What kind of condoms are best for men who have sex with men?
There are no condoms specifically made for man-to-man sex, but
some are better than others. The lambskin condom, usually made from
lamb intestine, is about the worst choice you can make. Not only
does it sound gross (especially to you vegetarians), but this condom's
membrane is so porous that it can't stop HIV from passing through
it! Straight couples may use it as an effective birth control method,
but gay men should leave lambskin on the store shelf (or better
yet, in the lamb).
Don't use condoms or lubes containing nonoxynol-9(N-9), because
studies have shown that N-9 may actually increase your risk for
HIV, and irritate the lining of the anus. However, if your choice
is between no condom or a condom containing N-9, use the condom.
Latex condoms, on the other hand, are made from a synthetic rubber
material that HIV can't penetrate. According to the June, 1999 issue
of Consumer Reports, which tested 30 brands of condoms, only two
failed the standard test that measures condom strength: Trojan Plus
2 Spermicidal and Durex Pure Protection Spermicidally Lubricated.
The magazine also reported that "extra sensitive" condoms
are indeed thinner but not weaker than the standard condom. (To
order the June, 1999 issue of Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645,
or visit www.consumerreports.org. Request article #9411).
How should a condom feel when I put it on? Good, darling, the condom
should feel good. Be sure it fits tightly enough so it won't slip
off your penis during sex -- though you don't want it to squeeze
too tightly either. If regular condoms feel too constrictive, try
the wider and longer size large.
Can I keep a condom from breaking?
There's always a chance that a perfectly fine condom will break
during sex. There are, however, things you can do to help steer
clear of trouble. Never use a worn-looking, brittle, stiff condom,
or one that has expired or was not properly stored (see the box
for storage instructions). Don't carry condoms in your wallet or
pant pocket, because your body heat can weaken them. And when you
open a condom wrapper, don't cut it -- you don't want to make tiny
holes in the latex that could cause the condom to tear.
Unlike a vagina, an anus does not make it's own lubrication --
you must go out and buy it yourself. Use only the water-based kind
(an oil-based lube will damage the condom!). Even if you buy a condom
that comes with lubrication, you'll want to add more.
Can I have an allergy to condoms or lube?
You can. Signs of an allergy are redness and irritation on your
penis or rectum (if you're the receptive partner). If you notice
these signs, try other brands. If you have an allergy to latex,
you can try the Avanti brand, which makes condoms from polyurethane.
Spermicide has also been known to cause irritation. If you suspect
it's causing a problem, switch to a non-spermicidal brand.
How effectively do spermicidal condoms kill HIV?
Here's where you get into trouble. It sounds great to use a condom
with an added bonus of killing HIV, but in reality most of the spermicide
stays in the condom wrapper, and what remains on the condom itself
will not give you any meaningful protection. What's worse, spermicide
can irritate a receptive partner's rectum, making him or her more
susceptible to HIV infection. Remember, don't use spermicides containing
N-9 -- this is not recommended for gay and bisexual men.
What about piercings?
A condom placed over a pierced penis has an increased chance of
breaking. To be on the safe side, stick with the thick brands and
avoid the thinner, "extra sensitive" ones. Also, you may
find that a large size condom fits you and your piercing more comfortably.
Basic Info about
about Female Condom
FAQ on Condom