Hand on heart, I am not a huge fan of condoms. I think they play a vital role in keeping me safe if I’m fucking around, of course, but if I’m in a long term monogamous relationship I’d prefer to rely on my trusty IUD, and let the spunk fall where it may. So I’m not their greatest fan, but if I’m in a situation where it’s sensible to use condoms I’ll always use them, and try to focus on what makes condoms sexy rather than listening to the greedy slag who lives in the back of my brain thirsting, constantly, for jizz. If you’re with someone who doesn’t like condoms and is reluctant to use them, I figured I can give you a little advice in the form of the one question you should ask them. Or if you have a dick and it’s you who doesn’t like them, a question to ponder for yourself: which different condoms have you tried?
You’re worth more than the default
This is going to sound painfully obvious to some of you, but you’d be surprised how enlightening that question can be. For many of us, there’s one brand that stands out over and above all others, because it’s the one that was synonymous with ‘condom’ when we were young. The brand that you see prominently on display in chemists, or receive freebies of when you go to the sexual health clinic. Often that’s the first one someone will grab from a shelf, and many people haven’t put a huge amount of thought into the myriad other options. This is understandable, I think: when you’re buying condoms, you’re usually looking for something that’s trustworthy, so it’s natural to pick the brand you recognise, and it’s not like anyone took us to one side during sex ed and told us we were allowed to experiment with different kinds. Well… unless you got your condom education from Bish, naturally.
When I was young I used to bang my first boyfriend with flavoured condoms, until I went on the pill. They came in clear packaging with no text on whatsoever. Had I been the clued-up sex-curious person that I am today, I may well have questioned the provenance of these things. As it was, I was simply glad of the fact that I didn’t have to pay for them myself, so I merrily tucked in to post-shag blow jobs that tasted vaguely like banana sweets, or had orange scented doggy-style sex, or the occasional minty missionary fuck that reminded me of Sunday’s lamb roast.
These days, however, if I were shagging someone who pulled one of these out I’d probably raise a questioning eyebrow (OK, two eyebrows – I’ve never managed to do the ‘one eyebrow’ thing which is a shame because I think that doing it would suit me) and offer him something CE-marked and reliable from my own wallet instead.
Anyway, I’m straying from the point. When it comes to condoms, most people I know who use them are aware of the basics: they want reliable, safe condoms that do the job they’re designed for. What fewer people do, though, is test out what works for them.
Every dick is different
The most incredible, brilliant, wondrous thing about dick is that every single dick is different. Different lengths, girths, shapes, curves, textures and veins, circumcised, uncircumcised, scarred-from-that-accident-you-had-while-experimenting… whatever. If you’d like me to blow your mind even further, consider this: blood is a liquid that remains fungible to a cellular degree, i.e. when you’re getting an erection you can fill your dick with 1,000,000 red blood cells, or if you’re even more turned on you might fill it with 1,000,197 blood cells. The chances of your dick being filled with the exact same number of blood cells each time you get an erection is small, so your dick – your awesome, unique, snowflake of a dick – is unique even to you, each and every time you touch it.
Cool, innit? Incidentally, I have no idea roughly how many blood cells it takes to fill the average human penis, but if you are a biologist who can ballpark this please don’t hesitate to write in. [Update: we have info on this – apparently the average boner contains around 650 million blood cells]
Anyway. Straying again. Dick is fun, and incredibly distracting. The point here is that your dick is unique, and therefore it’s unlikely that when you’re choosing a raincoat for it, the perfect fit for you is the same as it is for everybody else. Condom companies try, of course, and condoms are like leggings: they stretch to accommodate what you stuff inside them. But there can still be fairly significant difference in fit from dick to dick.
Ever struggled with rolling the condom all the way down to the base? Or felt a tightness at the base where the rolled bit of the condom pinches you? Do you struggle with condoms that crumple a bit and start to slide off, or find that they make your dick feel numb and insensitive? Do you come too quickly and wish they did ‘extra thick’ condoms that’d give you more bang for your buck? You may want to try some different types of condom.
