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Latex vs. Lamb Skin vs. Polyurethane Condoms

June 10, 2008


photo: Lucrezia Magazine’s Article

Lucrezia Magazine recently offered a well written summary comparing latex condoms with non-latex condoms.  Non-latex condoms include skin condoms (aka sheep skin condoms or sheep gut condoms) and polyurethane condoms.  For those who don’t know, here is the 101 on condom materials. (click for the whole article)


Latex Condoms: Most condoms, especially the less expensive ones, are made from latex.  Latex is that rubbery substance with a strong smell and lots of stretch.  In addition to being cheap, latex condoms come in a variety of sizes.  That’s right, if your condom slips off or digs in you can buy them in a size that will better fit you, so don’t settle for poor fit, gentlemen!  However, some folks have skin reactions to latex in the form of gloves, condoms, etc.  It also tends to have a yucky taste, even with flavored lube slathered all over it.  Latex condoms degrade when exposed to oil based lubes, too, although oily lubes are not so good for your bits.  Avoid oil based lubes for this reason, regardless of condom type.  Latex condoms that are used correctly and consistently are very good for protecting against infections and pregnancy.


Skin Condoms:  skin condoms are made from animal tissue; specifically the intestines. Yes, that’s a sheep’s innards you’re getting cozy with, right there.  While they have a reputation for being classier, with a higher price to match, they do not offer suitable STI protection.  It’s simple, animal tissue isn’t a good barrier to that stuff, so it can help protect from pregnancy but not as much from sexually transmitted infections.  However, they are generally more comfortable than latex for those with bad reactions to latex.  That said, it would be far safer (yet still comfy) to opt for polyurethane.


Polyurethane condoms:  These do cost more, but are well worth it for many people.  Polyurethane doesn’t aggravate latex sensitivities, and polyurethane male condoms have a looser fit than regular latex condoms.  That’s good news for the larger lads out there, but riskier for the sleek fellows.  Female condoms, which are inserted into the vagina at the closed end while leaving the open end outside the vulva, are also made of polyurethane.  Polyurethane is strong, and effectively helps prevent STIs and pregnancy.  They haven’t been around as long, so the testing is still going on, but they have performed well (not quite as well as latex, though) so far.  Ah yes, these also have no taste, so they’re ideal for safer fellatio (oral sex on a man).  

What about safer cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman)?  A dental dam can be used, which is a thin sheet of latex (same stuff as in condoms) with water or silicone lube on the lucky lady’s side and flavored lube on the lucky licker’s side.  You can also cut open a condom for this, or easiest yet, use a fresh piece of plastic wrap with lube on her side and honey or another yummy substance on the licker’s side.  You know I wouldn’t write about fellatio without including cunnilingus!

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