Choices, Choices: What’s the Best Condom for Me?

Condoms are little gems – and in one way or another have been around for centuries. They are effective guys at preventing sperm from making their way to eggs, while at the same time preventing other fluids from sharing STIs. They do double duty, but definitely are not a one-size-fits-all kind of apparel. In fact, it’s actually super important that you choose condoms that fit properly—for both your comfort and your safety.

If a condom is too small, you risk easier tearing or breakage, not to mention painful pressure on the penis. And if it’s too big, well, those suckers can bunch up causing discomfort for your partner, or worse, they can fall off leaving you at risk for unintended pregnancy and STDs.

So when Beforeplayers ask us, “Which is the best kind of condom?” we give the same quick and dirty answer: the FDA-approved one that fits you like, well, a glove. We put the whole “FDA-approved” part in there because, straight up: novelty condoms are not effective birth control.

Now, we know that all men are shaped and sized differently, and there are exceptions to every rule. But generally speaking, most men can safely use the standard sized condoms available in stores. You can find everything from flavored and textured varieties to ones with or without lube (spermicidal or simple water-based for smoother insertion).

Of course, there are also brands that make condoms for men on the larger side of the scale, as well as those smaller and mighty. Here’s a quick measurement suggestion to get you headed in the right direction. Hang onto an empty toilet paper tube – and with your next erection, just slip it over your penis. If there’s a little room, you can start with a smaller size, if it’s a snug fit try medium size and if the tube doesn’t fit go with the larger size.

Having the right size condom really does make sex more pleasurable for everyone involved, so take a minute to figure it out. After getting the size right, you can move onto checking out ultra thin, textures and other condoms to enhance your sexual experience. You might even want to check out some services on-line that can send you sample packs to help you experiment and find something good for you.

Once you find your perfect match (aka the brand and style that fits and feels right), here are a few things to remember:

  • Only put condoms on when you’re hard. Putting one on when you’re soft can compromise both fit and function.
  • “Double bagging” actually decreases safety rather than increasing it. The friction between the two condoms can make them more likely to rip, so sticking with one is the safer way to go.
  • Roll condoms all the way from the tip to the base of your penis, and ensure that the condom is not so loose that it will easily slip off, or so tight that it is cutting off circulation.

Using lubricant is a great way to keep the area wet and ease penetration, plus it can aid sensations that benefit everyone (hot diggity!). The lube you choose matters. Lubes out there are made from either water, oil, petroleum or silicone. Water-based lube is your best bet – they’re an easy clean up after the deed, so they don’t keep bacteria and other things around the way silicone-based lubes do. The big alert to share is about using oil-based lubes, including ones right off your shelf like olive, canola, and avocado, or petroleum-based lubes (Vaseline is just one of them). They can cause latex condoms to deteriorate, which defeats the purpose of using them!

Some people try and give condoms a bad rap – talking them down and why they stand in the way of pleasurable sex. We’re just saying – get the right fit and the “extras” you like, and you’ll not only feel good doing it, you’ll feel good knowing the added benefits.

Don’t forget that condoms aren’t just for men. The female condom may be the best choice in a lot of situations. Check it out, and then you can share who’s wear.