Tag Archives: condoms

How To Build Your Pleasure Chest

In light of the somber mood following the U.S. elections, SuzyKnew! brings you something more pleasurable to focus your mind on from our guest blogger based in Ghana. This article is a follow-on from Your Sexualicious Self. 

To have great sex you first have to know what you like. Most of that comes from trial and error. It comes from finding out what turns you on even before you take off your clothes, whether it’s romance novels, erotic literature, porn, long yearning looks or poodles. Then it comes from exploring your body so you figure out what feels good, and learning how to make yourself come so you can teach someone else how to make it happen. And most importantly, it comes from figuring out the things that make up your optimal sexual experience and making sure they are a part of your sex life. The idea is to create a pleasure chest, a toolbox filled with a list of favorites: your favorite baby-making playlist, your favorite things to hear, your favorite foreplay moves, your favorite positions, you get the idea. You figure out what a sexual experience looks like for you and then you keep developing a list of the things you want to be present when you’re getting some. The first thing in my personal pleasure chest was finding the perfect condom.

See, I used to be a condom fanatic. I didn’t start having sex until I was 22 and someone had told me once, when I was younger, that having sex with a condom on was like trying to eat candy through the wrapper. It made an impression on my child brain. So I made a promise to myself: I was never going to have sex without a condom because then all I would know was wrapper-covered candy and I wasn’t going to miss the amazing fully-tasted candy that I had never had. This absolute dedication to condoms, and terror of being tempted to bareback it and then never being able to return to responsible behavior, meant that I couldn’t be casual about what kind of condom was starring in the play when I was knocking boots. A lot of women use condoms as their preferred form of birth control and STD prevention but its shocking how few of us think we have any say in which condom is invited to the party in our pants. We figure the guy is the one wearing it so we let the guy pick it and unless it gives us some kind of adverse reaction or infection we just kind of go with the flow.

Nah, chile, naaaaaaaahhhhh. I decided that since condoms were integral to my sexual activity I needed to find the best condom possible. Adequate, just wasn’t going to do. So I tried a bunch of different ones. I started with some random Durex that my boyfriend had picked up at the grocery store and immediately decided no bueno. So I did some research and then switched to a non-lubricated kind that worked amazingly with that partner for the entire relationship. Then I got a different partner and realized that that condom didn’t feel good anymore. So I went on a quest for the perfect condom. There are a bunch of condoms:

  1. What I call the normal kind: So here, we’re talking about non-lubricated condoms (which are just a rubber condom with no lube on it, for the women who produce oodles of lubrication, for couples who prefer to use a lube of their choice, or for folks who like dry sex). We’re talking about lightly-lubricated condoms (which have a small amount of lube on them to help the condom slip in but won’t provide much moisture for a whole round of sexing). And then we’re talking about lubricated condoms (which load up on the lube for maximum ease when sliding in and thrusting). With lubricated condoms you can decide between the ones with the standard silicon-based lubricant on them or the ones with water-based lube.
  1. Then come what I call the gimmicky condoms: So here we’re talking glow-in-the-dark condoms (which make dicks look like neon light-sabers and make them easy to find in the dark). We’re talking about colored condoms (which come in a rainbow of colors and allow you to match the guy’s junk to your sheets if you want). We’re talking about tantric-style condoms (which have tattoo patterns on them if you want something pretty to look at). We’re talking about flavored condoms (which are good for oral and for people who like fragrances in their naughty bits) and we’re also talking about edible condoms (which are for oral only and don’t provide any STD or pregnancy protection),
  1. Then come what I call the specially-engineered condoms: So here we’re talking about pleasure-enhancing condoms (which are shaped to allow for space at the tip of the condom so the guy feels increased sensation when thrusting and you get some extra feelings when the flared or mushroom top of the condom is rubbing against your naughty bits). We’re talking about studded condoms (which have studs, ribs, rings and raised parts that provide extra friction for the woman and added stimulation for the guy) and French-tickler condoms (which have actual rubber tickler tips, nodules, nubs and ridges on the outside of the condoms that tickle the inner walls of the vajayjay, but are not for STD and pregnancy prevention). We’re also talking about warming condoms (which increase sensation by warming up when you get moist and providing a pleasant slow low kind of heat during the humpty-hump) and talking about tingling condoms (which have mint in them that tingles and intensifies sensation). Other specially-engineered condoms are sensis condoms (which have “quikstrips,” designed to make them more error-proof when you are putting them on).

