All dressed up with somewhere to go! It’s a given that many men don’t like using condoms. Putting them on can be a bit of a fumble, they interfere with sensation, and there isn’t the intimacy of flesh on flesh and fluid exchange. These are valid complaints. It’s a bit like driving a car—nobody enjoys the process of getting a license, or paying insurance fees, but the consequences of not having these protections in place can be unpleasant. But you can maximize pleasure with ultra-thin condoms or even vibrating ring condoms.
Condoms were originally created as birth control devices, but they have become even more important in sex because they are the only effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from moving between one partner and another (or even from anus to vagina, when masturbating with a sex toy). Some STDs are merely annoying and a bit embarrassing, while others can kill you or, years down the line, cause harm to your future children.
Types of Condoms
Condoms are usually made from latex or polyurethane. Although the historically minded can still purchase reusable lamb skin condoms, they are only effective as birth control and do not prevent the transmission of most STDs.
Latex Condoms are cheaper than polyurethane. They can only be used with water based lubes—NO do-it-yourself lubes like hand cream, olive oil, or Vaseline break down latex. Some people have an allergic reaction to latex and should use polyurethane condoms instead.
Polyurethane Condoms are thinner (so increase penile sensitivity) and slightly less flexible than latex condoms. For this reason they need more lube than latex condoms—but oil and water based products can be used with them. These condoms are more expensive than latex condoms.
The Male Condom
When we think of condoms, we are usually thinking of the male version that sheathes the penis and is closed at one end.
Reservoir Condoms have a bit of extra material at the tip to contain sperm after an orgasm (this reduces chances of breakage or seepage).
Lubricated Condoms already have lube applied to the inside of the condom, making it easier to put them on and increasing the penile sensations.
Shaped Condoms may be indented below the head of the penis or flared to be wider over the penis head. Most condoms are straight sided.
Flavoured Condoms are designed to make oral sex more fun. Mmmmm, chocolate!
Ribbed Condoms and other textures such as bumps are designed to give more sensation to the receiving partner. Some are specifically designed to create extra stimulation for the clitoris.
Vibrating Condoms are now made by several manufacturers. A small ring at the base of the condom vibrates for extra penile and clitoral stimulation.
Coloured Condoms can give an extra visual thrill or giggle, but otherwise have no special function.
Female Condoms (or Receptive Condoms)
The bonus here is that using the female condom lies within the power of the person who will be penetrated (whether vaginally or anally). This polyurethane, latex, or nitrile sheath has a smaller ring that goes inside the vagina or anus and a larger ring that rests outside the orifice and keeps the condom in place. These condoms have a non-spermicidal lubricant inside them, but extra lube can always be used—just make sure that it is compatible with the material the condom is made of.
One major disadvantage is that female condoms remain more expensive than male condoms. But they still cost less than the average cappuccino!
For really in-depth information on the ins and outs of female condoms, including how to insert one, go to www.avert.org/femcond.htm