Too big, too tight. Too thick, too thin. How to find a condom that's the right fit (and won't cause an allergic reaction).
Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming. I remember the first time I went to the drug store to buy condoms. I stared at the wall, wondering, "What the heck is the difference?" With so many vague descriptions (what exactly does Sensi Thin Micro-Layer Technology mean anyway?) it can be really confusing. Most people find a brand they like and stick with it, but if you haven't find a winner yet, here are a few things to keep in mind to help make the decision a little easier.
1. Material. Many people are discovering they have an allergy or sensitivity to latex condoms. For a long time the only non-latex option was polyurethane. These tended to be prohibitively expensive (like $4 each!) and because they were less elastic, they were more prone to falling off. Fortunately they've recently introduced polyisoprene condoms - a synthetic version of natural rubber without the protein responsible for allergies. Polyisoprene condoms have more elasticity than polyurethane and are far less expensive. The two brands to look out for are Lifestyle Skyn and Durex Avanti.
2. Thinness. Unless you want your condom to reduce sensation (for instance, to help with premature ejaculation), you'll likely want a condom that's thin. However, be careful since this can sometimes lead to an increase in breakage. Japanese condoms like Kimono and Crown appear to be the winners on this front. They're some of the thinnest condoms on the market-honest. I know lots of condoms claim this on the box, but in this case it's backed up by countless customers who agree. In spite of their thinness, they're less likely to break due to uber-strict regulations in Japan around condom testing.
3. Texture. Every time I hear "ribbed for her pleasure," I cringe. Like flavoured lube, it sounds like a good idea and some women do indeed enjoy a little extra texturing. But from my experience talking to women, more often than not it's just plain uncomfortable. If you want to give them a try, I'd highly recommend buying them singularly before committing to a box.
4. Size. Did anyone else have a gym teacher in high school demonstrate the stretchiness of condoms by pulling one up their arm? Yup, condoms can be pretty accommodating, but even still, it's important to get one that fits right so you reduce the risk of it breaking or falling off. Standard condoms are 52 or 53mm, but there are a number of different sizes on the market - from the 64 mm wide Trojan Magnum XL to the 49mm Glyde Slimfit.
5. Lubricant. Unless otherwise stated, condoms come pre-lubricated. If you're having a reaction to a condom, it could be you have a latex sensitivity or it's possible the problem is the lubricant they've used. Try switching to a brand that uses a paraben and glycerine-free lubricant, like Sir Richards (we also love that for every Sir Richard's condom purchased the company donates one to a developing country).
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.