How do I choose the right condom?
Using the right condom is important for your comfort (and the comfort of your partners). It’s also vital to the prevention of HIV and other STDs. But with so many types of condoms on the market, how do you choose? Here are a few tips to help find the right condom for you.
Read the label.
Scan the condom to see if it’s approved to protect against STDs. Most male condoms available for sale in the U.S. are made of latex, which are considered by the FDA to be an effective way of reducing the spread of HIV and other STDs. Polyurethane condoms are also effective. However, lambskin condoms are not approved to protect against STDs.
Check the expiration date.
The expiration date is printed on each individually wrapped package. Most condoms expire five years from the date of manufacture (not from the time of purchase). For condoms that contain spermicide, the expiration date is three years. Got a condom past its expiration date? Toss it and grab another one that’s still good.
Condoms are most effective when they are comfortable. Find the brand and size that works best for you.
External or internal?
While most condoms roll onto the penis, the internal condom, or “female condom,” is inserted inside the body. It’s extra roomy and is made of polyurethane, which is thinner and conducts heat. The material on the outside of the female condom covers the vulva or the anal/perineal area. It’s also fitted with a flexible inner ring for use during vaginal sex. For anal sex, simply remove the ring and insert the condom with a penis or toy.
Sex with a condom can be fun and enhance pleasure, especially when you use a condom that feels great for you and your partner.