or SKYN) which are also not made out of latex, but which provide just as much protection for you and yours. “Lambskin” condoms, while nonlatex, don’t provide protection against STIs, so those aren’t the best choice.

• If you are uncircumcised, gently push your foreskin back — only to the point where it’s comfortable — while you’re putting the condom on. When the condom is unrolled about 1/3 the way down the shaft, with one hand pull the foreskin together with the unrolled part of the condom upward while with the other hand unroll the condom to the base of the penis. That way, the condom will allow the foreskin to move as it should. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is — just practice a few times first and you’ll get the hang of it.

• Lubrication is really important. Let me say it again: lubrication is REALLY important.Condoms have a high rate of success, but that rate drops when they aren’t used properly, and one of the easiest ways to break a condom is by letting it get dried out. Buy some lubricant when you buy condoms. Not only will it help them work better, well-lubricated sex is generally more enjoyable sex for both you and your partner. Even if a person who has a vulva is plenty wet on their own, our own lubrication doesn’t tend to work as well (or last as long) with condoms as the stuff made for condom use does. Even when a condom is already lubricated, it’s a pretty stingy amount of lube. Do NOT use butter, oil, body lotion, Vaseline or ANY lubricant other than lubricants intended for use with condoms. If you could buy it in a store aisle where food is displayed, it isn’t the right kind of lube.

• Condoms don’t have to be a pain. Don’t try and rationalize your way out of using one, or put up with a partner who does: you’ll both need to get used to using them for a good part of your life, and even if one partner lets you get away with it, you can be sure another one won’t. Bad attitudes about condoms also tend to form a self-fulfilling prophecy, making them seem like more of a drag than they are.

Condoms keep both you and your partner safe. They’re one of the least intrusive kinds of birth control there is for people of all genders when it comes to sexual side effects. And when you don’t have to worry about getting diseases or getting pregnant, sex is a lot more fun. Being a partner who steps up to the plate and just puts on a condom, without a partner having to beg, cajole, nag or argue, also shows a level of maturity and care most folks are looking for in someone they sleep with. Once you get used to using condoms, it’s a total no-brainer, and when you’re using good condoms properly, they really don’t make a huge difference with sensation.

• You should also wear a condom during oral sex just as much as during vaginal or anal sex, especially with new partners. Most STIs are transmitted through bodily fluids and mucus membranes… both of which exist in and on your genitals and your mouth. While there are more STIs transmitted via direct genital contact, and the risks are higher with vaginal or anal intercourse than with oral sex, there are plenty which can be transmitted orally.

• If you’re a woman who sleeps with women and you use sex toys together which cannot be sterilized through boiling, you’ll want to use condoms every time to cover those toys. While lesbian women have far lower risks of STIs, BV–bacterial vaginosis–in particular gets passed around a lot between women, and if you’re sharing toys, that’s an easy way that can happen. Keeping the toys clean, or covering them if they can’t be cleaned to the point where all germs are killed, keeps everyone safe and healthy.

• Not only do thinner condoms feel better, but because they cause less friction they’re also less likely to break. Yippee! Remember that you don’t have to stick to old-style, plain condoms. The thinner condoms, or those with textures, are just as safe as the plain ones, and many people enjoy the feeling of newer styles better. Want to read about the different styles of condoms to find out what might be just right for you? Check it out!

• When it comes to condoms, don’t scrimp. If you can’t afford them at all, check out your local Planned Parenthood, other sexual health clinics or even community centers or school nurse’s offices. They often give them out for free. And if you find when you go to use a condom you have that it’s broken, or was already opened, or has some other flaw, don’t gamble. Either get a new condom that IS in perfect shape, or if you only have that one, nix sex that requires condom use until you get working condoms.

• Hey, Women! Do yourself and your partners a favor by having your own stock of condoms: don’t be passive and rely on the guys to get them or always have them around. Condom sales studies show that the majority of the time, condoms are purchased by men, and we often counsel folks here through pregnancy scares because two people found they both were relying on the other to be in charge of condoms, and neither were prepared. If women and men alike take charge when it comes to having condoms around, it not only helps prevent finding yourself in a precarious situation, it also empowers both to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex together, which makes not only for better sex and relationships, but for feeling better about sex and shared, equitable responsibility.

heatherHEATHER CORINNA is an activist, artist, author and the director of Scarleteen, the inclusive online resource for teen and young adult sex education and information. She is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and was a contributor to the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She’s received the The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism (2007), The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region’s, Public Service Award (2009), the Our Bodies, Ourselves’ Women’s Health Heroes Award (2009), The Joan Helmich Educator of the Year Award (2012), and The Woodhull Foundation’s Vicki Award(2013).

scarleteenSCARLETEEN is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through the majority of its tenure.
Find Scarleteen on twitter @Scarleteen

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