MSP Question of the Day: Are some condoms better that others? What is the bestest condom in the whole entire universe?


Question:

My partner and I are want to use condoms. We really don’t need anything super special – no ribbing or warming or tingling or any of that silliness.  But we both want something sturdy. Something that won’t give out, but will still let us feel what’s going on.  Any suggestions? Also, we’re looking into lube while we’re at it and the two major choices are almost always KY or Astroglide. I usually find Astroglide to be kinda runny…are there any better brands that I’m just not aware of?

Answer:
Good question! However, all condoms sold in the US have to pass FDA tests in the US (similar testing in other countries) so they are all essentially similarly effective as long as they are latex condoms sold in the US (polyurethane condoms break a small % more often). If you are buying condoms outside of the US, you will need to look into the testing standards in your own country.

If large size is an issue, try a Maxim or Maxim XL type of condom. If small size is an issue, perhaps a snugger or slimmer fit condom. (If you are outside the US and would like a more personalized condom fit, consider the TheyFit condom). Otherwise, any condom should do and it’s just up to personal preference. If you (or your partner, if your partner is a guy) are prone to erection problems with condoms (as many men are), you might steer clear of the "desensitizing" condoms that help men to last longer as the numbing agents used in them (to desensitize) can numb a man’s penis so much that erections can become more challenging. If you are easily excitable and erections aren’t an issue for you, but rapid ejaculation is, then those condoms types might be fine. 
 
Condoms with roomier heads such as Pleasure Plus, Inspiral or Trojan Twisted Pleasure may provide more sensation to the head of your penis. Once you find a condom that you like, the most important issue is really about using it correctly and every single time. Some people start to have sex without a condom on, or take it off mid-way through – not a good idea. The condom should be on prior to penetration and stay on the entire time for maximim protection. A small dab of lube can be used in the inside tip of the condom to reduce the risk of breakage (and to enhance pleasure), as can lube on the outside of the condom (but just a fair amount – no need for gobs of lube, as too much lube can cause slippage).
 
To reduce the risk of infection even more, consider pulling out (or having your partner pull out) prior to ejaculation, even though you’re using condoms. That way, even if the condom happens to have broken or slipped off, you will have that extra layer of protection. Or get creative and come in different places (like in a towel, on one’s stomach as long as there are no cuts there, etc). Or just do other things like use toys, get into mutual masturbation, watch each other, etc. 
 
If it’s been a while since you’ve read about condom tips, you might read over these tips here
 
As for lubes, there are a lot of decent ones out there but it’s really personal preference. I’d steer clear of spermicidal lubes which contain nonoxynol 9 (N9) and can irritate the vagina or anus. You might check out a local adult bookstore and get a bunch of their small sample-sized "pillow packs" so you can try different ones. Either water or silicone based products are safe to use with latex condoms (oil and petroleum products are big no-nos, as they can cause latex condoms to break). I like Good Clean Love and Just Like Me (both are water-based) but people have a wide variety of preferences. For anal sex or sex that lasts a long time, you might want to go with a more hardy silicone-based lubricant.

Hope this helps – let me know if you’d like more info!!
 

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

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  • Curiousone1

    Me and my boyfriend are talking about sex,we are 15. I am on the pill and have been for a year because my periods were so unpredictible. My question is when is the safest time for us to have sex? We plan on using a condom but incase it would break when is the safest time of the month to have sex? And if I am a virgin will sex hurt?