Health classes around the country have impressed upon young minds an awkward visual of health teachers manhandling squeaky latex down the shaft of a banana. Unfortunately, besides horrifying teens, that demonstration failed to inform condom users on finding a condom that works best for them.
You've likely encountered the statistic that condoms are effective at preventing pregnancies 98 percent of the time. The fact is that in real life, that number is much lower. When studies account for human error, effectiveness is reduced to 85 percent.
That means that you (yes, you!) are probably using condoms wrong. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid condom fails with these condom buying tips.
When It Comes To Condoms Size Matters
People never buy clothes without checking sizes and overall fit. That would be preposterous. Yet, when it comes to condoms, we are all too happy to assume a one-size-fits-all approach.
This is true even though one wrong-sized condom will have far more significant implications than an ill-fitting suit.
The first step in finding your size is to eliminate insecurities from the equation. For example, the average length of an erect penis is over five inches, with a five-inch girth. Condom makers take those measurements into account, and all standard condoms should accommodate that size.
Other condom sizes are snug and magnum.
But, like with clothes, different manufacturer's sizing fits differently on everyone. That's why accurate measurements are important. If you have a ruler and a piece of string, it's easy to measure your penis.
Here's How to Measure It Up
- Place the ruler on the base of your erect penis
- Press it in towards your pubic bone as far as it is comfortable
- Record the measurement from the base to tip
- Then, take the string and wrap it around the thickest part of your shaft
- Mark where the string meets and measure your erection against the ruler
If you cannot bear to measure your penis, there is a fun way to check if the standard condom size works for you.
All you need is an empty paper roll and an erection. Next, slide the cardboard tube over your penis. If it fits snug inside, then standard-size condoms work for you.
If it's very loose or tight, then you need to size up or down accordingly.
When trying condoms on, keep in mind that a good fit shouldn't feel strangling, nor should it slide off an erect penis with ease.
Cornucopia of Condoms
There has never been a better time to be a condom shopper in America. There are hundreds of brands multiplied by dozens of types of condoms. This means you shouldn't have trouble finding a condom that's perfect for you.
The best condom is one you will wear every time you have sex, so picking one you like is important. Here are the most common types of condoms.
This is your average run-of-the-mill, dependable ol' latex condom. These are the basic option with no bells or whistles like lubricant or spermicide.
Latex allergies are uncommon, but they do exist. For this reason, there are many latex-free brands made with polyisoprene.
Wet and Wild
Lubricated condoms run the gamut from spermicidal to icy/hot sensations. Condoms treated with spermicide use a chemical called Nonoxynol-9. However, the amount of spermicide on a condom is usually not enough to prevent pregnancy on its own.
Others use lubricants that offer titillating effects such as warming and tingling sensations.
Condoms that are pre-lubricated use a water-based lubricant. Oil-based lubricants damage condoms, so always be careful to read the ingredients before using lubricant with condoms.
Ribbed for Pleasure
Some condoms are textured for you and your partner's pleasure. The texture is on the outside of the condom. Some have bumps, and others have ridges, swirls, and every combo in between.
Common complaints about this type of condom are that it can feel thicker than other condoms, and some say they reduce sensation.
If you identify with the common complaint from above, then ultra-thin or skin condoms are the solutions for you.
Lambskin condoms are a popular type of condom that promises a natural skin-on-skin feeling. Skin condoms are not a new technology;
Ancient Romans used animal skin condoms. They even came with user manuals.
You should know that lambskin condoms are not as effective as their latex counterparts in preventing STIs and pregnancy.
Ultra-thin latex condoms are available for people who desire the thinness of lambskin with the protection a latex condom offers. They can get as thin as .0016 inches.
These condoms are most often used for oral sex. However, most people report that they use no protection for oral sex.
That's a shame since condoms are effective at reducing the transmission of STIs during fellatio. These days flavored condoms taste pretty good. They come in all kinds of adult flavors like piña colada and rum punch.
And Many More
Remember, this list is not exhaustive. There are vegan condoms and fair-trade paraben-free condoms. New to the market, hexagonal condoms are space-age solutions for form and function.
There are also many other fun and novelty condoms, like glow-in-the-dark ones, for you to try. But, be careful. Only use condoms that are FDA approved.
Finding a Condom That's Right For You
Buying the right condom doesn't have to be rocket science. Besides, you're an expert now.
If you're still having trouble finding a condom for yourself, here's some good news. The only way to figure out what you like is to try them out. Set aside some time for some "self-love" (if you catch the drift), with different types of condoms to try.
At New Eden Sexual Wellness Boutique, we are in the business of your sexual health. So, now that you know how to choose a condom, check out our sexual wellness boutique for condoms and more to spice up your sex life.