By Melissa White, CEO and Founder of Lucky Bloke.
As CEO at Lucky Bloke, converting non-believers to a better sex life with condoms has become my passion and simply doesn’t get old. So if you would file yourself in the love-to-hate condom category, or you’re sleeping with a partner who is a condom foe, or even if you’re just curious about better sex with condoms, I’m here to empower you with a condom primer that is guaranteed to radically improve your safer-sex pleasure.
First, you’re not alone.
You see, everyone is told to use condoms. But very, very few are taught how to choose condoms. Here are three things you should know about that.
1. Condoms aren’t one-size-fits-all.
Little-known fact: condom size is the most critical factor in increasing safety and pleasure with condoms.
Have you ever worn a bra that didn’t fit right? Whether you endured straps digging into your shoulders, relentless underwire stabbings, or cups that bunched up, you understand that an ill-fitting bra is at best distracting and at worst downright painful.
Just like a perfect-fitting bra, a well-fitting condom will take your (and your partner’s) mind off of the condom and onto giving and receiving pleasure.
Condoms are available in three basic sizes.
Smaller condoms are the best option for 35% of men. If you have ever had sex and the condom slipped around or came off inside of you (and yes, that does happen)—or if your partner’s chief complaint is that wearing condoms feels like a paper bag—that partner probably should switch to using a smaller-than-standard condom.
PRO-TIP: If your partner would benefit from a slightly-smaller-than-standard condom yet doesn’t need a true “small condom,” there are a few excellent Japanese condoms that are simply narrower than standard condoms. These include some of the thinnest condoms on the market—so there will be very little getting between you and your partner.
Standard condoms are the best option for 50% of men. If your partner is in this category, you’ll have a wealth of condoms from around the world to choose from. That includes lots of premium options that are likely superior to anything you’ve tried before.
Larger condoms are the best option for 15% of men. If your partner has a history of broken condoms and serious discomfort when it comes to wearing condoms, he has likely been wearing condoms that are too small for him and needs a larger condom. Internal condoms are another option worth exploring, especially if your partner finds even larger condoms uncomfortable.
PRO-TIP: It’s good to be aware that there are also a number of between-size condom options available—for example Kimono Microthin Large—that bridge the gap between “standard” and “large” size condoms.
Here’s a trick to determine the best condom size for your partner. If you’re still at a loss regarding your partner’s perfect condom size, or if you have multiple partners or just want to stock up on a variety of sizes, Lucky Bloke has a “Not Sure What Size Condom to Buy” Sampler.
2. Shapes, and materials, and flavors…Oh my!
Getting a general idea on what condom size you need to buy is just the beginning. Just as not every bra in your size is equally comfortable, not all condoms in the same size range will feel the same. And while you may have a go-to bra for when you want comfort and something sexier for a night out, I hear from lots of condom users who switch up shape, texture, and flavor to match their mood.
My best advice (once you’ve determined the best size to use) to those committed to improving their sex with condoms is to get ready to explore a variety of condoms. And I often find that with condoms, as with so many things, you get what you pay for. Nothing against free or low-priced condoms, but high quality condoms are often worth the price. Premium condom samplers provide an inexpensive way to start exploring. (Lucky Bloke’s samplers include top-rated condoms in categories like Ultrathin, Flavored, and Textured.) Not only will you get a great condom variety, you will do so without having to buy entire boxes of twelve identical condoms in order to find the condoms that work best for you and your partner.
Non-latex condoms might be worth investigating even if you’re not allergic to latex. (And naturally we have a condom sampler for that, too) The non-latex options in our sampler* protect from STIs and pregnancy and offer amazing sensitivity, heightened feeling, and heat transfer.
*Note: Lambskin condoms, while in the non-latex category, aren’t included in the samplers since they’re not ideal for everyone. While they do prevent pregnancy, they will not protect you or your partner from contracting HIV or other STIs.
3. Lube Matters. (And how!)
The truth is that most everyone’s sex life can benefit greatly from some high-quality lubrication. However, there are many lube myths that may be keeping it out of your bedroom.
Do you think you need to be a certain age to use lube? You don’t! Are you afraid that using lube might mean that there’s something wrong with your sex life? Really, nothing could be further from the truth!
For condom users, extra lube has some major benefits. Simply put, exposing your most delicate parts to latex will dry you up—no matter how excited you may be. A study that looked at people’s arousal levels with and without condoms found that men who used a condom without lube were slightly less aroused than those who didn’t use a condom or lube. The kicker? The men who used a condom with lube got as aroused as those who didn’t use a condom at all! And provided you are using a high quality, condom-compatible lubricant, your condom is less likely to break during intercourse.
It’s time to declare your days of suffering through mediocre experiences with condoms officially over. Your sex life will thank you. Guaranteed.
Melissa White is the CEO & Founder of Lucky Bloke, a site committed to making it easier for couples to find condoms they love to use. Lucky Bloke offers guidance and education on condom sizing and fit, along with a carefully curated assortment of strictly superior condoms and lube from around the world. (And 10% of their sales are given to urgent humanitarian causes!) Melissa also launched the theCondomReview.com, a website featuring thoughtful reviews and straightforward opinions on every brand of condom worth using. We invited Melissa to contribute to Bedsider because she’s super-knowledgeable about condoms. Bedsider received no support from Lucky Bloke, directly or indirectly, for posting this article or for any other reason.