The number one lesson in sex education is U S E  C O N D O M S. But what kind of condoms should you use? Flavored ones? Glow-in-the-dark ones? Lubricated ones? The answer is whatever kind YOU would like to use! There’s great variety in condoms, so feel free to be as selective as you’d like when choosing the best option for you.

Why is Condom Use Important?

As an obstructive device, condoms prevent direct genital contact. The consistent and proper use of condoms reduces your chances contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How Should You Examine a Condom Before Use?

You may think the following actions are easier said than done, but they are worth the effort! Forgoing these steps can have a lasting impact on your sexual wellness. Before getting in the heat of the moment, pause and examine the condom wrapper.

• Check its expiration date.

The expiration date of a condom is printed on the back of its packaging. Verify that the printed date has not passed. If it has passed, DO NOT USE IT. Use a condom with a later expiry date instead. Expired condoms can become weak and tear during sex, allowing direct genital contact.

Check for holes.

Inspect the package for damage. “Holes make it easy for fluid exchange between partners,” says PHNTX Behavioral Intervention Specialist Alex Barron, thus making it easy for STI transmission. Press on the wrapper for air resistance. When doing this, if you are not met with air resistance, there’s a possibility that the condom has been punctured. For lubricated condoms, you can also perform a slide test on the condom wrapper. Gently press on the wrapper and slide the condom to the side. Its movement indicates that the condom still has lubricant inside.

What Elements of Condoms Should You Consider Before Choosing One?

Condom usage is sexy! Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s “better” without a condom. Condom use isn’t a turn-off. Risking Chlamydial infection is a turnoff. Spice up your sex life and try condoms with unique traits that you and your partner enjoy. You might be surprised by the outcome!

Texture: Textured condoms are studded, ridged, or ribbed. They provide additional friction on surface of condom.

Flavor: “Flavored condoms are usually used for oral sex. These are not recommended for penetration as some can create yeast infections,” says Barron.

Sensation: Some condoms are offer special lubricated cooling, heating, and tingling sensations.

Color: Condoms come in a wide assortment of colors, including rainbow, glow-in-dark and even holiday themes!

Size: According to Barron, “If a condom is too big it can slip off of the penis. If the condom is too tight, it may be uncomfortable for the wearer, as it may decrease blood flow to the penis.”

Thickness: “Some condoms are thin and can feel as if you are not wearing one. Others are thick and may be a little bit harder to “feel” your partner,” Barron says.

What Are the Differences in Types of Condoms?

Latex Polyurethane Polyisoprene Lambskin
Made of latex Made of plastic Made of laboratory latex (non-allergic)   Made of animal tissue
Protects against STIs Protects against STIs Protects against STIs Does not protect against STIs  
Can be used with water and silicone based lube   Can be used with oil, water, and silicone based lube Can be used with water and silicone based lube Can be used with oil, water, and silicone based lube
Least costly Costs less than lambskin Costs less than polyrethane Most costly

Don’t make condom usage a “chore”. It only takes a moment to check for potential risks before slipping it on. The benefits of choosing your desired condom style may be endless. Make the empowered decision to have safer sex.