Choosing a condom

There are so many condom varieties on the market – lubricated, textured, ribbed, latex or non-latex, flavoured, etc. – that the options can become overwhelming when it comes time to make a selection. Here’s what you need to know.

Sizes

Since condoms are very flexible, the standard size is suitable for most men. 

  • If the standard size seems too tight, select a larger size.
  • If the condom tends to slide off during intercourse, go for a smaller size or one with a tapered base.

Materials

Most condoms are made of latex, a natural material that is both resistant and protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, which causes AIDS.

If you’re allergic to latex, choose condoms that are made of polyurethane or polyisoprene. These two types of very flexible plastic have the same properties as latex, but are usually better tolerated by people with allergies. 

Condoms come in various thicknesses. The thinner the condom, the less its presence is felt. Thinner condoms are just as resistant to tears as standard condoms. The choice of thickness is simply a question of personal preference.

Lubrication

Most latex condoms are lubricated on the interior surface in order to make it easier to unroll onto the penis. Some condoms are coated with lubricants that cause sensations on the penis or in the vagina, such as heat or tingling. These lubricants are designed to increase pleasure, but may be an irritant to certain users.

Flavours

Some condoms are flavoured, usually with a fruit flavour such as strawberry or banana. They are designed for oral sex and should not be used for vaginal or anal intercourse, because the substance used in the flavouring can cause vaginal or anal irritations or infections.

Textures and shapes

Condoms are available in various textures (e.g. ribbed, dotted) designed to enhance the sensations for the man wearing it and/or for his partner.

They are also available in different shapes designed to improve the fit, comfort and hold on the penis.

Some tips

  • Don’t hesitate to try several types of condoms in order to find the one best suited to your needs.
  • Always use a water- or silicone-based lubricant with latex condoms. Petroleum-based products can make latex more prone to tears and breaks. 
  • Be careful with cold and hot temperatures (e.g. leaving condoms in a car), as they can damage condoms.
  • Don’t use a condom if it is past its expiry date or if it is damaged.
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