“What type of condom do you prefer?”
This question is incredibly valuable. Not the simple binary of “got a condom?” but something more expansive, that encourages someone to express a preference or need for something specific. This knowledge is brought to you by the memory of a couple of shags I missed out on, which were scuppered by my limited condom supply: one guy who was too big for ‘standard’ condoms but didn’t realise it, and lost his erection partway through the shag, and another dude who just didn’t expect to get laid that night, so he hadn’t brought any condoms of his own. And he really needed his own: his dick was big enough that he simply couldn’t fuck with standard condoms.
I’ve seen plenty of jokes at the expense of cis guys along the lines of “yeah if you lot got to pick condom sizes, everything would be labelled EXTRA LARGE LOL WUT hahaha!” and they really piss me off. Like… sure. If someone has an average sized dick and insists on using large condoms even though they slip off, that’s not great: it reduces the effectiveness of condoms to do the job we need them to, namely reducing the risk of passing on STIs. But in my experience the opposite is far more often the case: people with thick cocks rolling on condoms that pinch at the base, then losing their erections because they can’t concentrate. If your dick’s big enough that regular condoms feel too tight and make you lose your boner, or take too long to wrestle on, or break too often? That isn’t a brag I’m gonna roll my eyes about, it’s a fact I need to know when I go rummaging in my bedside drawer. If you struggle with sensitivity (as many dick owners, especially circumcised ones, sometimes do) then I’d like to know that as well so I can pick something light or thin which might give you a better chance of enjoying the ride as much as I will.
The question: “do you have condoms you prefer?” would have come in very handy in both the cases above, especially if I’d asked it before these dudes were in my house with their trousers down. It’s infinitely better than simply “do you have condoms?” because if the person I’m planning to shag doesn’t happen to have condoms on them, prompting them to express a preference means I can try to pick out something that has a better chance of fitting them well. Because yeah, now that I’m single, I intend to always have a range of sizes/styles to hand. I also keep teabags in the house even though I hate tea: that’s just the kind of gold-plated hosting you can expect chez GOTN.
Which different condoms have you tried?
So if you’re someone who shags people with dicks, I’d advise you to do two things: firstly, stock up on a range of different condoms (a few brands, a couple of sizes and types) and secondly commit to asking not just ‘do you have condoms?’ but ‘what kind of condoms do you prefer?’
And if you have a dick and find yourself frustrated that condoms get in the way of your sexual pleasure, you might want to try out a few different types to see if there’s one that suits you better. You’re not one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters cramming yourself into an ill-fitting glass shoe: sex is supposed to be pleasurable. And fun! That means it’s meant to be fun for you too. Your penis isn’t some evil thing which needs to be punished before you’re allowed penetration, it’s an important tool for your own sexual pleasure. So if you find that condoms are getting in the way of that, please experiment with a few different kinds and then bulk-buy a bunch that you know fit pretty well. I can’t promise you it’ll feel as lovely as bareback because – fuck it – my cunt’s fantastic. But I can promise you that a condom which fits well will feel better than one which fits badly.
To be crystal fucking clear: I am telling you that you owe it to yourself to spend at least part of the end of lockdown having a load of posh wanks, so you can pick your favourite condoms to use when we’re allowed out to fuck around again.
I know, I give the funnest advice.
Want to buy some condoms?
These lovely people sponsor my website, and sell a range of styles/types that you can try…
These links are affiliate ones, so if you buy stuff through them I get a small cut of the money…
If you’re in the UK, I also always recommend checking out the Freedoms Shop – an NHS-run sexual health initiative where you can bulk-buy condoms, lube and other treats.
You should also check out this guide on how to use condoms properly. You’d be surprised how many people – even some who’ve been using condoms for years – don’t know all of this.