Tag Archives: non-latex

How an allergy improved my sexual safety

Something was wrong. I was a little itchy and, more concerning, I was sore. You know, down there. I was worried. I’m a safe-sexer, but I had one rather recent indiscretion in my past. As far as those things go, it was a fairly safe indiscretion, but it was one nonetheless.

Condom_pushing_blocksWhat happened was this: I was in bed late one night with my regular, monogamous partner. We had been going at it exclusively with each other for a couple of months, but we had not been tested. In the previous months, we’d been conscientious about protection and had used a condom every time we had sex.

(And, as a side note, I want to add that despite having the largest penis I’ve ever seen, he never once complained about putting a condom on. There was some pinching, and the things very obviously did not always fit well, but it was always more important for both of us that he wear one than he complain about discomfort, and so he always did. Men since, all with more averagely sized penises, who complain about condoms have gotten little sympathy from me.)

This particular time, however, we were travelling, and when the mood struck, we were not prepared. I had my period, so I was confident I could avoid a pregnancy risk if we were very slightly inventive. There was some bargaining– all with myself. He didn’t put any pressure on, but was up for what I decided. And I decided to go for it.

Now, here I was, weeks later. So sore I couldn’t stand to touch my own vagina. I trusted him to tell me if he’d had symptoms of something, but then guys don’t always get symptoms. His promise that nothing seemed unusual or uncomfortable with his body didn’t mean that we were STD-free. And so, heavy hearted and sore-vagina-ed, I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist.

The morning of the exam, things were not looking up. I had developed a blister on my vagina, which had me pretty well convinced that I had either contracted herpes or syphilis. I climbed up into the stirrups, ready to be given bad news.

But, poking at me while I lay uncomfortably on my back, knees falling to either side, the doctor had a different idea. She promised me she would run the STD tests we should have had so much sooner, but she also said she didn’t think my problem was a result of anything I’d contracted from a partner.

“I think,” she said, “that you have a latex allergy.”

And so I do. Latex condoms pinch often, and can sometimes burn. The more often I’m exposed to them, the more intense my reaction and the longer it lasts. If I’m having a lot of sex with latex condoms, I can get to a firey state that takes days to cool. But the allergy is slight, and it’s also cumulative. The discomfort is fairly mild if I stick to 3-4 times a week, and sometimes if I’m going for more than that, the discomfort seems worth it. I’d still rather be protected, and also get to enjoy the sex I’m having.

Of course I can also use non-latex condoms. I can also use other forms of birth control with regular partners, who I always now ask to be tested at the beginning of our sexual relationship.

Monologues are independent stories. The opinions shared are the author’s own.

Learn more about latex-free condoms here and here.

 

We Now Have a Condom Calculator!

That’s right. The overcrowded matrix of condom dimesions has been hacked and neatly reorganized by our techy team. Located in the top menu of our Home page under “Condom “Sizes”. This nifty tool allows you to custom search size, material, flavors, brands, etc., across 100 hundred condoms all in one place.  It’s an upgrade from our archaic condom size charts in which you need to scrool lists and lists of products. The calculator does the searching for you and helps you pinpoint your preferences. Give it and try and let us know what you think! Updates and improvements are never ending. Go to the Condom Size Calculator.  CMRuler-803px-withtext

 

Non-Latex Condom & Dam Size Chart

banana measure tapeThe world of non-latex condoms is a mysterious one. There aren’t many options. In another post we confirm that there is no such thing as flavored non-latex barriers. Also, most manufacturers do not make “special” sizes for non-latex. By special, I mean anything smaller or larger than 2.1″/53mm base wide and 7.5″/190mm long. Some brands offer sizing information on their packaging, such as Lifestyles’ SKYN and Glyde. But most remain vague.

Each of our size guides offers non-latex options (see our main condom chart or try our condom size calculator for a quicker search). We have consolidated that information into this post to make dimensions easier to find.  This chart is organized by “Regular” and “Large”. There is no “small” or “snug” size non-latex.  Scroll to the bottom for female condoms (sometimes called “internal condoms”) and sex dams.

Read more about the differences between polyisoprene and polyurethane.

