Safety First: My Favorite Condoms

My trusty bedside box of condoms

I was cleaning my house over the weekend and I got to my condom stash. This isn’t a rarity, I don’t keep it tucked away somewhere out of sight but something about seeing it this time made me realize I have never done a “here are the condoms I like and recommend” post which feels like an oversight for a sex blogger about to celebrate her 4th anniversary (next week!). So here it is, a post about my favorite condoms! Something you will notice is that none of my recommendations are latex. This isn’t because I hate latex or think there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that I find other materials to be much more versatile. Also, some folks are allergic to latex, so this helps you dodge that problem.

A note on size: Contrary to what all those “I can fit my whole arm in it!” videos would have you believe, size does matter when it comes to condom fit- a too-tight condom can be uncomfortable and possibly lead to breakage- get condoms that fit. All of these condoms have proven comfortable with the larger penises in my life (FC2 & Unique as-is and SKYN in their Large option) but I have heard reports of the SKYNs being ill-fitting even in their larger size – YMMV.

PicMonkey Collage (22)Finally, did you know that I have a condom sponsor? True story. Lucky Bloke has been the official safer sex sponsor of The Redhead Bedhead since 2013. I work with them because they do an excellent job of curating their condom selection, they are committed to education, and I’ve always found their samplers, which let you test several different condoms without committing to a whole box of anything, to be really cool – I even partnered with them to make one of my own: The Sexy Superhero Hook-Up Survival Kit.

One more thing: If you feel inspired to do some safer sex shopping, the wonderful folks at Lucky Bloke are offering a special discount to Redhead Bedhead readers! Use code redheadbedhead20 for 20% off your order!

Now, without further ado, my favorite condoms!

Lifestyles SKYN Polyisoprene Condoms

SKYN CondomsWhen it comes to condoms as most folks know them, these are my favorite. Made with polyisoprene, they are soft, lovely, and suitable for folks with latex allergies. SKYN comes in several varieties including Extra Lubricated, Studded, Large and a new “Elite” version, which I’m really curious about. Long story short, these feel great (partners agree) and are my go-to when I’m feeling lazy as my other faves do require a little extra work and sometimes “familiar” = “easy”. One important note, while theses are not latex, some of the same rules apply. Generally if a lube wouldn’t be safe to use with a latex condom (ie oil based lube) it’s not safe to use with these.

Get them here

FC2 Internal Condoms

FC2 Internal CondomsMy love of these is no secret.  I think internal condoms are, pants down, the most underrated safer sex product on the market today. I just adore them. There’s a lot of unfair FC2 hatred floating around on the web so before we get down to business, let’s bust some FC2 myths:

  1. They are “crinkly” – The first incarnation of female condoms, way back when, were made of polyurethane and were apparently crinkly and folks seem to think this is still true. Nope. They are now, and have been for years, made of super-soft nitrile.
  2. They are hard to use. Once you learn how to insert an FC2 it’s easy-peasy. I know some folks prefer to take out the inner ring and I understand that impulse but haven’t felt the need myself. The upshot is, if the ring is poking you, it’s in wrong.
  3. They are “weird”. Maybe they seem weird at first but, honestly do you really think the first person to don a standard condom thought “This feels totes natural!”? Everything new is weird at first. Stop dismissing things that aren’t familiar like a 3 year-old. The “ew, weird” tendency of our industry (and maybe the internet in general?) is infuriating and leads to promising products being dismissed in waves of snark.

Now, what’s awesome about FC2? How do I count the ways?

  • They are nitrile and thus can be used with any lube including oil based.
  • They essentially line the inside of the vagina and cover the outside of the vulva allowing you and your partner to each use your preferred lubes. I do silicone inside and a thick water based on the vulva! I like to squirt a bunch of silicone lube inside mine and squish it around before inserting because, hospitality and all.
  • They cover more genital real estate offering a bit of extra protection against things like HPV and Herpes which are transmitted via skin to skin contact.
  • They warm to your body temperature and (I find) become less noticeable by far than most external condoms.
  • During period sex they can help confine blood to the area above the condom while you’re getting down – now, I say “can” and “help” because it’s not a sure thing. Sometimes a heavy flow will laugh in the face of an FC2 but often it can keep things a bit less messy (and it looks cool when you pull it out- if you find body stuff as fascinating as I do).
  • Finally, you don’t have to jump right up after sex and take them out – you can collapse in a cuddly heap for a bit. Seriously. If you want to be sure it won’t leak just reach down and give the end a twist. Then go back to cuddling.

I have introduced several partners to these and watched them go from skeptics to supporters really fast.

Get them here.

Unique Condoms

Unique CondomsSo, Unique condoms are interesting. They came out a couple of years ago and the sex blogging community took a collective dump on them. Now everyone is entitled to their opinions and everyone’s experience is valid but honestly, I think these condoms are largely misunderstood. (Also, they made a poor lube decision at the beginning -Vaseline, wtf?-, which has since been corrected with silicone based lube.) These are, indeed, unique. These are made with, wait for it, resin and can be used with any lube- but only outside the condom. Why? Because they need to be put on a dry penis. That even feels weird to type but it’s true. If there is lube (or anything else) on the penis, it just won’t work. Also, they are, when they first go on, crinkly, it’s true.

Okay, I’ve talked about the weird parts, now let’s talk about the magic. To explain it best I’ll walk you through how I use them: Once my partner has used the pull tabs (yes there are pull tabs that may seem like a brand new concept  but a brand called Sensis was actually using them in 2010) to apply the condom to a dry penis, I lube up my hands and provide manual stimulation. This warms up the condom and takes it from “crinkly” to “second skin” and then, seriously, no joke, it feels like nothing is there. The first time I used one I remember thinking “oh, this is what it would be like to fuck him without a condom”. That partner and I are now fluid-bonded and, frankly, it wasn’t far off. That partner actually loved these so much he now keeps a stockpile of them in his nightstand. I was not so smart and kind of regret it. They’re pretty rad.

Get them here

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