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Condom Advice

A Guide to Latex-Free Condoms

We’re fortunate to have so much choice in condoms today; small, large, ribbed, ultra-thin and every flavour you can imagine.

However, latex allergy sufferers are not so lucky.

Most male condoms have traditionally been made of latex due to the material being easily malleable, safe, strong and affordable to manufacture.

Unfortunately, people with allergies to latex can suffer with itchy rashes when using latex condoms making them less than desirable.

Major condom brands, including Durex and Ansell, have been producing ranges of condoms made from alternative materials such as Polyurethane and Polyisoprene for the past 30 years.

Before this (and still available today) latex allergy sufferers were left with the sole choice of using natural condoms… made of lambs intestine (‘lamskin’).

Latex-free alternatives

Polyurethane Condoms

Manufacturing condoms out of Polyurethane has many advantages over a standard latex condom.

For starters, the material conducts heat better than latex. What does this mean? Well, friction causes heat which can impact sensation. More heat = a more pleasurable experience for both partners.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Polyurethane is a stronger material than latex meaning condoms can be made a lot thinner whilst still retaining the same level of safety. A thinner condom wall can also increase sensation and a more pleasurable experience. Win win!

Finally, Polyurethane condoms tend to smell less than latex condoms which can be an important factor for a lot of people.

On the flip side, polyurethane doesn’t stretch as much as latex meaning risk of breakage – whilst rare – is technically higher. Polyurethane condoms are also generally more expensive than latex.

Polyisoprene Condoms

Perhaps the best known Polyisoprene condoms are Ansell’s SKYN range, introduced in 2008.

Whilst Polyisoprene condoms can’t be produced quite as thin as polyurethane, the material is a stretchier meaning you still get the benefit of a thinner condom with increased security. It also has a softer, more natural feel, providing additional comfort.

Benefits of Latex Free Condoms

  • No burning or itching for latex allergy sufferers
  • Increased heat transfer
  • Thinner than standard latex condoms, offering increased sensation
  • Don’t have the common latex odour associated with condoms

Latex Free Condoms & Lubricant

Water or silicone based lubricant is always recommended for latex condoms, however for non-latex condoms there are a couple of options depending on the material used.

Polyurethane doesn’t degrade with oil based lubricants so can be used with any type of lubricant. Oil-based lubricant can also be used with lambskin condoms.

For Polyisoprene condoms you’re best to stick with the same silicone based lubricant used with latex condoms.

Water-basedSilicone-basedOil-based
Latex condomsx
Polyurethane condoms
Polyisoprene condomsx
Lambskin condomsx

Recommended Latex-free Condoms

durex real feel condoms

Durex Real Feel

Made of Polyisoprene, Durex RealFeel condoms are designed, and marketed to, everyone – not just latex allergy sufferers.

Positioned as offering ‘Natural skin on skin feeling. The next generation condoms with Real Feel material’ – the condoms firmly offer increased sensation thanks to the use of polyisoprene.

What we like
  • Nominal width of 56mm is around 15% larger than regular sized condoms. If you find ‘ultra-thin’ condoms are too tight, then these could be a great option as a thin condom in a larger size.
Not so much
  • Rarely available offline at supermarkets/chemists etc – best to buy online.

Ansell SKYN

Ansell SKYN condoms are also made from polyisoprene, so offer the same latex-free option at Durex Rea Feel.

The most notable difference to the Durex Real Feel however is their 53mm width (vs 56mm of the Durex) which is more skin to regular sized condoms.

What we like
  • 52mm width represents a slightly-smaller-than-regular size which offers a slightly-tighter fit for increased sensation.
  • Available offline as well as online.
Not so much
  • As per anything non-regular, they’re premium priced however you can often find some great deals online.

FAQs

Summary

If you don’t suffer with a latex allergy, then you have a lot to thank those who do as – without them – we may not be blessed with the advances in modern technology that continually offer new experiences.

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