Condoms for Gay Men
Sex is sex, right? And the protection is the same for everyone? Well, almost – but not quite. There are a range of condoms out there with different ones for different needs, and when it comes to gay sex, there are some that are better suited than others. That’s not to say that there are any condoms which are ‘wrong’, it’s just that there might be different things to bear in mind.
Why are condoms for gay men so important?
Because there’s no risk of pregnancy here, gay men sometimes assume that condoms aren’t completely necessary to use for sex. But this isn’t the case. Sadly, there are still soaring rates of STIs among the gay community. In London alone, 90% of new syphilis cases were among gay people. Plus, these new diagnoses went from 1,323 to 2,969 between 2013-2017, which represented an increase of 118%. So, this is a situation which is clearly not going away. Scary statistics, but condoms are the key to tackling it. A simple measure to a complex problem. But whilst condoms are a straightforward concept, there are those which are better for anal use – and those which are more interesting than standard condoms.
What do gay sex condoms protect against?
You have the usual suspects – syphilis, gonorrhoea, hepatitis, chlamydia, HIV, plus genital warts and generalised infections. The spread of syphilis has meant that we now have the highest rates of infection in the UK since the 1940s, which is quite unbelievable considering our modern medicine and advances across the whole of this sphere. There are also antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhoea creeping into the UK, and the sum of all of this means that the basic message here is USE A CONDOM.
Gay sex condoms
These aren’t condoms which have been designed for gay sex, per se, but there’s a whole range of them (as we’re sure you know) and some are better gay sex choices than others. For example, there are condoms which have been specifically designed with female pleasure in mind, those that are studded and/or come with raised dots and ribs for extra vaginal stimulation so there’s no point in using these for anal sex.
However, the main advice for choosing condoms remains the same whether it’s for anal or vaginal use. Starting with a straight-shafted or standard condom is a good place to begin but depending on anatomy you might need to adjust that slightly. Penises come in all shapes and sizes and not all condoms will fit all penises. For example, you’ll need to be more careful if you fit into one of these categories:
(And don’t choose extra-large condoms if you don’t need to just for bravado because your protection will be compromised. Simple. And that’s not what sex is about, it’s about enjoying yourself and connecting with your partner whilst reducing your susceptibility to infections as much as possible). The condom fit has to be comfortable and secure, so it doesn’t slip off during proceedings; no-one wants to be scrabbling around for a fresh condom at the crucial moment, or - worse still – not have another one to hand. It might take a bit of trial and error, but you will find the perfect condom for you. Now let’s look at your options:
- Different sizes (as above).
- Flavoured condoms. It’s fair to say that there might be more oral interaction going on during gay sex so why not choose a condom that will keep things fresh, so to speak? It’s far more interesting to enjoy different flavours than the same taste all the time and there are quite a few to pick from: strawberry, tropical, cocktail club, coconut, raspberry - the choice is yours. If you aren’t sure what you might prefer, then why not invest in a mixed pack so you can experiment? Nothing keeps sex alive more than experimentation, after all!
- Intense condoms. Seeing as you probably can’t benefit from the female-orientated studding and ribbing, using these intense ones is a good option if you’re looking for something different. These are textured inside and give a warming/tingly sensation to the wearer, ramping up the pleasure a notch or two.
- Extra safe condoms. Ideal for maximum peace of mind, these condoms are extra thick at 1mm, they have extra lubricant already applied and offer more sensitivity. They are specifically marketed as being safe for anal sex, and for being good for men who prefer prolonged/more vigorous activity.
As well as good condom choice, there’s also extra advice for anal sex. Unlike the vagina, the anal canal is very absorbent, so water-based lubrication isn’t such a good idea. Without proper lube you’re running the risk of things drying up which puts you at more risk of the condom breaking and opening yourself up to STI/STDs. So do make sure that the lube is in place before you begin and check throughout that things are staying slippery, even the smallest tear renders the condom useless which is why it’s important to keep an eye on things every so often. You might even feel slight discomfort so keep the lubrication to hand.
With both protection and enjoyment firmly in place, you’re good to go!