When it comes to safer sex, condoms are one of the most popular non-hormonal birth control options out there. They are the only method of birth control that protects against STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) and an awesome option for people who have sensitivities to hormonal birth control methods. Condoms can also be used with/on sex toys for convenience and easy clean up. However, efficacy ranges from 79% to 99% depending on accuracy of use, so making sure you 1) consistently use them with every sexual encounter and 2) find a material and fit that works well for your body or your partner’s body, will be important in ensuring condoms are as effective as possible. Here is a simple breakdown of the types of condoms types.
Latex condoms keep you protected from STI’s and pregnancy, boasting only a 2% failure rate when the method is used properly. They are inexpensive and easy to use. To make condoms as effective as possible, always check the expiration dates, keep them stored in cool and dry places, carefully open the packaging (avoid scissors or your teeth!), use a new condom every time you have sex and pair with a water-based lubricant (only).
If you have a latex allergy, polyurethane condoms are another option. They are slightly less effective than latex, but the plastic tends to fit more comfortably and transmit heat better than their latex counterparts. Like latex condoms, always check expiration dates, store properly, and use a new one every time you have sex.
Polyisoprene condoms are stretchier than polyurethane condoms. For this reason, many people feel that they help increase sensation during penetration.
Internal condoms (“female condoms”)
Sometimes referred to as “female condoms”, internal condoms are a good option for people that have allergies to latex or for people that don’t like the constricting feeling of traditional external condoms. They’re made of polyurethane or nitrile (synthetic rubber) and slide into the vagina or anus to provide protection from STI’s and pregnancy. They can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex which may be appealing to people that don’t want to interrupt foreplay to put on a condom. When using, always make sure the penis is guided into the condom and doesn’t slip between the condom and vagina/anus. Internal condoms should NEVER be used with a traditional condom. The friction from the rubbing of the 2 materials together can cause breakage.
- A condom can be cut down the middle and rolled out to create a dental dam in a pinch!
- Integrate condoms into your foreplay to reduce interruption. Roll it on while stimulating your partner manually or orally (just be mindful of those teeth!)
- Ribbed, colored, flavored or even glow-in-the dark condoms can be easily found at most sex shops or online. While they can be fun to change things up in the bedroom, always double check the box to make sure they are designed for protection and aren’t simply for novelty (this will be clearly outlined on the packaging)
Regardless of which condom you use, we always recommend using a water-based lubricant to enhance sensation and reduce the risk of breakage. While oil-based lubricants can feel wonderful, they are not suitable for barrier methods or most sex toys because they can wear down the materials.
A note about ingredients
The Bloomi currently only carries vegan, clean, latex condoms. These are free of all the bad stuff: nitrosamines, phthalates, parabens, casein, alcohol, spermicides, artificial dyes, flavors and fragrances. Although we realize the importance of offering non-latex alternatives, there are currently no ‘clean’ condoms in the other made with alternative materials that have passed our clean criteria. If you have any suggestions for our marketplace, please reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.