If I remember to put a condom on that’s enough isn’t it? Well, with sexual health messages focusing on the importance of putting a condom on, it can be easy to forget that it is also crucial to find the right condom for you. Condoms come in all different shapes, sizes, textures, colours and flavours and finding the correct one is important, both in terms of keeping safe and enjoying the sex you are having!
Condoms come in all different lengths and sizes, to reflect the fact that, guess what, so do our penises! There isn’t one standard size of condom, although availability and names of different sizes may vary depending on where you are (pharmacy, charity, clinic etc.). A good place to start might be the theyfit website. They have condoms in, wait for it, 95 different sizes!
Questions about whether you need to use a thicker condoms for anal sex are commonly heard by our outreach workers. The answer actually no (as there is no significant difference in failure rates), but some men and their partners prefer using thin, or ultra thin condoms to improve sensation. Others prefer thicker ‘delay’ condoms which do the opposite and reduce sensation.
Lubricated or non-lubricated
Whether you’re having anal or vaginal sex you might prefer to use a pre-lubricated condom. Some men would rather use a non-lubricated condom and use their own lube (see note below!). When having anal sex (in particular) using a lube can make the sex safer, as it reduces the risk of condom breakage, and can make it more pleasurable too.
Latex or non-latex
Most condoms are made from latex. If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, or even if you don’t like the feeling of latex condoms it might be an idea to try non-latex condoms. Some men and their partners prefer the feeling of these condoms saying that they give a more ‘natural’ feel.
What we like the feeling of is quite subjective, but whatever feels good there are condoms out there to match. You can find ribbed, bumped, groove and studded condoms to name but a few.
Flavoured and coloured condoms
Condoms can be found in all different flavours, including some you might not expect. I can’t imagine whisky condoms selling as well in England as they do north of the border. You can also find different coloured and even glow in the dark condoms, as well as themed condoms like Halloween and Christmas!
So, now you’ve chosen the condom you want to use, but how do you put it on? This handy poster produced by AVERT explains in 3 easy steps:
Remember, use a water based lube, as oil based (e.g. Vaseline/baby oil etc.) can break latex condoms. And, finally, putting on a condom doesn’t have to disrupt the mood – many men include putting on the condom as part of foreplay and ask their partners to do it for/with them!