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Condoms are one of the most common types of contraception used. They are a barrier method which prevent pregnancy and protect from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
But you might be surprised about the array of different condoms that are available. Not only do they come in different thicknesses and sizes, but there are different colours, materials and even some that glow (yes, you heard that right!). If you’re confused or unsure about which type of condom is best for you, then keep reading.
Latex condoms are the most common type. These are made from natural rubber and are one of the safest forms of contraception, but you need to ensure you have the correct size for maximum effectiveness.
Some people are allergic to latex and may suffer from rashes and/or hives after use. If this is you, then you will need to use non-latex condoms (see below).
If you find yourself having an allergic reaction to latex condoms, then non-latex is the type you need.
They can be made out of a variety of materials which include:
Polyurethane – this is a thin plastic. They don’t fit the penis as tightly as latex condoms so there is a higher risk than with other types that they might slip off.
Polyisoprene – this is a synthetic rubber which doesn’t contain the proteins responsible for causing a rash that are found in latex. These are stretchier than latex condoms.
Lambskin – Lambskin condoms are a type of natural condom and are made from lamb intestines (we know…it’s not the most pleasant thought is it? ). It’s important to note that whilst lambskin condoms prevent pregnancies, they don’t protect against STIs.
Lubricated condoms have a layer of lubricant (lube) on the condom. This helps to reduce friction, pain and irritation during sexual intercourse.
Adding lube to a condom also decreases the likelihood of the condom breaking. Some people even say that it adds pleasure and sensation (sounds like a win to us!).
If you decide to use non-lubricated condoms, then it is a good idea to add lube to the condom to make sex more comfortable. When choosing which lube to use you need to ensure that it is water-based or silicone-based – not oil, as this can erode the condom.
It’s possible for STIs to be transmitted orally, so if you’re using a condom for oral sex, then lubricated condoms may not be the most pleasant. Instead you could opt for a flavoured lube or even a flavoured condom.
As the name suggests, flavoured condoms have an added taste to them, such as strawberry or blueberry. They are great for spicing (not literally) things up!
It’s important to note, however, that they are only intended for oral sex. They are not to be used for penetrative sex (unless the label says otherwise) because the sugars used to create the flavour can cause irritation and, in some cases, thrush. They are, however, generally considered equally as effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs as other condoms.
Some condoms have added texture on them, such as ribs and studs. These are designed to add pleasure and increase sensation as they stimulate nerves in the genitals better than non-textured condoms.
They are just as effective as non-textured condoms, but some people find that the added texture can be uncomfortable during penetrative sex.
Some condoms contain a chemical called nonoxynol-9 which kills sperm to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
This type of condom might sound slightly scary, but it’s completely safe, and usually only contains a small amount of the chemical.
For some people, however, nonoxynol-9 can cause irritation. Spermicide condoms can often have a lower rate of effectiveness than others as there is the risk that the chemical could damage the condom and cause breakage.
These condoms are designed to go inside the vagina, as an alternative to external condoms. They are made from a soft, thin synthetic latex although you can get non-latex alternatives.
Female/internal condoms are 95% effective and less widely available than male/external condoms. They are also usually more expensive.
However you choose to wrap it up, have fun with these different types of condoms. And remember, keeping yourself protected is never boring!
8. Glow in the Dark
Yes, a glow in the dark condom is a real thing! This is one type of many novelty condoms that are great for adding some fun to the bedroom.
However, you need to check the packaging to make sure it clearly states that this type of condom protects against pregnancy and STIs, as some are not approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and don’t provide sufficient protection.
Enjoyed this article? Read more here: First condoms approved for anal sex