Non Latex Condoms: Rubber Allergy Sufferer's Rejoice
We want to let you in on a little secret. Not all “rubbers” are made of rubber. Some look like and feel like they are, even when they aren’t. Stick around as we cover the highlights of non latex condoms, including their various materials, effectiveness, sizes, types & styles and more. Perhaps more important, discover why you might need, or just want, latex free condoms.
What are non latex condoms?
At their core, non latex condoms look, and mostly feel, like any other traditional latex condoms. What differentiates them is the material. Latex free condoms, as their name indicates, have no presence of the natural rubber latex allergens, making them an appropriate choice for people with an allergy to latex.
What's a latex allergy?
A latex allergy is a reaction that the human body's immune system makes to proteins that are an ingredient in natural rubber latex, or you may have a reaction because of the additives used to manufacture this material. What’s interesting is that some people have an immediate reaction whereas for others it may take up to 4 days to see symptoms.
Statistics and Risk Factor
For the average person, the chance of being allergic to latex runs very low. The likelihood seems to increase, however, the more you are around the material. For example, healthcare workers or someone who works in a rubber factory may be more prone to this type of allergy. Individuals who have had multiple surgeries or anyone with spina bifida are also at a higher risk.
How do you know if you are allergic to latex condoms?
Though everybody reacts differently, there are many common symptoms, from minor skin irritation to rashes, runny nose, sneezing or redness, all the way to life-threatening conditions.
If you have any doubts or suspicions about this condition, consult with your doctor for medical advice.
Non Latex Condoms
Fortunately, today's range of non latex condoms is much better than even just a few years ago. However, due to patent issues and other considerations, not every manufacturer makes these types of prophylactics.
Ranging from natural to synthetic varieties, there are currently three materials used to make non latex condoms:
These materials differentiate themselves a bit by their appearance and feel so let’s take a look at them separately. Later in this article, we also discuss their history.
News Alert: the effectiveness of one of the products is not the same as the other two so don’t miss this important information.
Polyisoprene has very similar, almost identical properties to latex in terms of how it feels, stretches and looks. But of course, it’s not rubber. Plus, this latex-free material is really soft, which makes it quite comfortable to wear. Check out the line of SKYN Condoms and be the judge.
Polyurethane is a medical-grade material that is a thin, clear plastic. It might sound weird, and we have to tell you that it is less stretchy than both latex and other non latex condoms, but stay with us. Polyurethane does have its definite benefits.
Besides the fact that it is an option for latex allergy sufferers, one of the cool things about this material is that it transforms body heat really well, which is invaluable in intimate situations.
It’s very important to remember that this type of prophylactic does NOT protect against STDs. They only help in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. So if you are committed to one partner and are sensitive to latex, these could be a good option for you.
Best non latex condoms
We’re not going to suggest what are the best non latex condoms because really, it’s up to each person. When it comes to products, condoms are about as personal as it gets. So it makes sense that personal preference ultimately is the decision-maker for what is “the best” for you. If you select products from reputable manufacturers — Trojan, Durex, LifeStyles — you’ll be fine.
Reliability and quality are basically equal. All are under the strict supervision of the FDA so the level of quality is not an issue to spend time worrying about. You may like one prophylactic over another, based on personal preference, so try polyisoprene, polyurethane and natural varieties to know what feels best to you.
Non-latex vs. latex
You know the famous Duck Test, which goes something like this: "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." You have to admit that it is a great expression. Now let’s insert prophylactics into the old adage. “If it looks like a latex condom, feels like a latex condom, and acts like a latex condom, then it probably is a latex condom.” Right? Yes, and no... To the untrained eye, polyisoprene condoms are hard to distinguish from their rubber counterparts. So if you do have a rubber allergy, always check the packing to know what you are using.
For the most part, there are not many differences when it comes to non-latex vs. latex condoms, except for what we talked about earlier in this article. The biggest deal is that anyone who is latex sensitive actually has some options for safe sex.
Of course, regular latex condoms offer the widest selection of sizes, but there are a few options to choose from in this latex-free category.
If your manhood comfortably sits in the average size range, you are lucky. Standard size non-latex condoms are available in several styles. We go a bit deeper on this when we get to the section on types. Keep reading or skip ahead.
Large and extra large
For years, men who needed slightly bigger attire to suit up their private parts, especially those with a latex allergy, were simply out of luck. There were simply no L or XL non-latex condoms available. Times have changed a little bit, but there is still no comparison to the sheer variety in the latex category.
If you need something that is slightly bigger, you can find something that fits. However, it will be without the bells and whistles standard size products offer. Ribs, studs and other enhancements haven’t made their way to the bigger sizes yet. For example, Magnum condoms are not available in non-latex form.
Small and snugger fit
We are sorry to bring you this bad news but as we write this article, there are no small or snugger fit non-latex condoms available. We will make sure to update this article when we can give you some more options.