(Some external links may be affiliate links that earn us a small commission but this information is not sponsored by any company.  All opinions and advice are our own).

Non-Latex Regular

Trojan Supra BareSkin
Made of polyurethane. Trojan’s only non-latex male condom.
Classic straignt shape
Base width: 2.1″/53mm
Length: 7.9″ /200mm

LifeStyles Original SKYN and LifeStyles Skyn Extra Lubricated
Polyisoprene. Praised as the first to make the market- the rest followed.
Base width: 2.1″/53mm
Length: 7.5″/190mm

Non-Latex Large

LifeStyles’ SKYN Large

This is the first ever LARGE polyisoprene condom.
It’s wider than most large condoms but not quite as long.  Ideal for thicker than average men.
Base width: 2.2″/56mm
Length: 7.8″/200mm

Female Condoms

FC2 Female Condom
Latex free, made of nitrile synthetic rubber. Here is FC2 official site.
As of now, there is still a one-size-fits-all approach to female condoms.
Opening width: 3.0″ / 76mm
Length: 7.2″/ 185mm

Non-latex Sex Dams

Hot Dams!
Made of polyurethane. These are the only non-latex we could find.  Do you know of other options (besides saran plastic wrap!).
No flavor added.  Standard size.
6″ X 8″/152mm X 203mm

Dams and condoms are extra special when lubricant is involved.  Don’t forget to use this essential item.

Confused about what condom width fits your penis girth? Simply divide you penis girth by 2.25 (penis girth/2.25 = condom width). Read how we got this formula.

If you think we’ve missed a condom (or dam) or have questions please comment below. Follow us on Twitter – Facebook – G+ for updates.

SKYN Original Polyisoprene Condom Review

 

SKYN Originals have been around a while now and seeing as I am involved in a condom blog I thought it was about time I actually tried the non-latex offering.  In fact, this is the first condom ever made from polyisoprene.

I knew before I tried SKYN that they had advertised as the first and that this material was not latex rubber. However, I did have to ask the question What the f**k is polyisoprene? As it turns out, it is pretty much just rubber. It has very similar chemical structure, however, it’s synthetic and derives from petroleum rather than tress. It’s close enough that it’s sometimes referred to as ‘synthetic natural rubber’.

Although very similar in structure to latex it’s a good alternative for those who have a latex allergy or if the smell and taste of latex repels you. However, it’s not so good if you are trying to ween off petroleum dependency.

SKYN is part of the Lifestyle’s range in the USA and it can be found licensed for sale pretty much across the world including other brands such as Mates in the UK.

Trying a new condom can be oddly nerve racking. A bad condom can break the moment which (of course) is much less of a problem than it actually breaking but still not the outcome one wants! Non-latex still hasn’t yet taken the mainstream market yet…perhaps because they are more expensive or because latex allergy is not very prominent. But one does not need allergies to enjoy these johnnies.

Here’s My Review

So unwrapping the SKYN, my partner and I were not totally sure what to expect.

The moment was pretty much anti-climatic. Tearing open the wrapper, like Charlie looking for the golden ticket, we found simply a condom- a humble, transparent, normal looking rubbery lubricated condom. The condom rolled on very well. No drama. No talking points!

From other reviews I’ve come across, I expected it to feel and sound like sandwich bag, but no. The condom felt great! If no one told me, I wouldn’t have been able to ousted it out as a latex imposter. As much as I could tell it felt the same as a perfectly fitting latex condom. If comparisons had to be drawn I would say it felt like regular Lifestyles Ultra Thin or Durex Love.

Size wise it fit me great. The SKYN original is an average sized condom with a base width of 2.08”/53mm and a length: 7.5”/190mm. There is an XL and extra-lubricated version in the range so it may be worth picking up the multipack to get an idea of what works with you the best. In fact, this is the only non-latex XL condom available on the market!

SKYN say that their condom is softer and more flexible than regular latex. While I can’t for sure say that is the case, I can say after a few uses I have experienced no comfort problems, neither has my partner. They roll on easily, fit well and don’t inhibit feeling during sex. Perfectly satisfied.

I would say they are well worth a try!

