How to choose the right condom: The size, material, flavour

Updated: Mar 14, 2011, 20:49 PM IST

Condoms are available in different sizes, shapes, materials and flavors. How to choose the right condom for you?

Condoms are those small rubber things which men put on their penis before sexual intercourse but they often do not want to use them. Some men say that they are too tight, or they do not feel enough friction, or they have problems with the size of condoms or allergies. Anyway, the list of excuses why men do not want to use condoms is long.

Nevertheless, condoms are a perfect and, among the methods for protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in particular, one of the most effective methods which mechanically prevents ejaculation of semen into the vagina.

Twelve of a hundred women whose partners use condoms get pregnant per year (88% efficiency). The probability of getting pregnant per one sexual intercourse is 1 : 2500.

Here, we will not provide instructions how to use condoms because every packet contains a leaflet with such instructions. This time, we will give a detailed overview of condoms. So, let us begin with the size.

Choose the right size of a condom

Condoms have different sizes. Of course, there are basic condoms, which fit tightly to the shape of the penis, or XXL condoms. Condoms vary in length from 6.5 inches to 8.5 inches, and they also vary in width, i.e. from 2 inches onwards, whereby some condoms are different in width at the head and at the root, which ensures greater pleasure and comfort. You should definitely choose the one that suits the size of your penis. Condoms that are too small can split quickly and condoms that are too big can slide off your penis.

Choose the right material of a condom

Materials are different as well. Today, condoms are made out of latex (rubber), polyurethane (plastic) or animal tissue. All condoms provide equal protection against pregnancy, but protection against sexually transmitted diseases in condoms of animal origin is not so effective. Condoms made out of latex are the most recommended for protection against STD, and they are also the most accessible in terms of price and offer, as you can buy them in almost any shop. People allergic to latex use condoms made out of polyurethane. These condoms are very thin, and they are also used by couples who are not allergic to latex because of increased sensitivity. Polyurethane condoms are also recommended for users of various creams against fungi infections. When using polyurethane condoms, you can use oil based lubricants, but it is better to use water based lubricants with other types of condoms because oil based lubricants can damage the condom.

Choose the right texture and flavour of a condom

Condoms can be smooth or ribbed, which provides an additional pleasure during sexual intercourse for the couple. There are different flavours as well, such as menthol, banana, strawberry, etc. The flavour of condoms should definitely be discussed with your partner because it is very likely that your partner will not like certain flavours, or he/she will like a particular flavour so much that he/she will not want to take it out of the mouth.
Condoms are packed separately, i.e. one in every packet. They can be dry, lubricated with water based lubricants or spermicides. Although spermicides provide greater protection against pregnancy, condoms lubricated with spermicides increase the risk of HIV infection. Nonoksinol-9, present in spermicides, can irritate the vagina, thus making it more exposed to HIV. In any case, condoms with spermicides are still better than nothing.