But it can be a nice raincoat

February 20, 2010

in Sexuality

As it is National Condom Week, I thought I’d do a post on making sex with a condom better less bad. I’m not going to tell you it’s the same, but you can make it very good.

FIT: If it doesn’t fit right, it’s not going to feel right.  Too tight is uncomfortable, and greatly increase the chance of breakage.  To lose will slip, which is not what you want to feel, and increases the chance of the condom coming off or spilling.  Note that length is not usually the issue, as most condoms will unroll well past what 98% of men need to cover. The real issue is circumference. There are now a vast array of sizes available, so keep trying till you find one that feels and works right. If nothing you can find in local stores works, try TheyFit – you can download a measuring page, and then order one of 70 sizes by length and width. (The site seem nudity free, the “TheyFit section certainly is.) If you need a narrow condom, or like the feel of a tight condom, try the highly rated Beyond Seven brand. Several manufactures make XXL condoms if you need more width or length.

THINNER: There are new thinner latex condoms available that pass all the tests. The less between you and your bride, the better. Crown Skinless Skin Condoms are the thinnest on the market, and have been very highly rated by couples for years.

NON-LATEX:

  • There are options other than latex, all of which have advantages, but at a higher cost. Natural skin (lamb intestine) condoms feel much better, but are fairly expensive. These condoms are not particularly popular because they will not prevent spread of disease – but that should not be an issue in a marriage.
  • Polyurethane condoms have been around for about a decade.  They are thinner, and transmit heat better, but they are much stiffer than latex, making sizing difficult if you are not fairly average in width.
  • The newest choice is polyisoprene – LifeStyles “SKYN” and Durex “Avanti Bare”. These condoms are softer and more flexible than polyurethane, and thin.
  • There is a great deal of varied opinion about which of these feels the best, so try them all and see what is best for you.

ALLERGIC?: Up to 10% of the population of the USofA are allergic to latex, so there is a real chance latex condoms are causing a problem for you and/or your bride. Allergies to polyurethane also exist, but are much rarer. It’s also possible to be allergic to the spermicides that are on some, and possible to have an allergic reaction to lubricants. If an allergic reaction is suspected, get a plain non-latex condom and use it without any spermicide or any lubricant other than saliva. If the problem goes away, add one thing at a time till you find what is causing the problem. It should be noted that in cases of a mild reaction, the problem might not be noticed unless there is a sudden increase in sex, and that latex allergies can develop over time due to ongoing exposure.

LUBE: For latex condoms, a water based lube is your best choice. Any oil-based lubricant, including food oils (coconut, olive) will destroy a latex condom. Baby oil can cause a latex condom to fail in less than a minute! Some reports suggest that some silicone based lubes can break down latex during prolonged sex – so if you might go more than twenty minutes I’d avoid silicone. Note that vaginal yeast infection medication can also damage latex condoms. Oil lubricants can be used with lamb skins, but not with polyurethane or polyisoprene. I’ve not seen good data on silicone with any of these, so I’d avoid it.

TRICKS:

  • There are a growing number of condoms with “over sized heads”. These condoms are snug around the shaft and base of the penis, but roomy or baggy around the head. This allows for movement of the condom, which produces better pleasure for most men. The Trojan “Ecstasy” line takes this even further, with the enlarged part of the condom over most the penis, with a normal size “cuff” at the bottom to hold it in place. Try it – you might like it.
  • One brand, Inspiral, has an odd spiral shaped head. Inspiral consistently gets very high ratings from both men and woman.
  • Some condoms, such as Lifestyles Snugger Fit, are narrower where the head of the penis joins the shaft.  Some guys find this feels better.
  • Always lubricate the head of your penis before putting on a condom, and put a couple drops of lube in the tip of the condom. This will keep the condom from sticking, and make things feel better.
  • If getting a condom on quickly is important (as in, when she’s ready, she’s ready NOW) practice till you are good and fast.
  • If speed is not necessary, see if she will put it on for you.
  • If you have a tendency to lose some of your erection when putting on a condom, be sure not to do it while lying on your back. Standing will help, while being on all fours will really help.
  • If you can easily maintain an erection with a condom on, put it on a bit early so it warms up (nicer for her).
  • If you tend to climax too quickly, there are condoms such as Durex Performa, which contain benzocaine. This reduces sensation, and can allow a man to last longer.  Some guys hate the way it feels, and some climax just as fast but with less pleasure, but some men find it really works and does not reduce their pleasure (if anything, it’s better for them because it’s better for their bride!).
  • It’s recommended to change condoms after half an hour of use.
  • If her cycle is regular, look into FAM – Fertility Awareness Method. This allows you to have condom free sex part of the month, when she can’t get pregnant. Then you only use condoms when pregnancy is possible.

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