How to pick the perfect condom

Condoms have been around for a while and we have moved far and beyond early condom ‘technology’, which included the likes of linen sheaths, animal intestines and rubber!

Thankfully today, latex condoms dominate the market, with new techniques making them safer to wear, easier to produce and more pleasure-inducing than ever before. So what are some of the things you should look for when it comes to finding the perfect franger for your fella?

How to find your condom size?

No matter the size of your equipment, there will be a condom that fits it; the trick however is finding the perfect fit.

Figuring out the correct size for your dick can be complex, and while there are at times only millimetres of difference, that can be the decider between a condom that is too tight and painful to wear, one that it too loose and can slip off, or one that fits like a glove. Finding a condom that is long enough, is not usually a problem (many range between 180mm and 210mm), but it is the girth or width of a condom that is usually the issue.

After a quick study of some of the condoms that are available in the Aussie market, we found three different size categories (again, we a really talking about width or the diameter here, so don’t panic):

Regular/Standard: 52-56mm
Slimmer/Snug: 49-52mm
Large: 56-60mm

On each box of condoms you will be able to find a ‘nominal width’, which is the width of the condom at or near its open end. This size will give you an indication of what size category you are looking at. This distinction might be helpful for you as condom names can often be confusing, and what is ‘regular’ for one brand might be ‘large’ for another.

Condom size chart

To give you a picture of how much condom sizes vary, here’s a chart with a short list of examples:

Name Width (mm)
Lifestyles Regular (Flared Fit) 54
Lifestyles Ultra Thin 53
Lifestyles Large 56
Lifestyles Zero (Classic/straight fit) 52
Lifestyles Nano Thin (Classic/straight fit) 54
Lifestyles Form Fit 52
Lifestyles Ribbed 54
Lifestyles O’Max Studded 52
Lifestyles Assorted 53
Skyn Original 53
Skyn Elite 53
Skyn Intense Feel 53
Skyn Extra Lube 53
Skyn Large 56
Skyn Selection Pack 53
Skyn Unknown Pleasures 53
Skyn Intense Vibe 53
Four Seasons Naked Classic 54
Four Seasons Naked Black 56
Four Seasons Naked Delay 54
Four Seasons Naked Closer 49
Four Seasons Naked Larger 60
Four Seasons Air 52
Durex Regular 56
Durex Climax Stimulating Condoms 56
Durex Fetherlite Ultra Thin Feel 52
Durex Pleasure Me Condoms 56
Durex Comfort XL 57
Glyde Ultra 53
Glyde Slimfit 49
Glyde Super Max 60

(This list is just intended as a sample of different condoms available in Australia, it is not intended as an endorsement of specific brands nor is it an exhaustive list!)

That’s a lot of numbers! But don’t be overwhelmed. The process for finding your condom size is as simple as trying on clothes.

A good fit shouldn’t feel like it’s constricting the girth of your dick, neither should it feel like it might slip off with some movement. Also, you want to be taking note about how the condom feels when you are fully erect (remember, you cum when fully aroused).

If, for example, it’s feeling too tight, take note of the size of the condoms and look for a size up for next time. This is generally easier to do if you stay with the same brand, but you can always check out the nominal width and see what is comparable in another range.

glass slipper being fitted to a foot

Pssst. Maybe don’t wait for that perfect prince to slip it on for you.

Ribbed, ultra-thin, and textured condoms oh my!

For some guys, condoms can take away a level of sensitivity, which, let’s be real, can reduce pleasure and make it harder to cum. For those who want to and can, condoms with special textures or different levels of thickness can create more exciting sensations.

Polar bear sliding belly

Many condom brands have ‘ultra-thin’ ranges, which allow for increased sensitivity through a thinner condom lining. This can increase your sensitivity and help out if you are having trouble getting close to ejaculation while wearing condoms. It’s for this reason that some guys also look into starting PrEP; a medication regime that prevents you from getting HIV. Although, it’s important to note that if you are having condomless sex while on PrEP, you won’t be protected from contracting other STIs, so getting tested frequently is recommended. It is also possible to use condoms and PrEP together for protection against HIV, as well as other STIs.

Another reason you might find yourself reaching for a textured condom is if you’re the top and you want to give your partner a little more sensation. Ribbed and textured condoms come in a wide variety, often coming in mixed packs, so you and you partner can explore the range and find what feels right. Open communication is the best way to making sure you are looking after your partner when trying new things in the bedroom and that includes condoms.

