5 holiday tips for sensational safer sex

5 holiday tips for sensational safer sex

Safer sex doesn’t mean deprivation. From mint-flavored condoms to underwater lubricants, here are some ways to make safer sex more sensational, and some great ideas for intimate holiday gifts.

Even though safer sex is a necessary part of many relationships, there are times when it feels like the sexual equivalent of a diet. Protective barriers like condoms and dental dams can sometimes seem like barriers to pleasure and intimacy. But sex outside of a disease-free, monogamous relationship absolutely requires protection, considering that an estimated one in every six people carry a sexually transmitted disease, according to the American Social Health Association.

Fortunately, just like the decadent-tasting, low-fat foods that you can buy today, there are many exciting safe sex “goodies” out there for you to try. Using them can make sex with barriers more creative, pleasurable, and fulfilling.

1. A sensational condom tip

Put a couple of drops of water-based lubricant inside the tip of a condom. This simple trick causes the condom itself to rub against the penis during intercourse, creating smooth, stimulating friction. Keep in mind that oil-based lubricants produce microscopic holes in latex, and should never be used with latex barriers. To prevent slippage, use only a couple of small drops of lubricant.

2. Condoms in good taste

The unpleasant taste of latex can certainly lessen the enjoyment of oral sex. However, protection is necessary, since both hepatitis B and herpes can be transmitted via oral sex. Fortunately, flavored condoms and lubricants are easy ways to mask the taste of latex.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know which flavored condoms offer real protection, and which are simply the fluff of novelty. Make sure to check the label for FDA-approval. Otherwise, the condom may not prevent pregnancy or block viral particles. Tried-and-true, FDA-approved options include the Sheik and Lifestyles mint condoms.

For those less willing to explore new condom horizons, one way to improve taste is to add flavored lubricants to a favorite, trusted brand. Make sure, of course, to purchase unlubricated condoms without spermicide. Nothing kills the sexual appetite faster than a little nonoxynol 9 (common condom spermicide) on the palate.

Edible, water-based lubricants that work safely with latex come in nearly as many flavors as jelly beans. Midnite Fire, for instance, provides tropical experiences like Pina Colada and passion fruit, and warms to the breath. Simply apply one of these “toppings” to a condom or oral barrier. Be sure to buy lubricants that are water based—not water soluble—as many of the water soluble lubricants contain oil, which destroys latex.

If these manufactured flavors taste artificial, never underestimate the power of nature. Some couples find that a trace of chocolate, champagne, or lemon honey spritzer turns latex into a much more sensual compound. Be sure, of course, not to use foods containing oil.

3. Alternatives to latex

An estimated 1% of the general population, and 10% to 17% of health care workers, experience latex allergies. Symptoms include a poison-ivy-like rash, itching, and shortness of breath 12 to 36 hours after latex use. This allergy definitely poses a condom conundrum, since traditional latex condoms provide the best and most time-tested protection. However, other alternatives do exist. One is the polyurethane female condom, Reality, which has proven effective against pregnancy and STD transmission.

Since Reality is difficult for some women to insert and maintain, another option for those with latex allergies is to use a lambskin condom over or under a latex condom, depending on whether the receptive or penetrating partner suffers from latex allergies. Never use lambskin condoms alone, because viral particles may slip right through this sheath.

4. Beyond dental dams: sensitive oral sex barriers

Dental dams provide much more pleasure in bed than in the dentist’s chair. Still, some people find them too thick for oral pleasure. Thinner and more sensitive safe alternatives include Saran Wrap and Glyde Lollyes.

With Saran Wrap, partners create a barrier by cutting about five feet off the roll. While the receptive partner lies on one end of the plastic, the accommodating partner guides the other end between her legs, stopping at her navel. Either partner then holds it in place during the oral act. Saran Wrap’s thinness and spacious “work” surface make it appealing to some couples.

Glyde Lollyes, made in Australia, are improvements on the dental dam. Lollyes are bigger (6 x 8 inches) than dams (6 x 6 inches), are thinner, and offer flavors including vanilla and wildberry.

To improve dental dam sensation modify Tip 1. To make barriers taste better see Tip 2.

5. The joy of lubrication

Because of the myth that a woman’s need for lubrication insinuates a lack of arousal, lubricants have gotten a bad rap. In truth, women naturally lubricate in differing amounts—some a little, some a lot.

Natural lubrication is sometimes not enough, especially during protected sex, since latex creates extra friction. Because lubricants reduce friction, their purpose extends beyond pleasure; they may also prevent condom breakage. Although K-Y Jelly works, a whole world of safe lubricants exists outside of the pharmacy, in all manners of texture and consistency. The safe, reputable adult store Good Vibrations recommends Astroglide, ID Lube, Slip or AquaLube for thinness, and Embrace, Slippery Stuff Gel, Probe or K-Y Jelly for thickness.

For underwater intercourse, silicone-based lubricants, like the popular I-D Millennium and Wet Platinum are the most viable options. Both are latex-compatible and stay wet in water.

A word of caution: people with sensitive skin should test all lubricants on a small area of skin before use.

The above are all recommendations for safer, rather than safe sex. Sexual practices, like intercourse and oral sex, which involve the exchange of body fluids, are never totally safe, no matter how protected. However, condoms prevent STD transmission nearly 100% of the time, and pregnancy 88% of the time.

Since HIV and other STDs are modern realities, it helps to accept and incorporate protection into love-making with a creative flair. Paradoxically, the communication involved in buying and using these “barriers” might just make a couple more intimate!

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