Friday, December 28, 2007

Safer Sex Supplies

If you're worried about getting sick, or you're worried about getting pregnant when you don't want to be pregnant, then sex probably isn't going to be completely fun no matter what you do. So in other words, gaining confidence in your safer sex and birth control arrangements is one of the sexier things you can do for yourself.

Latex Condoms

From a public health perspective, using latex condoms for penile->vaginal and penile->anal penetration, in any case where one partner may have a transmittable STD which the other does not, is the one habit which would make the biggest difference in the fight against STD's.

A terrific latex condom for most men is the Kimono Microthin: they're thin and transmit sensation well, they're well-constructed, and having no taste that we can discern they're as suitable to oral sex as they are to intercourse. If after trying one you decide you'd like a snugger fit, then try Lifestyle Snugger Fit. If after trying one you decide you'd like a roomier fit, then try Pleasure Plus. On the other hand, if you're looking for inexpensive condoms not to go around a penis but rather to go around the head of your Hitachi Magic Wand, then pick up a pack of Trustex. If none of these options seem to suit you, then try a condom sampler pack to continue your search.

Tips: Condoms are most comfortable and effective when what they're surrounded by is slippery rather than dry - so either keep a small bottle of water-based lube with your condoms, or failing that a few single-use packets of water-based lube. Also, as an STD prevention measure the uncomfortable and generally questionable chemical Nonoxynol-9 has definitely fallen out of favor - Babeland won't carry any condoms or lubes that contain this substance, but if you're buying at a drug store or supermarket you'll need to avoid them on your own.

Latex Dams

Dams are thin rectangles of latex intended for safer oral sex when going down on a woman (cunnilingus), or for safer and cleaner oral sex when licking someone's anus (analingus). For these purposes, far and away the best product is the Glyde Dam. One important tip: putting a bit of water-based lube on the recipient's side of the barrier can help a lot more sensation be transmitted to them.

Unfortunately, if you're used to performing cunnilingus without a barrier, but now feel you must for the sake of your own safety or that of your partner, then making the transition to using a dam can be hard. If this remains true for you, even with practice, then please understand there's no shame in learning to use your hands instead: particularly if you take the opportunity to passionately kiss someone or whisper nasty things to them as you're pleasuring them, sex with hands rather than mouths really can feel awfully good...

Latex Gloves

Particularly if some of the skin on your hands is damaged (or if there is any chance you'll come into contact with blood) and your partner is of unknown STD/HIV status, latex gloves may make sense for finger or hand penetration. They may also make sense if you want to penetrate your partner's ass with your fingers but you have cleanliness concerns (since after you're done you can just peel the glove off and throw it in the trash).

The black latex gloves offered by Babeland are great choices, since by virtue of the fact that they're black latex they also look cool.

Alternatives for People with Latex Allergies

Although in each case the latex safer sex choice is probably the best choice if you can use it, for partners who are allergic to latex (an allergy particularly common amongst medical professionals) alternative safer sex materials may be needed.

If you or your partner is allergic to latex, then for penile->vaginal or penile->anal intercourse the Avanti polyurethane condom is certainly one option (though please understand it is by no means ideal: since polyurethane doesn't stretch as well as latex the reliability and fit is probably just NOT going to be as good for you). An alternative to Avanti is the Reality female condom, which is also usable for anal sex if you remove its inner ring.

For cunnilingus or analingus, if you or your partner is allergic to latex but some sort of barrier is still needed, your best bet is probably to use regular (i.e. non-microwaveable) kitchen plastic wrap instead.

For hands and fingers, Nitrile gloves are available as a substitute for latex gloves in cases where gloves are needed.

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