“I have a quick sex-related question. *Gasp!* My boyfriend is allergic to latex, so we’re looking at outside options: polyurethane and animal-skin condoms, and female condoms. I haven’t had any experience with female condoms; is there a big difference in effectiveness or pleasure between female and male condoms? Price is also an issue, which latex-alternative option would you suggest?“
There are pros and cons to all three of your options:
Animal skin condoms might be a little more comfortable for him to wear because they are thinner and looser, but loose fitting condoms can slip off more easily and animal skin condoms don’t protect against viral infections as well as polyurethane (or latex) condoms do because they have larger pores.
Polyurethane condoms are stronger than latex condoms (and animal condoms), but are less flexible which means they fit more loosely, again, making them more comfortable but increasing the risk that they might slip off. Polyurethane condoms also transmit body heat better (mmm comfy), have a longer shelf life, and can be used with a greater variety of lubricants.
Speaking of lube, you’re going to want to make sure that you use more if you go with this type of condom because in clinical trials they were found to break 3-5 times more often than latex condoms.
Female condoms are another good non-latex option, they are made of polyurethane too so they have many of the same advantages: they can be used with any kind of lube, they transfer body heat better, and they are less constricting for the penis. Female condoms also offer slightly better protection because they cover more area – the outer ring sits over the labia. You can also slip it in well before you start having sex so that you’re really ready when the time comes. But, female condoms are lot more expensive (around $2 PER CONDOM) and can be a bit tricky to put in at first ( here’s a guide for putting them in).
In conclusion I would recommend going with the polyurethane male condom because it’s cheaper, easier to use, and you don’t have any problems with him refusing flat out to put on a condom (which is why some women have to use a female condom). Try the Trojan Avanti, from what I’ve read that’s a pretty good one; it was tested in clinical trials and was found to prevent pregnancy better than the Ez-on condom, though it was a little less comfortable to wear.
Hope that helps!!