NB: Using lube with condoms is important! You should opt for either water-based, silicone or water/silicone hybrid-based lubes instead of oil-based lubes to prevent the condom from tearing.

Here are some other condom Dos and Don’ts.

There is always time for lubricant!
Lube is your friend!

Condoms with flavour

Arguably, if you are using condoms, you probably aren’t drawn to them for their taste.. Most guys don’t use condoms for oral sex (surprise!) and that’s OK as oral sex is extremely low risk for HIV transmission. However, if you are planning on using a condom in conjunction with oral, why not have it flavoured!

Some popular flavour varieties of condoms include cola, vanilla, blueberry, strawberry and banana. Flavoured condoms can be a great way to spice up sex, so why not taste the (condom) rainbow!

Giraffe tasting a rainbow
Like/share/subscribe if this gif depicts your love life.

What if you have a latex allergy?

The average condom is usually made out of latex, and with a small percentage of the population having an allergy to latex, this presents a problem to those who want to use them for safer sex. Allergic reactions to latex can vary, but a usual symptom of a latex allergy is an itchy rash at the site of contact.

The good news is that you can usually find latex-free condoms in stores, and the entire Skyn range is made from latex-free material and is widely available in Australia. Whatever the make of your condom, it shouldn’t be the cause of discomfort during sex!

Avoid the itch, and buy some latex-free condoms ahead of your next session.

So what are the alternatives to latex condoms?

Besides latex, there are a few other materials that condoms are made from, which prove especially beneficial for those who have a latex allergy. Each of these materials comes with its own set of properties that can affect the overall condom experience.

Lambskin, or natural membrane condoms, are made from the intestinal lining of lambs. These condoms are known for their superior heat transfer and for offering a more natural feeling. While these condoms have been used effectively for contraception, they are not effective at preventing STI or HIV transmission because of their porous nature. Due to this, we do not recommend using lambskin condoms.

Polyurethane condoms are a great alternative to latex for those with allergies. They are usually thinner than latex condoms and therefore can transmit heat better, making them a popular choice for those seeking increased sensitivity. Polyurethane condoms are also resistant to oil-based lubricants, which can break down latex condoms.

Another option is polyisoprene, a synthetic version of natural rubber latex. Polyisoprene condoms have similar elastic properties to latex but are hypoallergenic, making them suitable for people with latex allergies. They also offer similar levels of protection against STIs and HIV when compared with latex.

What about cost?

Condoms come at relatively affordable prices within standard varieties and are available at pharmacies, supermarkets, adult shops, convenience stores, petrol stations and online stores. Cost generally ranges from $5 through to $25 depending on the variety and number of condoms in the box.

If cost is a problem for you, you can often find free condoms available at a number of locations. Use our find free condoms tool, and find a location near you.

Don’t choose between safe sex and money! Find some free condoms near you.

Putting it on… the right way

Knowing how to properly use a condom is just as important as finding the perfect fit. Misuse can lead to the condom breaking, slipping, or failing to provide protection. So, here are some simple steps on how to put a condom on safely:

  1. Check the expiry date! Also make sure the condom is fresh and that it hasn’t been stored for long periods in warm places or in direct sunlight.
  2. Open the packet carefully. Push the condom into the opposite corner of the package from the corner that you are tearing. Avoid using your teeth or nails when opening the package so you don’t rip the condom.
  3. Make sure it is the right way up. Be sure that the roll of latex is on the outside, not the inside.
  4. Squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom.
  5. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the dick.
  6. Apply lots of lube to the outside of the condom (and inside the other person’s arse).
  7. After sex, hold on to the condom at the base of your dick as you pull out. Otherwise, it may stay inside the other person’s arse.
  8. Tie it in a knot and put it in the bin. Do not flush down the toilet.

Remember, practice makes perfect! So you might like to practice putting a condom on in your own time, so you’ll be ready for your next hook-up. Knowing how to do this is essential to protecting you and your partner from STIs properly.

Choose the right condom for you

So whether you are searching for a better fit, an alternative to latex or looking with some with more texture or flavour, finding the perfect condom is achievable.

Still have some lingering questions about condoms that we haven’t discussed? Learn more about condoms here or check out our frequently asked questions tool and see if you can find an answer! Otherwise you can call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624 to speak with a sexual health nurse.