The LGBT Health & Development Program

Youth Blog – Tips to Avoid Getting Bored with Condoms

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by IMPACT in Featured, Life & HIV, Youth Blog. No Comments

A photo of a basket full of condoms of various colors and brands.

Image credit: Steven Depolo, “Basket of Condoms” October 3, 2014.

Written by Christopher Garcia, Research Study Assistant

Like it or not, condoms are one of the greatest tools people have to practice safer sex. Unfortunately, many people stop using them, placing themselves at risk for sexually transmitted infections and HIV. If you’re having trouble with condoms, here are some tips on getting the most out of your latex or polyurethane friend.

1. Find your right size and material.

Finding the right size is important for comfort and proper use. Condoms that are too big can lead to slippage and condoms that are too tight can tear. For slippage issues, find condoms that are smaller in length or feel tighter (e.g., Iron Grip by Caution Wear). For tightness, pay attention to condom widths (e.g., Trojan Magnums are longer, but have a smaller width than Trojan SUPRA lubricated). If you get skin irritation from latex condoms, try polyurethane, but note that they tend to be more expensive and slip/break more often than latex [1].

2. Explore different thickness levels.

There is a wide array of condom “feels.” “Ultra-thin” or “bare skin” condoms might be right for some, while others prefer thicker condoms because they feel snugger. Talk to your partner about their response to different condoms. Ribbed and studded condoms may feel better for your partner and make the experience more pleasurable for you both.

3. Try a variety of silicone and water based lubes.

Lube can be an important factor in making sex enjoyable for both partners. Although gay/ bisexual men have the highest rates of lube use, using lube with condoms is still low in the general male population [2].  Find the appropriate wetness, heat, and feel to maximize your condom experience. Learn more about different types of lube and safety here: Which type of lube is right for me.

4. Talk to your partners about internal condoms.

Another option for men who have sex with men is the internal (also known as “female” or FC2) condom.  It allows for the receptive partner (or bottom) to take more control of the experience. It can also be inserted prior to foreplay, which may increase the intimacy of the sexual encounter. Learn more about using internal condoms here: How two guys can use a “female condom” for safer sex.

5.Utilize free and low cost condom resources.

Condoms can be expensive. Although varieties are limited, provides an interactive map of free condom distributors across the US. Some sites sell sampler packs that allow you to inexpensively try different styles within a brand. You can also explore different lubes by buying sample packets instead of bigger bottles.

Finding the perfect condom and lube makes it easier to use them consistently. You also need to communicate with your partners about their preferences. It takes time, but doing your research will ultimately make sex with a condom more enjoyable and fun.

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Medical Information Disclaimer: The IMPACT Program does not intend to provide specific medical advice, but we may provide website visitors with information to better understand their health and risk factors for specific diseases. The IMPACT Program urges you to consult with a qualified health care provider for diagnosis and answers to your personal health questions.


1. Terri L. Walsh, R. G. (2007). Evaluation of the Efficacy of a Nonlatex Condom: Results from a Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 79-86.

2. Reece, M. H. (2014). Men’s Use and Perceptions of Commercial Lubricants: Prevalence and Characteristics in a Nationally Representative Sample of American Adults. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(5), 1125-1135.

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