Here is a selection of the most popular safe sex products:
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LATEX AND NON-LATEX CONDOMS – DO THE DIFFERENCES MATTER?
Almost all condoms are made of latex. Latex is a milky white liquid composed of rubber particles. Latex is a good material for the job because it is pliable, it stretches, it is resilient and it (mostly) resists tearing.
However, some people are allergic to latex. These folks can’t use the usual latex condoms. For these people there are other, non-latex materials to use.
People with a latex allergy get reactions such as: itching of the private parts, rashes, and other forms of discomfort. Obviously these symptoms take most of the enjoyment out of sex for the allergy sufferors.
Latex-free condoms might also be used by the non-allergic types for some other reasons. For example, some men claim they can feel the difference betwen latex and non-latex condoms, and they prefer the feel of the non-latex jobs. Some of the non-latex products are advertised as “natural skin” or “skin on skin sensation,” which has a great appeal to some people.
Here are some things to consider when thinking about switching to non-latex condoms:
MEDICAL PROBLEM PREVENTION
Usually the first consideration leading to condom use is preventing unwanted pregnancies. Both latex and non-latex condoms can fulfill that role.
But when it comes to preventing transmission of STIs and STDs, there are some important differences.
POLYURETHANE NON-LATEX CONDOMS
Polyurethane is a popular latex condom alternative. Polyurethane is a clear synthetic plastic and has a texture much like cling wrap. As a condom polyurethane feels quite different from latex, which earns it points as a latex alternative for prople with latex allergies. Properly used, it can both prevent pregnancis and guard against sexually transmitted diseases.
POLYISOPRENE NON-LATEX CONDOMS
One of the latest arrivals on the market are polyisoprene condoms. Polyisoprene is a synthetic material derived from the sap of the Hevea tree. While it is safe and strong, it has no latex ingredients. It is hypoallergenic, elastic, inexpensive and effective.
Condoms made from polyisoprene are not as thin as their equivalent polyurethane cousins. Nevertheless, they are equally stretchy, and slip and break less.
Sometimes called “natural condoms,” they use a layer of membrane from lamb intestines called the “cecum.” Historically it is the oldest type of condom. It iscapable of preventing pregnancis, but falls down on the job of preventing those nasty STIs or STDs.
In the past, lambskin was the only alternative condom available for men with latex allergies.
Users of lambskin condoms claim they allow heightened penile sensation. They usually are thinner than latex condoms. And they also create a more “natural” skin to skin feel.
Lambskin condoms are compatible with most lubricants, and they transmit heat very well (as if that matters).
LATEX VS NON LATEX CONDOMS
Given the alternatves, why do people still use latex condoms? First, they are the most obvious way to shield against both unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Second, they are extremely durable. They can stretch up to 800% of their starting size. They also (usually) hold up very well under the friction and heat of intercourse.
Third, latex condoms are far more cost effective than other models. They come in an impressive range of sizes and types. They can range in size, shape, thickness and texture to suit just about everyone’s needs.
Fourth, another plus is that they come in a mind-boggling variety of sensations, colors and even flavors.
The popularity of latex condoms is demonstrated their sales up to 90% of all condoms in the market.
On the flip side, they can cause allergies and can degrade when you use them with oil based lubricants. Products like Vaseline, lotion or coconut oil are associated with more susceptibility to breakage. Instead, it is better to use silicone based or water based lubricants.
The prevention of allergic reactions is the obvious benefit of latex free condoms. But it isn’t the only one.
Polyisoprene condoms are much thinner than the latex versions. They also feel closer to the real thing. Polyisoprene also transmits heat better than latex.
Latex products have a signature small which is not always appealing. Non-latex condoms just plain smell different.
Latex-free condoms are work with most lubricants, including water-based, silicone-based and oil-based.
Polyurethane condoms are usually wider than latex condoms, which of course matters to many men.
The feel of good quality non-latex condoms is said to be not only softer but also more elastic than their latex counterparts.
DRAWBACKS OF NON-LATEX CONDOMS
Even though they are flexible, polyisoprene condoms are not as flexible as latex ones. People try using lubricants to conquer this problem.
Clinical studies demonstrate that non-latex condoms are more prone to break than their latex counterparts, so extra caution is advised.
Polyurethane condoms are more expensive than both latex and polyisoprene condoms, while lambskin ones are the most expensive.
Polyisoprene condoms are thicker than their polyurethane counterparts, which may impair important sensations during intercourse. Polyisoprene condoms also have problems when used with oil-based lubricants.
People who prefer lambskin condoms must remember that these products do not protect against either STIs or STDs. Since lambskin naturally has tiny pores, it can allow bacteria and viruses to slip through while preventing sperm from doing the same.
These are the main points to consider when contemplating the use of various kinds of condoms. Be prepared!