Safer Sex Guidelines
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- Use condoms on sex toys used by more than one person for any type of penetration (change the condom for each person) or on toys that go from anus to vagina, changing the condoms between insertions.
- Use condoms for intercourse (vaginal and anal).
- Use only latex or polyurethane condoms. Natural skin (lamb intestine) condoms are not completely effective barriers to viruses, though they are better than nothing if no other type of condom can be used.
- When putting condoms on, pinch the air from the reservoir tip and roll onto the penis or toy. (Trapped air bubbles can cause the condom to break.) Uncircumcised men should pull their foreskins back to help prevent the condom from slipping. A drop of lube inside the tip of the condom can enhance sensation for the wearer.
- The actual variation in condom size is slight, but features vary from brand to brand -- experiment and read up on How to Choose a Condom to see which you like best!
- Most condoms are lubricated with either a "wet" gel or a "dry" silicone powder. Can't stand the taste of the lubricant? Try an unlubricated brand, or a flavored brand. You may also want to try using a water-based lube.
- Add lubricant when using a condom during intercourse to reduce friction and the chance of breakage.
- Dental dams are pieces of latex or polyurethane originally designed for dentists to use during dental procedures (hence the name). However, many people find them useful as barriers during oral/vaginal or oral/anal sex. A cut-open condom or glove works, too.
- Use a latex or polyurethane barrier during all types of oral sex.
- Add lubricant to the lickee's side to help increase sensation. To avoid accidentally reversing the dam, keep track of which side of the dam is whose (a mark with a pen can help).
- If you find dams too small, use sheets of kitchen plastic wrap. No studies have yet shown the effectiveness of plastic wrap as a barrier to viruses and bacteria, but many health educators believe it is effective -- it's at least much safer than going without!
- The Female Condom is cylindrical with a soft ring at each end, and is worn by the receptive partner for vaginal or anal intercourse. With vaginal intercourse, the inner ring is pinched and narrowed to slip inside the vagina; with anal intercourse, that inner ring is often removed.
- The Female Condom is made of Nitrile, so it is safe for those with latex allergies.
Gloves & Finger Cots
- Use latex, Nitrile or polyurethane gloves or finger cots for hand or finger penetration of the vagina or anus.
- Gloves are thin, resilient and transmit sensation and temperature beautifully. They make rough hands with jagged nails sleek and smooth -- especially important for anal play. We sell gloves in various sizes, and in latex and non-latex materials.
- Gloves make washing up between anal and vaginal play unnecessary -- simply change your gloves.
- Finger cots, which resemble mini-condoms, are convenient barriers when one finger is being used for penetration, or for small sex toys.
- Store latex products in a cool, dry place.
- Use only water-based or silicone-based lubricants with latex products. Oil of any kind, Vaseline, hand lotion, and vegetable oils included, destroys latex. Steer clear of so-called "water-soluble" lubes, which frequently contain oil.
- Never re-use latex products. Avoid using them after the expiration date (or five years after the manufacture date).
- If you or your partner are allergic or sensitive to latex products, do not touch them. Instead, add or use non-latex alternatives.
- Although lubricants containing spermicides like nonoxynol-9 have been said to provide extra protection against viruses and bacteria, we recommend avoiding this ingredient. Some people are sensitive to it, and some studies have shown that nonoxynol-9 actually increases the chances of bacterial infection or contracting a virus from your partner.
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