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Condoms: Polyurethane, Latex, and Lambskin — What's the Diff?

Condoms: Polyurethane, Latex, and Lambskin — What's the Diff?

Going to the pharmacy to pick up a pack of condoms can either be an embarrassing or proud feeling. Either way, it can be so confusing to pick ones out because there are tons of different kinds.

  • Latex - These condoms are the most common and do an excellent job (when used correctly) at blocking semen from getting int the vaginal canal. Latex condoms protect you from pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. You can get ribbed, studded, and even scented latex condoms. You can use water-based lubricants with these condoms.

    Some come with the spermicide Nonoxynol-9, but they don't protect you any better. Nonoxynol-9 was once believed to offer more protection against HIV, but recent studies show the opposite. This spermicide can actually cause women irritation during sex, urinary-tract infections, and can cause latex condoms to have a shorter shelf life.

  • Polyurethane - These condoms are great for people who have a
    latex allergy. In 2002, research was presented at a FDA Science Forum that polyurethane condoms were as effective in protecting against STDs as latex ones. They are thinner than latex condoms, so may offer increased sensitivity, but are also more expensive and slightly less flexible. You can use oil and water based lubricants with polyurethane condoms. Such brands include Durex Avanti and the Female Condom.

    Trojan Supra condoms are also made out of polyurethane. They're actually bigger than regular condoms, so if your man isn't exactly huge in the penis department, this one may slip while you have sex (very unsexy and unsafe).

  • Lambskin - These are actually made out of lamb intestines, so they're not vegan. While the pores of this material are not large enough to allow sperm through, much smaller bacteria and viruses may easily slip in and out between the condom. So lambskin condoms do prevent pregnancy, but DON'T protect against STDs including HIV.

Fit's Tips: Stick to regular latex condoms WITHOUT Nonoxynol-9. If you have a latex allergy, go for the polyurethane.

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