One of the big factors that held me back from going off hormonal birth control was knowing I’d need to use condoms again. I had nothing but bad memories of them: how they taste and smell, how they dried me out, and how they made intercourse feel different (yup, I said it). I tolerated them for a bit when my partner first started having sex, but once we went steady, we relied on my hormonal contraception alone.
Ultimately, I decided to go off the Pill. To my pleasant surprise, condoms have come a long way since the last time I used them! Increased consumer awareness around ingredients as well as recognition that they absofuckinglutely DO impact sensation has led to a host of new, often female-led, companies making condoms. From better materials to manufacturing processes that remove harmful ingredients and that latex stank, here’s everything you need to know about choosing condoms.
Read More: How to Choose the Best Birth Control for You
Things to look for in condoms
- Thickness. Thinner condoms translate more sensation to you and your partner(s) while thicker ones dull the sensations. Depending on your scenario and goals, choose what works best for you.
- Lubrication. Most condoms come lubricated with silicone lube and this works for some people. Of course, you can always add more (here at PbK we believe wetter is better)! As a reminder, lube reduces friction, enhances sensation, and decreases your risk of irritation and infection. However, if you are sensitive to certain lubricants, you can find unlubricated condoms and add your own.
- Ribbing and texture. Like lubrication, ribbing enhances sensation and gives you new sensations as well. There’s a lot of variety available in terms of types of texture as well as how intense they are. Variety packs are your friend here.
- Spermicide. Avoid it.
- Enhancements like warming, flavors, etc. Avoid if you have sensitive skin. Regardless, have a backup plan in case you have a negative reaction. If you’re looking for flavour, we recommend this lube instead.
- Cost and ease of purchasing. Do you want somethign you can grab at your 24 hour pharmacy or do you prefer to buy in bulk online? What’s your budget? Spoiler: we’ve given you a variety of options below.
Best Latex Condoms
We made it easy to shop the condoms – just click on the name of each and you’ll be taken to a new page to shop.
My ride or die condoms! Maude’s Rise condoms come in easy to open, hard to tear buttercup packages, have no latex taste or smell, and don’t dry me out. Plus, they’re ultra thin and free of harmful chemicals, spermicide, and fragrance. The only downside is that they currently only come in one size, which runs snug.
Condoms, but make it fashion is the best way to describe Lovability. Their party hats are vegan*, free of spermicides, dyes, fragrances, and chemical irritants, and come in the cutest packaging that’ll make you want to carry them around and show them off. Similar to Maude, they come in one size but run on the roomier side.
Black-owned b condoms make “the best condoms in the world”, and spread love and wellness to the community. They make premium quality, organic, vegan, and all-natural rubber latex condoms that are paraben-free, odorless, and use long lasting lubricant. Your purchase helps them provide condoms to the community, and address issues like human trafficking, proper condom use, teenage pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS.
Best Non-Latex Condoms
Skyn is on a quest to #saveintimacy. Their non-latex condoms are made from SKYNFEEL, a material that’s softer than latex. This makes sex more comfortable and lets you and your beau feel everything. Choose from a variety of options including ribbed, ultra-thin, and extra lubricated.
FC2 is a latex-free condom that’s worn inside the vagina or anus. It can be inserted several hours before sex, meaning you get to experience interruption-free intimacy. Plus, the non-latex material transmits heat and sensation more effectively, helping you feel every stroke and thrust more.
The best kind of condoms are ones that you’ll use and enjoy
Like with sex toys, there’s no “one size fits all” best condoms—literally and when it comes to personal preference and sensation! Have fun exploring new condoms to find your favorites, maybe even setting up a sex lab!, and then relax into pleasure knowing that you’ll be protected and oh-so-satisfied.
*Unless otherwise noted, latex condoms contain casein, a milk protein that vegans choose to avoid and may cause reactions in people who are sensitive to dairy and dairy proteins.
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