Condoms are probably the most important step you have to take to ensure that you’re having safe sex. Despite the fact that there are many different contraceptives available, condoms are the only method that can protect you from a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in addition to preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
There is an incredibly wide selection of condoms on the shelves, and it can be overwhelming to try to choose the right condom for you and your partner. There are different materials, sizes, and types available, and there are even male and female condoms to choose from. So how can you tell what are the best condoms for men and women?
Keep reading to find out how to choose the right condom for your needs at STDWatch.com.
When it comes to choosing the best condom, there are different factors that you need to take into account, such as penis size, condom materials, lubrication, and whether you’re in a committed relationship or not.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that you should take into consideration while choosing condoms.
How to choose the safest condoms
According to Sex, etc. by Rutgers University, condoms can be made of many different materials, including:
- Natural skin (lambskin)
If you want to stay safe from STIs — as you should! —, condoms made of latex, polyisoprene, nitrile, and polyurethane are the way to go, since they’re the only materials from the list that can keep you protected from infections.
Latex condoms are the most common type of condom, and they’re also the most affordable. According to Planned Parenthood, male condoms are 98 perfect effective against unwanted pregnancies with perfect use — which means that you make sure to use them every time you have sex — and 85 percent effective with real-life use. Consistent condom use is also very effective in preventing STI transmission, including HIV. Condoms will be more effective if you remember to use them correctly every single time you have sex.
Keep in mind that as the CDC mentions, you should avoid oil-based lubricants (such as petroleum jelly, massage oils, mineral oils, and body lotions) while using latex condoms. The oil in these substances can weaken the latex and cause your condom to break.
How to choose the right size condom
Most condoms will fit most penises, but it’s important to find the one that fits you just right. If a condom is too small, it may break; but if it’s too big, it may slip off during intercourse. Ill-fitting condoms can also make sex uncomfortable and cause anxiety.
Girth is usually more important than length to choose the right condom. You can use a piece of string to measure your penis length and girth while erect, and then measure that piece of string using a ruler or measuring tape.
Condoms from different manufacturers can vary, but typically, penises with a girth smaller than 4.7 in need a snug fit, a girth between 4.7 - 5.1 in need a regular fit, and penises with a girth wider than 5.1 in need a large fit.
The best condoms for couples
Some monogamous couples choose to use lambskin condoms because they feel like these condoms allow for greater sensation during intercouse. Lambskin has tiny pores in it, which means that these condoms won’t protect you against STIs, only against pregnancy.
However, it’s very important to be completely honest about whether you’re being monogamous before you start using lambskin condoms. If you’re unsure about this, it’s a good idea to keep wearing condoms that can protect you from an STD. You do, however, need to keep in mind that some STIs can remain completely asymptomatic for many years, which explains why some people can show symptoms of a new STD even if they’ve never cheated before. Both partners should also get tested for different STIs before switching to lambskin condoms.
The best condoms for latex allergies
Although rare, some people are allergic to latex, and they experience allergic symptoms when they touch latex products, such as condoms, gloves, or balloons. Symptoms of a latex allergy can range from mild to severe, and according to the Mayo Clinic, they can include:
- Skin redness
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Scratchy throat
In these cases, you can use condoms made of polyurethane, polyisoprene, and lambskin. If you or your partner are allergic to latex, you can also give female condoms a try. According to the Cleveland Clinic, female condoms are made of nitrile and they’re placed internally, inside a woman’s vagina. These condoms have an outer ring that stays outside of the vagina and covers part of the vulva, which helps protect the skin from infections like HPV and herpes.
Condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs. This method is easily accessible, affordable, and available in a wide range of options. In addition to using condoms, regular STD testing is another way to practice safe sex. You can learn more about STD testing at STDWatch.com.
- Do condoms work? What’s the best brand and which type of condom is most effective? - sexetc.org
- How effective are condoms? - plannedparenthood.org
- Condom Fact Sheet In Brief - cdc.gov
- Condoms - my.clevelandclinic.org