Some external links are affiliate links that help us pay for this site. This is not a condom company endorsement. All opinions shared are the author’s own.

Watch Your Mouth! Protecting yourself during oral sex

oral sex protection tipsWe’ve received requests for more info about condoms that are made specifically for oral sex, as well as other safer oral sex methods.  Indeed, the know-how in this area is not as wide known as it should be.  People are less likely to protect themselves during oral sex…even among those cautious sexers who use condoms consistently.  Perhaps this is because some do not consider oral sex to be “real sex” and thus think it’s less risky.  But the fact is that oral sex is sex (some prefer it to genital sex) and many diseases and infections you can catch or transmit through intercourse you can also get through oral sex, regardless of whether you swallow or not.  As one of our readers pointed out, HPV (the most common STI in the USA today) is often transmitted during oral sex (these are some good sources for more info on HPV: HPV AwakeningScarleteen, SEX,etc.).  So in this post we go through safer oral sex practices and how to find the right method for yourself.

To reduce the risk of STIs, you can use latex or non-latex barriers.  For fellatio (oral sex with penis) use a condom.  For cunnilingus and analingus use dental dams, latex or nitrile gloves, or plastic wrap (but remember, not the microwaveable wrap!).

Fellatio and Condoms Options

A condom for safe oral sex can be perfectly satisfying should the right condom be used according to your tastes and needs.  First of all, do not use condoms or lubricants made with spermicide, such as nonoxynol-9 which can numb your tongue.  And do not use any condoms designed to “extend” male performance, such as Trojan’s Extended Pleasure, as these are made with not-so-tasty benzocaine that will leave an unpleasant sensation in your mouth.  Choose condoms that are water-based (most condoms are) or choose a non-lubricated condom.

For those who do not like the taste of latex or have a latex allergy, there are many non-latex options on the market made of polyisoprene or polyurethane (lambskin does not protect against STIs so do not use them for oral sex!).  These non-latex condoms are virtually odorless and tasteless.  However, most non-latex are difficult to buy in stores or pharmacies; but online stocks are varied and plenty.

Flavored condoms or lubricants are also a good option.  You can buy multipacks to determine your favorite flavor and there are usually small sample packs of lube available at sex-shops.  But be sure to use a lubricant that is compatible with the condom material- oil-based lubes cannot be used with latex or polyisoprene.  There are also flavored gel strips, like Masque, which simply dissolves on your tongue like a candy and the flavor lasts for up to 15 minutes.

Dental Dames and Barriers

If you are giving or receiving oral sex from mouth to vulva (outside of vagina) or mouth to anus there are various barrier methods to protect from STIs: Dental dams or making your own barrier from condoms, gloves, or plastic wrap.

A dental dam is a thin rectangle-shaped sheet used for cunnilingus or analingus to protect against sexually transmitted infections during oral sex.  Like condoms, dental dams are typically made with latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene.  There are flavored dams, colored dams, dams that you hold in place, and non-slip no-hold dams. Unfortunately, dental dams are not as readily accessible in pharmacies and retail stores.  This is part of an all too common and dangerous oversight in safe sex inventory.  Often female safe sex products or non-penetrative sex products are placed secondary to condoms and are not as easily accessible.  This is another advantage to shopping online.  Sexual health clinics, such as Planned Parenthood also supply dental dams.

If you and/or your partner are concerned that oral sex will not feel as amazing with a protective barrier, take some advise from Heather Corinna at Scarleteen.com, and put a few drops (not too many!) of lubricant on the genitals of the receiver before putting on the barrier.  This will keep the material from sticking and will increase sensitivity and sensation immensely.

Check out this pamphlet for more information about STIs and diseases that the dental dam protects against.

If you find dental dams too tricky to get a hold of or not the right material/shape for you, you should try making a barrier just for you or your partner using a condom or glove.

These are some excellent sources for step-by-step instructions on how to make a dental dam from condoms or gloves: YouShouldKnow.caSTD.about.com, PAMF.org.

Hopefully this information will help you receive and perform safer oral sex. If you have any further questions or even some extra tips / experiences to share then please leave a comment below.