Which Lubricants for which Condom Materials
If you’re using condoms, you should be using a lubricant. The right lubricant makes condoms more comfortable to use & can help prevent breakage. But not all lubricants are safe for all condom materials. Here’s what you need to know about lube-condom compatibility, plus tips for using condoms effectively.
Increase Condom Comfort & Safety
Always use lube
You know that squeaky sound balloon animals make? I love that sound – it used to make my sister crazy! I would literally make that sound until the balloon popped.
When I think of an un-lubricated condom, that’s the sound I imagine. You see where this is going … A properly lubricated condom means there’s less friction to cause irritation or breakage.
Applying lubricant to the outside of a condom seems obvious – but did you know that putting a drop of lube on the inside of a condom can also increase comfort and safety?
Male Condom Materials
|Material||Natural Rubber||Processed Natural Rubber||Plastic||Synthetic||Animal Product|
|Fit & Feel||Snug & Stretchy||Snug & Stretchy||Loose & Crinkly||Loose & Soft||Snug & Non-Stretchy|
|Glycerin, PG, Propanediol|
(Guar, Xanthan, Sclerotium)
|Silicone & Hybrids|
Oil & Rubber Don't Mix
Latex & Polyisoprene Condoms
NEVER use plant oil, vegetable oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly with latex or polyisoprene condoms.
Oils break down natural & synthetic rubber – and we mean fast. Sorry we couldn’t find a better video, but it does make the point …
And be careful about more than just your lubricant – body lotions & oils can have a similar effect.
Always Check the Lubricant's Labeling
Polyurethane condoms are made of thin plastic that transfers body heat well. People who use polyurethane condoms usually prefer them over other materials because the fit & feel allow for greater sensitivity.
Polyurethane condoms are generally thinner & stronger than latex or polyisoprene, but because they’re non-stretchy and looser fitting, they can break – ALWAYS use a lubricant with polyurethane condoms!
We’ve cataloged hundreds of lubricants and, unlike other materials, it’s impossible to make broad statements about a lubricant’s compatibility with polyurethane. We’ve seen ‘not compatible with polyurethane’ warnings on water, aloe, and oil-based formulas.
The strongest correlation seems to be with formulas that contain tocopherols (vitamin E), but it’s not universal.
Even more frustrating is that many labels don’t speak to polyurethane at all and not all lubricants have 501(k) summaries that can be checked for this information.
The safest option is to only use lubricants that explicitly state they are compatible with polyurethane.
And sexually transmitted infections
There’s a lot of legitimate debate about how effective lambskin condoms are at preventing STIs. This debate centers on flaws in past research and the idea that there’s more to condom effectiveness than just the material used.
Things like fit, feel, and availability all contribute to the decision to use a condom every time you have sex, which has an immediate bearing on condom effectiveness & risk prevention.
No condom offers full protection against STIs – especially those transmitted via skin-to-skin contact like herpes. But who is more protected – the person who wears a less effective condom 100% of the time, or the person who uses a more effective condom 50% of the time?
The bottom line is this … Because they’re a natural membrane, lambskin condoms contain small holes of various sizes. These holes are small enough to block sperm and prevent pregnancy, but may not be small enough to block viruses.
Trojan NaturaLamb is the only lambskin condom available in the USA and it is NOT approved by the FDA for the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Finding condoms that fit right, learning how to put them on correctly, and using them every time you have sex are the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of pregnancy & infection.
Condom sample packs – like these from Condom Depot – are a great way to find your perfect fit.
If you’re new to condoms, check out this guide by Planned Parenthood and practice solo before using them with a partner.
When you have condoms that fit and you feel confident using them, you’re more likely to use them each & every time you have sex – and that’s the point 🙂
Condom Variety Packs
Condom-Safe Lubricants We Recommend
Trash not Toilet
Billions of condoms are sold each year – 450 million of them in the United States. Unfortunately, the majority of condoms are not biodegradable.
Many people dispose of condoms by flushing them down the toilet where they can clog plumbing, cause problems for waste management systems, and threaten marine life.
The best option is to wrap condoms in a tissue or toilet paper and put them in the trash where they can be taken to a landfill.
A Word about the FC2
Internal (Nitrile) Condom
Unlike traditional male condoms that are worn on the penis, internal condoms are worn by the receiving partner. Internal condoms can be used by both men and women for vaginal or anal sex.
The FC2 Internal Condom is currently the only internal condom approved by the FDA.
The FC2 is made of nitrile, so it’s a great choice if you want or need to avoid latex. You absolutely need lubricant with the FC2 and that’s okay – you can use any type of lube with nitrile.
Unfortunately, the FC2 is harder to obtain than traditional male condoms (frustrating beyond words). Most vendors are not authorized, including those on Amazon. Luckily, FC2 provides patients / consumers with a few options:
FC2 is covered by most insurance plans and you can find the details here.
If you don’t have a doctor and live in certain states, you can use the FC2 iOS app to see a virtual doctor and get a prescription for a $5 fee.
If you’re uninsured or your insurance doesn’t cover female condoms, you can purchase FC2 directly from the manufacturer.
Locate a local organization that provides birth control for your community.
Our mission is to help you find better lubricants and have safer sex – we hope this helps! Got a favorite condom or lubricant you want to recommend? Have questions or feedback? Let us know in the comments below 🙂