We often hear about the positive consequences for using latex condoms, and we at ONE® wholeheartedly believe in them. But what about any negative consequences? Here is a fact-based analysis of condom use, and some common complaints (and solutions) that you might have heard.
Common Complaints About Condoms
1. Poor or Uncomfortable Fit
As many as four in five condom users (one recent study estimated 88%) has experienced goodness of fit issues with condoms. In fact a recent flash survey we conducted via Instagram found a number of fit issues, including:
- The condom is too tight, especially at the base
- The condom is generally not the right size
- The condom is too loose, or keeps slipping off
- The condom squeezes the foreskin too hard
It is important to remember that like many other products, one size does not necessarily fit all. If you find that condoms off the shelf are not comfortable, you could explore specialty condoms, including custom-sized condoms like MyONE® Cutstom Fit™ Condoms or dome fit or pleasure tip condoms like ONE® Pleasure Plus® condoms. All of our bodies are different, and by customizing your condom choice, you might just find the perfect fit for you.
2. Limited or Painful Sensation
Another complaint that you might have heard about condoms is that there is decreased sensation or they feel uncomfortable when inserted. Condoms are a quintessential example of barrier method protections against unplanned pregnancies and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). So by their very nature, they aim to avoid direct contact with skin or bodily fluids.
However, this does not mean there should be a lack of sensation or discomfort upon insertion. Condoms come in a variety of thickness and thinness levels, like ONE® Vanish® Hyperthin® condoms, which offer all of the same protection with thin latex rubber to increase sensation.
Also, if you’re finding that condoms are painful or uncomfortable when inserted, you may want to add additional lube to make the experience silkier and smoother. Many condoms come pre-lubricated, but we at ONE® encourage you to use as much as you need.
If you’re using textured condoms (for example, ridged or dotted condoms) and find them uncomfortable, there are several other options to ensure that you and your partner(s) are enjoying your sexual experience without pain. If pain or discomfort persists, it’s worth seeking the medical advice of a professional.
3. Latex Allergy
Are you worried that you or your partner(s) might be allergic to latex? Most standard condoms are made of thin rubber latex, so this can be quite the challenge. Some symptoms of a latex allergy include itching, burning, swelling or feeling raw or chafed. Yikes, no fun!
But there is some good news. There are both non-latex and non-lubricated condoms that you can use instead. These condoms can be made of polyisoprene or polyurethane, though polyisoprene is a bit cheaper. Both options also provide the same benefits as latex condoms.
Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks?
Well, we may have a special place in our hearts for condoms, but that aside the answer is still absolutely, unequivocally yes. Condoms are incredibly effective in preventing pregnancies, making them a great method of birth control. However, unlike other methods of contraception, condoms prevent pregnancy as well as helping protect you and your partner(s) from the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Standard external condoms can also be used during oral sex and anal sex activity, either in their original cylindrical shape or crafted into a dental dam. While use for oral sex is a less common, it is absolutely safe. Furthermore, ONE® Condoms recently became the first condom brand to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use during anal sex, and we’re very proud.
Lastly, there are so many different types of condoms for you to explore if you haven’t found a style or a brand that works for you. Of course, you may be familiar with standard external condoms, but truly that’s just the tip…of the iceberg. *wink* While the cost may vary, all of them offer dual protection to decrease the risk of unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission. Check out all the types of condoms here!
How Best to Avoid Negative Experiences with Condoms
The best way to ensure that your condom use experience is both effective and enjoyable is by following a handful of important tips and tricks. Check them out below:
- Do your due diligence. Before any sexual experience, it’s best to check the exterior of the condom wrapper and expiration date. This is for two reasons: 1) it helps find any damage to the exterior of the condom and 2) it ensures that the condom being used isn’t expired and is best suited to protect you and your partner(s). It’s best to discard and use a new condom if either case is true.
- Open with care. Avoid opening the condom with your teeth or with a pair of scissors. This may be more convenient, but it can also potentially lead to tears or damage to the condom inside, which in turn can lower the effectiveness of protection. If you think the condom is damaged, start with a fresh one.
- Pinch the tip and put it on/in. If you’re using external condoms (formerly, male condoms), condoms actually can’t be turned inside out, there is a correct side. A good way to determine this is by making sure that the reservoir tip looks more like a beanie, and not like a shower cap. Pinch the reservoir and roll the condom down your entire erected penis so it fits comfortably and snugly. Bonus: If you have foreskin, you might consider retracting a bit before rolling the condom down. If you’re using internal condoms (formerly, female condoms), make sure you pinch the plastic ring and insert slowly, ensuring that some of the open end of the condom remains outside with a little slack.
- Be liberal with the lube. We strongly recommend using lube to enhance your sexual experience. Lube will make everything slippery and smooth and will help avoid breakage through friction. Word to the wise - you want to make sure you use water or silicone based lubricant, as oil based lubricants can damage the latex and decrease the effectiveness of the condom.
- Tie off and avoid spillage. Following what we hope is an amazing sexual experience, we recommend slowly rolling the condom down or pulling the condom out, being careful not to spill. You might tie off the condom to be extra sure. Make sure you discard in a safe place like a bathroom trash can. Do not reuse, though!
- Better safe than sorry. If for some reason the condoms breaks or appears damaged, you may be at risk of pregnancy or transmitting or contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Feel free to discard the damaged condom and start with a fresh one. If you’re worried about STI transmission, you can pursue immediate action, including emergency contraception and STI testing. If you need more information on those options, please check out our post here.