Condoms also come in different materials (lambskin — which aren’t too safe, latex — which are the most common kind, polyurethane, and polyisoprene). They come in varying thicknesses, from regular thickness, like the Trojan ENZ Non-Lubricated Condom I used to favor


to super-thin, like the Beyond Seven Sheerlon Latex Male Condom, which I later became a big fan of.


In my quest to find my perfect prophylactic I discovered that I didn’t much care about the color, flavor, smell and taste of my condoms. So the gimmicky ones all didn’t do it for me. I liked my condoms either non-lubricated or lightly-lubricated since the highly-lubricated ones sometimes felt oily and didn’t match the silkiness of my natural wetness. I didn’t mind ridges and bumps but they didn’t drive me nuts. What mattered the most was the thinness of the condom. I liked feeling every line and texture and groove on my lover’s junk when it was inside me and the closest condoms could come to skin the better for me the sex was.

So I tried the “thin” versions of all the major condom brands. They were all kind of…okay. So then I tried brands made outside the U.S., which are all easy to find online and in any sex shop. That led me to my favorite condom:

The Japanese-engineered Kimono MicroThin Condom:


And my second-favorite, the Thai-based Crown Latex Male Condom, which are almost as awesome as the Kimono MicroThins but cost less.


You’re thinking this sounds kinda involved, aren’t you? Maybe you’re thinking “It ain’t that big a deal, lady, I’m all about head anyway.” And that’s fair. But if penetration gets you off, or you are a big believer in safe oral sex and use condoms for fellatio, or you just want to maximize pleasure for however long or short the actual humping is, this process can be very simple, and very fun. Try one category.  If you like it explore other things in that category till you find something that blows your mind. There are lots of hybrids too so if you love a bunch of different features, like say studs, warming and thinness you’ll find it. A lot of sex shops offer free condom samples so you can taste the rainbow without dropping any moolah and only start purchasing when you settle on what you like.

In my experience, your holy grail condom will usually be a favorite for your partner too. Different condoms might also work better with different people or at different times so you might find yourself with two or three favorites that you alternate depending on who has the privilege of being between your sheets. There might have to be some tiny compromises, for example my partner was very well-endowed and the Kimonos were too snug around the base, so we had to find Large Kimono MicroThins, which I thought were a hairsbreadth thicker than the Regular MicroThins. (My partner said it was all in my head because it’s the same damn condom and he was probably right). Either way, the compromise didn’t diminish my pleasure one bit. I also know of a couple where the woman liked a tingling condom but the guy wasn’t the biggest fan because it made him come too quickly so they would start with a tingling condom to get her going and then change to a studded one to finish her off.  So believe me when I say that with a little imagination both you and your man can find your perfect happy place.

If you don’t have one steady partner to take this journey with, the condom search can be even easier. For casual encounters you can keep a bunch of condoms in your purse or car or in a drawer in your room for when you guys go back to your place. You’ll feel like a badass when you slide open your drawer and choose what you want instead of watching him fumble around in his pocket or wallet. You can cycle through the different condoms with the different partners until you find the one(s) that hit(s) your spot and then make that your go-to. You will take ownership of an important part of your sex life and be on your way to building your very own pleasure chest.

F.N. is a thirty something Ghanaian free-lance writer who alternates between living in Accra and Washington, DC.

The HIV-Killing Condom Is Here… And A HIV-Killing Tampon Is On Its Way…

By now, you have probably heard it’s here: a condom that gives you that extra protection so you can kick back and get your grove on with less worry about infection – and more focus on pleasure.

Condoms with HIV-killing VivaGel® lubricant will be available in Australia in just a few months. Developed by an Australian biotech company, VivaGel kills HIV, other viruses such as HPV and HSV (herpes), as well as your run-of-the-mill STDs.  Such super condoms will be introduced by Ansell,the world’s second largest condom manufacturer, under the brand name  LifeStyles Dual Protect™ After hitting Australia, the condom should come out in Japan and eventually make it to the U.S.

