- Jan 01, 2017
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Approximately 6% of the UK population has some degree of a latex allergy, which is likely similar in other countries.
The use of male latex-free condoms is on the rise. Non-latex condoms were designed to be used by those with a latex allergy or hypersensitive skin. Use among non-allergic people is also popular. Depending on the material used, non-latex condoms can offer higher sensitivity through being thinner whilst offering comparable level of protection against unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of STI's.
This list is a review of latex free and non-latex condoms. We will compare different condoms of this type and the comparison will cover condom sizes such as length, girth and thickness. Keep in mind that a best condom for someone else may not be the best condom for you. Choosing the right condom should be easier with knowledge of their differences.
Lambskin condoms and latex-free (non-latex condoms)
Whilst lambskin condoms are latex-free, they are very different to most condoms (for one they do not offer protection against STI's), so they will be excluded from the non latex condoms in this review.
What are non-latex (latex-free) condoms?
Lambskin (excluded) - Polyisoprene - Polyurethene
Male condoms created without latex from materials such as polyisoprene and polyutherane are considered latex-free. Most common reason for using non-latex condoms is allergy or hypersensitivity. These condoms are also used by those who seek to have a more natural feeling (polyisoprene condoms for example are very thin (15 micron), up to 3-4 times thinner than standard latex condoms (65-70 micron thin))
Do latex-free condoms offer protection against STI's?
According to WHO (World Health Organization) modern non-latex condoms made from polyutherane and polyisoprene have a somewhat higher clinical breakage rates in comparison to standard latex condoms. However, they still are considered to be an acceptable alternative for those with allergies and higher sensitivity. The breakage rate during intercourse and withdrawal for polyutherane condoms are about twice as high as that of regular condoms. Since standard condoms offer offer about 98% protection for couples over the course of a year, the modern latex-free condoms would offer about 96% protection for couples over the course of a year (regular sex with a condom).
What are the pros and cons of using latex free (non-latex) condoms?
Pros of non-latex condoms:
- Thinner condoms (up to 4x thinner) give more natural sensations
- No latex smell
- For hypersensitive skin and for those suffering from allergies
- Comparable in terms of protection against breakage and slippage to latex condoms
Cons of non-latex condoms:
- Smaller range of sizes
- Research on effectiveness is still in progress
- More expensive than regular latex condoms
- About twice as likely as latex condoms to break and slip (yet still very rare)
Do people recommend using the polyutherane and polyisoprene condoms?
Originally designed to be used by people with latex allergy, the latex-free condoms are gaining popularity amongst people who don't have allergies.
Most studies that analyzed performance of non-latex condoms found that people who have used latex-free condoms would recommend their use to others.