… my 2nd guest blog post for SexAndSensibilities.com

According to researchers, the average condom purchase takes only 7 seconds. I know that people might be embarrassed about buying condoms; they might dread seeing a sideways glance from a fellow customer or feel nervous at the thought of an elderly pharmacist at the cash register… but rushing in and out in only 7 seconds?!? Can you really make a good choice about what condoms to buy in only 7 seconds?

I conducted a brief experiment to find out.

I tasked a small group of my friends to make their way into one of our friendly neighborhood pharmacies here in New York City, find the condom section, then spend no more than 7 seconds deciding which ones to purchase.  Their selections were not only disappointing, but they potentially put their personal safety and sexual pleasure at great risk.

Specific results of the 7-second condom experiment:

One friend proudly chose a box of condoms made by a very well-reputed condom company, but she did not realize why the words “climax control” were printed on the cover.  This particular type of condom contains a desensitizing agent, designed to slightly numb the head of the penis – this is a great option for people who are seeking to lengthen the duration of sexual activity… and an unpleasant surprise for those who are not expecting to be numbed.

Another friend emerged from the pharmacy with a box of lambskin condoms.  These are much more difficult to find than latex condoms, but they do exist… Little did my friend know that lambskin condoms are only effective in pregnancy prevention, but are not to be used to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV.

And yet another friend produced a box of condoms that was, quite simply, expired.  He had just failed to take the time to check the expiration date printed on the side of the package.  Just as grocery stores may forget to take every single carton of expired milk off the refrigerator shelves, a pharmacist might miss a box of recently expired condoms.  Make it your job to know the quality of what you are buying.

All of these mistakes could have been avoided by doing one very simple thing: taking the time to read the condom packageI understand that shopping for condoms can be difficult and we might want to rush through it for many reasons, but it really does pay to muster up some courage and take your time.

To help you find the perfect condoms quickly and easily, I have created a simple checklist for the SASsy woman and her partner to make condom shopping easier and more efficient.  Just follow these guidelines and you’ll be in and out of there in no time, with the appropriate prophylactic for you!

The SASsy Woman’s Guide to Buying Condoms

✔ Are the condoms expired? Be sure to check the expiration date printed on the condom’s package.  If the expiration date has passed, then do not buy it!

✔ Has the condom package has been opened or damaged?
1) Check the package for holes or tears, 2) make sure it is still sealed shut and 3) shake the box so that you know there are definitely condoms inside.  People may have difficulty buying condoms, but they seem to find stealing them quite easy.

What is the condom made of? The most common types of condoms are made of latex, but in many countries condoms can also be made from synthetic materials (including polyurethane, nitrile and polyisoprene).  Latex and synthetic condoms, when used correctly, help to prevent both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV.

Condoms made from animal products, such as lambskin, are only to be used to prevent unintended pregnancy – they will not help to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV. If you would like to try a naturalskin condom, you should:

1) be in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship
2) have the same definition of “monogamy” as your partner, and
3) be tested and knowledgeable about your STI status

If you can, I definitely recommend using latex condoms – they are widely available and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, textures, flavors and even with enhanced lubricants.  If you are latex-sensitive but still need to guard against sexually transmitted infections, condoms made of synthetic materials are your best option.

What size condoms are you looking for? Condoms are available in a snugger, slimmer fit, a standard size or a larger, roomier fit.   Start with a standard size condom, then experiment if necessary – it is best to find the condom that most comfortably fits your (or your partner’s) body shape for maximum pleasure, and to ensure that it does not slip off or become damaged during use.

Now that you have the basics covered, it is time to ask yourself What else do you want from your condom, besides protection?

✩ Are you looking for texture? Condoms with ribs, dots or other pleasurable meshes are available with textures along the outside (for the receptive partner), the inside(for the penetrative partner) or on both the inside and outside of the condom.

✩ Are you looking for a different shape? Almost any condom that flares or gives extra space around the head of the penis can enhance sensation for both partners.  Anatomically shaped condoms are also available if you prefer a smooth, seamless fit.

✩ Are you looking for condoms with a special lubricant? Many latex condoms are also available with an enhanced lubricant.  Some contain the soothing additive aloe vera; others contain a climax control agent, designed to lengthen the duration of sexual activity.  Many people enjoy condoms with a stimulating additive, such as those that produce a warm sensation or condoms that produce a cool, tingling effect.

A quick re-cap of what to avoid:
✖ Nonoxynol-9 (also known as spermicide or N-9), because it has proven to be an irritant for both men & women
✖ Novelty condoms, which do not protect against unintended pregnancy or STIs

And a final word of advice:  Never let anyone make you feel badly about buying condoms, because you are only doing what is best for you and your partner!  Always remember that.

I hope that you will find this guide helpful 🙂  Happy shopping!   xojl