Non-Latex Condom Size Chart
We just gave you an overview of the sizes but to be more specific we put together a non-latex condom size chart. That gives you a quick sample of those sizes that are currently available. Compare lengths, which are generally very similar, and pay attention to the condom base width. This measurement matters the most for you to feel comfortable.
|NAME / BRAND||DESCRIPTION||BUY|
Base girth: 4.6" / 116 mm
Length: 7.9" / 200 mm
Base girth: 4.4" / 112 mm
Length: 8.1" / 205 mm
Girth: 4.5" / 114 mm
Length: 8.1" / 205 mm
Girth: 4.7" / 118 mm
Length: 8.3" / 210 mm
Girth: More sizes (click details)
Length: 7.5” / 190 mm
Go to our complete size chart article that includes latex condoms along with those that are non-latex if you want to see how they compare to each other.
Types & Styles
There are several types and styles of non-latex condoms available in the U.S. today. As we mentioned earlier, standard size men are at an advantage because they have more options to choose from like ultra-thin, studded and extra lubricated.
Just in case you are wondering, latex free condoms are currently not available in a non-lubricated form.
Many small, slightly elevated studs cover the whole body of this type of condom to help stimulate the sensitive areas of the vagina.
As stated, lubrication is one of the most important features of any condom. Of course, you can add more, but this variety comes pre-lubricated with slightly more than other prophylactics.
Before any of the design features that we know today, there was a plain condom in a single standard thickness. Not thin nor thick and with no special features you see in other condoms.
Effectiveness & Reliability
The effectiveness of latex-free condoms vs. latex varieties is on par with each other. According to statistics, if you use them properly and every time you engage in that fun intimate activity, you can expect 98% effectiveness.
No condom completely eliminates the risk of STDs. In general, however, traditional and non-latex condoms are very effective at helping to protect you against common types of STDs like genital herpes, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.
Remember, natural skin or lambskin condoms aren’t designed to protect you from such nasty stuff, so if you aren’t staying true to one person, choose one of the alternate latex-free options.
The retail price of non latex condoms varies by the material. Synthetic versions cost about the same as latex rubbers while lambskin products are more expensive primarily due to their manufacturing process.
Yes, all condoms, including latex free ones, have an expiration date. You should always check the product box or the wrapper for the fine print. The shelf life varies by material but is usually similar to latex, up to five years.
We’ve talked a lot about the materials, but not their origin. The history of condoms and in this case non latex condoms goes back way further than you might ever guess. Then there was a huge gap between the first known material and the next. We’re talking like a 500-year gap.
The oldest in this category, without a doubt, are lambskin condoms, which as we mentioned, are made out of animal intestines. This dates back to, say, the 1500s. Maybe even before that but we know the mid-Renaissance era saw their use.
Then you have to skip all the way to nearly the millennium to see the next latex-free option. In 1997, the first polyurethane condoms, Durex’s Avanti, hit the sheets. This had to make all rubber allergy sufferers extremely happy because they finally had a new safe sex option. Trojan followed suit two years later with it’s Supra condoms.
Thankfully, it wouldn’t be another 500 years before another material innovation came along. LifeStyles Skyn condoms, made of polyisoprene, debuted in 2008. Durex subsequently redesigned its Avanti to use this natural-feeling material, which many find to be very soft and comfy.
Any condom can break if it’s dry or not lubricated enough. Remember, condoms like to slide. To avoid breakage, use additional lubricant as needed, and always handle properly.
One of the factors that bugged users in the past was the condom smell after opening the wrapper. Luckily, condoms today don’t have much odor. This, of course, is very individual to each user’s nose, and can also vary by material and the brand you use. For the most part, latex-free condoms have an especially subtle scent, with the exception of the natural skin variety.
The great thing about condoms, in general, is that there are no hormonal side effects compared to other types of birth control. Considering the fact that there are no latex allergens in these prophylactics, the known side effects* are like… zero.
*This article is for information purposes only and not to give any medical advice. If you have a medical question or concern, please contact your doctor.
Non latex flavored condoms
We are happy to announce that Skyn recently introduced the first flavored non latex condoms. How delicious is that?
Non latex condom reviews
Like with any product, people’s opinions are subjective, but in this case knowing the experiences of latex-sensitive people might help. Be your own reviewer, however. Try them all out, and then maybe write your own review in your mind or if you feel like sharing it with other users, write your thoughts on the particular product page. Avoid being as brief as “They are good” or “They suck.” Explain why they are or are not a good option for anyone who has this type of allergy.
Do you have any condom questions? Let us know. Non latex condoms are certainly the answer for people with an allergy to natural rubber latex. Even if you don’t have a medical reason for using them, give them a try. You may like the characteristics of one of these materials so much that it becomes your personal prophylactic preference.