We have all been there. Running into CVS before it closes to get the most important item of the night: condoms. We rush down the aisles, finally reach our destination, and just as we breathe a sigh of relief, we see what seems like 50 different options. How do you go about finding the perfect condom to complement your night of passion? Well, never fear, because I have the down low on picking the perfect condom for you.
The first thing there is to notice is the many brand options that you have. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter which brand you pick — they all go through the same testing processes. So, don’t freak out if you can’t decide between Lifestyles, Durex, Trojan, or any other specialty brand that might be there.
Now. on to more important issues: latex or non-latex? In this case, I would say definitely choose latex because it has better pregnancy and STI protection than polyurethane or lambskin condoms. However, because a fair amount of people are allergic to latex, the next best material is polyurethane. Both latex and polyurethane condoms should be used only with water- or silicon-based lubricants, so no lotion, please. Many of these condoms come already lubricated. Feel free to buy these, since lubricants can get quite expensive, but be aware that many women can experience irritation from such lubricants.
As savvy condom shoppers, we have three more questions left to ask ourselves in the quest to get out of the store and into the bedroom: size, ribbed and specialty. First, there’s the golden ticket of condoms, one that inspires fear and awe in many women across campus — the Trojan Magnum. This condom is for the big boys — so big, in fact, that normal condoms just don’t do the trick. There is a certain pride in being a man that is able to buy Magnums — and there is also pride in being a receiver of such a gift. However, do not be fooled, standard condoms fit a large majority of men, and men who wear larger condoms than are needed are at a higher risk for STI infection. So, unless you’re as large as a porn star, skip the Magnums.
Ribbed condoms, marketed for both his and her pleasure, are condoms with bumps and grooves that heighten intimacy. Specialty condoms include flavored condoms, condoms with vibrating rings, glow-in-the-dark condoms, and even condoms that are shaped like dolphins. All of this comes down to personal preference. For some, a simple condom is all that is needed, while other, more adventurous couples may opt for fancier models like vibrating ribbed condoms. As in any good sexual relationship, communication is key. Ask your partner what he or she likes — and what he or she doesn’t like. Better yet, go to the store together and pick out that perfect condom.
Here at the College, we have great opportunities to get free condoms — although we may not have the widest variety of choices, they are good when you’re in a pinch. The Student Health Center has free condoms and they usually supply lubricated Trojans as well as flavored Trojan condoms. Next time you catch a cold, pick up a few and keep them (in a cool, dry place) just in case things get hot after you’re feeling better. You can also have condoms delivered to your mailbox through Health Outreach Peer Educators. Furthermore, some Resident Assistants keep condoms for their residents, and there is always the Student Exchange. Many people are embarrassed to buy condoms, or even be seen picking up a few up at the Health Center, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. The best kind of sex is safe sex, and in today’s world of STI’s, you can never be too safe. Happy condom shopping — and even happier sex.
Aishaah Reed is a Flat Hat sex columnist. She wishes you well on your never-ending search for dolphin-shaped condoms.