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How Do I Choose the Right Condom?

When it comes to birth control, condoms may be a drag (because you're not really in direct contact with your partner), but when used properly, they are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs and they don't require the woman to be on hormones like the Pill, the Patch, the Nuvaring, the Shot, or the Implant. In addition to protecting you, condoms can help if the guy reaches orgasm too quickly by decreasing sensations.

With so many kinds of condoms out there, it's tough to know how to pick the right one. It's important to think about what the condom is made of, if it comes with lubricant, and what size to buy, etc. To figure out how to choose

Material - Latex condoms are awesome because they protect against STIs and prevent pregnancy. Most condoms are made out of latex, but remember to only use water-based lubes with these. Unfortunately, some women have a sensitivity to latex that causes an unbearable burning irritation. If that's the case, try these...

Polyurethane condoms also protect against STIs and prevent pregnancy, and are great for those with a sensitivity to latex. Durex Avanti and Trojan Supra are made out of polyurethane. These transmit heat well, and are ultra-thin and strong so they may feel more comfortable than latex condoms. Both water-based and oil-based lubricants can be used with these condoms.

Lambskin condoms are made out of lamb intestines and 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 be aware that lambskin condoms DO prevent pregnancy, but DON'T protect against STIs including HIV. I've also heard that these break easily so be careful.

Lubricant - Lube can really help make sex more enjoyable, but some lubes on condoms contain the spermicide Nonoxynol-9. This can also cause irritation, so before declaring that you are allergic to latex, try using a condom that is free of spermicide first. If the spermicide bothers you, buy a condom without it and use your own separate personal lube instead.

Size - Most condoms are a one size fits all kind of thing however, if you sleeping with a well-endowed man, you'll need to buy bigger sized condoms. You don't want your man's condom to be too snug a fit as it's both uncomfortable and poses a greater risk for breakage, so pick up a box of Trojan Magnums if regular condoms don't fit - they're a great choice.

For Added Pleasure - Some condoms are colored, have ribs or pleasure spots, some are flavored, and some even tingle Just be sure to read the labels on these to make sure they say that they're effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.

Style - You can also try out a female condom. This is another option that the woman inserts inside her vagina instead of the traditional condoms that fit on the man's penis. It's made out of polyurethane, contains no spermicide, and is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy. They tend to make noise though, which can kill the mood, and some women find them harder to insert than male condoms. They're also a little bit more expensive, but they may protect you better from STIs since they cover up more of your mucous membrane.

Whatever your choice, make sure the condom is on right or else they won't keep you protected.


Join The Conversation
emma- emma- 9 years
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
I only use condoms, I'm not on the pill any longer. I can't stand what the hormones made me feel like - strangely, unsexy... no physical effect on my appearance, just a generally feeling of ickyness when I was using them (which was for 2 years). I did have a scare a few weeks ago when the condom fell off with my partner - I'm only using them for pregnancy protection, since we get tested together regularly, so that was a real mood-killer! But I have my gyno on speed dial, so the morning after pill really saved my ass!
mlen mlen 9 years
i use both the pill and condoms- the pill has the additional benefit of helping my skin but really i'd just rather be safe then sorry, i know two people who got pregnant by accident- 1 was on the pill but some meds counteracted and made the pill ineffective and the second girl wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant. so yea therefore i'm not taking any chances!
georgie2 georgie2 9 years
I hear you Katz, all the same the same to me... I pretty much only used condoms... boy would whinge about having to use them after all that time together and then when i went on the pill he got freaked out about me having to take pills everyday at the same time. Yeah, notice the past tense!! What a baby...
Misskastar Misskastar 9 years
I'm many of you are only using condoms and not on the pill? I hate th idea of being on hormones even low doses. Do you think using condoms is ok for irregular sex...such as long distance relationship where you see your bf maybe once a month?? Just a hypothethical ; )
elizabethgracef elizabethgracef 9 years
I'd say your best bet is to ask him what he likes best, try it out and if you don't like it (though I'm not sure why you wouldn't, they all feel pretty much the same) try a different one next time.
Katz1 Katz1 9 years
How to pick the right condom.... hmm... here's my opinion on this one. NONE! I think the whole, "made for a woman" slogan for condoms are absolutely ridiculous! they all feel exactly the same when they're on the inside! (if you weren't aware of the female anatomy, there are no sensory nerves, past the first 2 or 3 inches in the vag. So all those little bumps and nubs that are all the way up inside there.... can't be felt! I can't say I've ever felt anything different. The only thing that affected me was the spermicide / no spermicide ones. I went an entire month getting yeast infections / UTI infections before I linked it with condoms containing spermicide. After cutting those out I had no further issues. Oh and those packages that contain one condom and that vibrating ring, that things kinda cool tho.
MiyabiNa MiyabiNa 9 years
they need to make an in-between size I think. My bf complains that normal ones are too tight (and I agree), and the brand I like to use doesn't really make "magnum" size. I don't like Trojans because I really don't like the smell. Maybe I should patent a new condom size. I think I'd be a millionaire! LOL
i-am-elle i-am-elle 9 years
I've tried the polyurethane ones before. It felt like a plastic bag to me, haha.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I am allergic to them. but when i did use them, i used the ultra thin Trojans, which were better for him.
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