The Happy Trail

All condoms are not created equal

The male condom is possibly one of the most commonly used and misused form of birth control in any sexual act involving male genitalia.

Many who use the male condom tend to do so due to its affordability, effectiveness in the protection against STIs and pregnancy as well as the fact that this concrete barrier against potential disaster is ubiquitous among drug stores, super markets and around college campuses such as our own (check out CHWS if you want some for free!). While I could spend an entire article talking about the benefits of male condoms, it is more pressing to address the perceived shortcomings of the product that make some hesitant to employ it in their sexploits.

According to a recent post on the Huffington Post’s women’s blog, one of the top ten things contributors wished sex ed had taught them included the idea that condoms are meant for pleasure before protection. The reasoning behind this new method for teaching condom use is based around the simple idea that if you derive pleasure from something, you are much more likely to try using it again.

Some of the most common complaints among male condom users are that condoms are uncomfortable, fall off, break, decrease sensation or disrupt the mood when one has to stop foreplay in order to open a condom and put it on. Many of these issues are due to a lack of information about differences between various kinds of condoms and the proper ways for using them.

In some cases, one may find that the size of condom he is using is too big or too small for his penis, making tears and accidental slips of the condom more common. Some brands that tend to make larger condoms include Durex, Trojan Magnum and Pleasure Plus. One way to prevent the friction that causes tears is to make sure the condom you are using is lubricated or simply to add a drop of lube to the inside of the condom before application.

To combat a loss of sensation, one may opt to buy a thinner brand of condom such as Maxx or Kimono, but be warned that these brands tend to carry a slightly heftier price tag.

Condoms that also include spermicide tend to cause a numbing sensation and according to reviews are not recommended for use during oral sex due to their awful taste. On the plus side, if your condom is put on correctly, is the correct size and well lubricated, spermicide is not necessary for the prevention of pregnancy—especially if you are using your condom along with another form of birth control in penis-to-vagina encounters.

Additionally, you or your partner may be allergic to latex or spermicide, making condoms less appealing. If this is the case, the simplest fix is to switch to a non-spermicidal condom to see if any negative tingling/burning sensations continue, and then to switch to a non-latex alternative if these symptoms persist. Be warned, however, that non-latex condoms tend to carry a lower success rate in the prevention of pregnancy and STIs.

If you feel that condoms are still boring you and disrupting your mojo, you have more options! Try variety packs or shop around sex stores and online to experiment with different types of ribbing and color combinations. There are flavored condoms, warming condoms, cooling condoms, extra ribbed condoms, tuxedoed condoms and glow-in-the-dark varieties for almost every occasion you can think of.

So next time either you or your partner feels that it is important to stay safe but is hesitant to make the male condom a part of the act, try something new and you may be surprised at the difference.