But, did you also know the HIV-Killing tampon is in development, as well? As recently reported by salon.com, a group of University of Washington researchers is developing an HIV-fighting tampon that would dissolve within minutes inside your vagina before sex to fight HIV. But, the novel product is still in clinical trials. It may take five years or more before the feminine product makes it to the shelves in the U.S. and else where in the world.

But, if you plan to use the HIV-killing condoms to get your grove on twice a day for two weeks or more, a critic says the ground-breaking barrier method could cause irritation and inflammation making you more susceptible to HIV and HPV. HPV researcher Anna-Barbara Moscicki, M.D., a pediatrics professor at University of California, San Fransisco reported to The Huffington Post that VivaGel, as an intravaginal cream, caused mild irritation and inflammation in her test subjects. However, the professor’s study used a higher concentration of the drug than the condoms will. 

Equally important to note, VivaGel is also being developed to provide relief for bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis is caused by an imbalance of the normal vaginal bacteria which can produce an unpleasant odor in the genital area. 

What’s New For World AIDS Day 2012? Condoms That Make Sex Better

So another World AIDS Day (December 1) has come and gone and you wonder what’s new? What’s new is that in 25 countries – mainly in Africa – the rate of new HIV infections has gone down by 50%. But, you’re probably wondering what’s new and sexy, right?

How about condoms that help your man last and keep you coming… (smile) We all want to stay away from infection but using a kill-joy condom all the time isn’t easy.  While extra lubricated, thin and ribbed condoms are nice, it’s good that industry is finally getting the message that if they want more people to use condoms, they have to make condoms that make sex better.

Enter CSD500 condoms. Also, dubbed the “Viagra Condom.” They aren’t available now but their British biotech manufacturer Futura Medical, known for innovative consumer health products, especially in the arena of sexual health, is hoping they’ll be on the market in Europe in 2013.

Now before you get all hot and bothered it’s important to know that the jury is still out on whether the CSD500 condom does all that it says it does.  The product works by lining the condom with a vasodilating gel, which increases blood flow to the penis and helps maintain erection. But unlike Viagra, it’s not made for  men who have erectile dysfunction but for men who have trouble keeping it up when they have a condom on.  And data show that women like the high-tech condom, too.

For more on the product click here:  http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/09/could-a-new-viagra-condom-encourage-safer-sex/#ixzz2ELZORd3k

But, there have been a lot of starts and stops in the launch. Back in 2011, Futura Medical licensed CSD500 to Durex. But, the deal went sour, and in August 2012, Futura Medical took back its rights and decided to control manufacturing itself. While the product is waiting for Europe’s stamp of approval in 2013, it will need more clinical data to get approval in the US.

More good news is that the CSD500 should combat another common cause of HIV/STI transmission: condoms that slip off because of erection problems.

We’re hoping SuzyKnew readers will report back on this new uplifting condom for World AIDS Day 2013.



Did You Miss Female Condom Day?

Inserting a female condom

Did you remember to celebrate Global Female Condom Day on September 12?

If you missed it, you can still join in on the fun.

The Female Condom still isn’t most ladies’ first choice in contraception or HIV prevention. But, it’s nice to know that it’s out there, especially since it is touted as the only female-controlled contraceptive that protects you from HIV/AIDS. You don’t have to wait for your man to put on his condom. You can put your own on.  But, now, the product is also promoted for gay male sex. So, the “FC” – as it’s fondly called – isn’t uniquely female any more.

Years back when I was working with female sex workers in Cambodia I attended a highly coveted class on how to use the Female Condom and teach other women to use it as well. There were 4 classes. So, this tells you something about how user-friendly it is (not).

I never could figure out how to get it inside me. But, don’t let my experience discourage you.

These days, the FC comes in other versions. Like a quieter and more affordable version. Maybe you heard that the original FC makes a lot of noise and is cold when you first insert it.  Your worries are over.  The FC2, as it’s called, isn’t as noisy. It’s made out of nitrile. There are also Indian companies making female condoms out of latex, the material used for male condoms, warming up more quickly to your body temperature.

Youtube has tons of videos on the Female Condom.  Most of them focus on how to use the product. Sigh… Here are two that have gotten a lot of views.

Female Condom

British Female Condom Demonstration