• "Ask Birdie..." Are There Fun Non-Latex Options Out There?

    Oh, Sex Toys. So tempting, but how do you know what to buy? What works? What doesn't? What is even OUT THERE to try? You have questions, I have answers (most of the time...)

    Dear McBirdie,

    I have a little problem with latex condoms and need to opt for non-latex in the future. What are my options? Are there any fun non-latex or sensitive skin condoms available?


    Dear Romeo,

    There are a few choices out there for people who need non-latex condoms - luckily more than there were a few years ago, when there was only ever one dusty sheepskin condom box hidden on the back of the shelf. One of the better ones out there is the Trojan Supra Latex Free Condom. The Supra seems to be a little big larger and more elastic than other latex-free condoms. As you'll find out when you first switch to non-latex, they feel different--they don't stretch on the same way, so you may need to try putting them on before you get fully hard, depending on your size and the make of the condom.

    Durex Avanti Ultimata is a very popular non-latex brand because it is a bit thinner than a latex condom. You might find that these increase sensation for you; Pasante Unique boasts similar thin properties and comes in a thin, credit card like holder which is very discreet. The reviews have been a bit mixed on that one, though, so you might want to read them for yourself to judge.

    Now--the health bit: you need to read the packaging very carefully on these condoms. A lot of the brands will tell you that they are not guaranteed to protect against all STDs. The micro-holes in non-latex condoms are larger than in latex and there are concerns that some little buggies can slip through. Not all of them promise has high a protection against pregnancy, either, so you might want to look into getting your partner onto a backup form of birth control, or you can add a spermicidal lotion depending on your sensitivities.

    Before you go screaming into the night in horror, though, it is worth noting that this is very likely to be nothing more than over-cautious labelling. Because non-latex (that is not lambskin--we know that those don't offer the same protection) is so new, there just aren't enough long-term studies out there to make an iron-clad conclusion as to their safety. A recent study, however, has shown that while non-latex may not be equal to latex, they are a reasonable substitute.

    One last health note: if you are switching to non-latex because you believe you've been having an allergic reaction to latex condoms, make sure you're watching out for hidden latex elsewhere in your bedroom. If you use female condoms, the only non-latex brand available is the Pasante Natural Non-Latex Dam. Also, watch your toys--latex can be present even when it isn't listed. In general, seek out toys that are labelled as hard plastic or silicone rubber. Of course, you can enjoy metals and glass toys without worry.

    Best of luck and enjoy your non-latex explorations,

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