Flavored non-latex condoms are a specific need for those who want to have protected oral sex. For approximately 3 million Americans (1% of the country) who are sensitive to natural rubber latex, however, flavored (and non-lubricated) barriers are not an option. They simply are not manufactured for today's safer sex market. So, what's the orally-minded to do?
It's obvious that flavored condoms exist to make protective oral sex more pleasurable and fun. In other words, the taste and smell of latex (particularly, pre-lubed condoms) make many people gag. So manufacturers cooked up a buffet of delicious options—from fairtrade organic fruit flavored condoms by GLYDE to ice cream favorites like ONE's mint chocolate. However, condom makers seem to have forgotten one important allergy.
As of today, there are no latex-free flavored condoms or dams on the market! And ditch your resolve to find a dry, non-lubricated, non-latex barrier because those don't exist either (see plastic wrap below). This is a major problem considering how easy it is to pass on STIs through oral sex.
Protection Is Essential:
Oral sex is one of the most common activities that transcends sexually active men and women of all age groups and sexualities. While it's considered "low risk" for transmission of serious viruses like HIV, the rate of transmission increases for other STIs. Basically, almost all STIs that can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal and anal sex can also be contracted through oral sex (AIDS.gov offers a comprehensive list of sexual activities and the risks they pose for transmitting STIs). This is why safer sex know-how is equally important for eating out, bobbing the knob, and tossing salad (if you know what I mean). Hence why it is so important that everyone, the allergen sensitive included, should have access to pleasurable, protected oral sex.
Safer Sex Options Should Be Plentiful:
The absence of flavored non-latex may be due to a low demand. In general, the popular assumption is that polyisoprene and polyurethane condoms and dams arent manufactured with that latexy aftertaste. So what's the point of flavoring them? But everyone is different, and some still prefer to add flavor and zing to their sexy play.
If you do not like the scent and taste of non-latex, we have two important suggestions for you.
1. Add Flavored Lube
Think of non-latex as a carte blanche on which you can fill your own personal palette of hundreds of flavors and sensations. Literally hundreds. Flavored lubes are designed for oral sex. Yes, they are safe to ingest (you only need a drop or two). Plus, lube does more than just mask the condom's taste nicely. It greatly heightens sensation, increases body heat transfer and can be lots of fun. Experiment! Lucky Bloke offers a handy flavored lube sampler that is compatible with non-latex condoms and dams. Also, there is the Lady Cheeky oral sex kit that includes everything you need from swipe to gloves (although only two of the five condoms are non-latex).
Remember, you may be allergic to a lube ingredient such as glycerin or silicon, so check the content. Flavored lubes such as Encounter Delicious are always parabean-free. To reiterate, make sure your lube is compatible with polyisoprene or polyurethane barriers.
2. Plastic Wrap?!
Yes, but not the microwaveable kind! That has holes which STIs and viruses can pass through. Plastic wrap comes lube-free, but it is compatible with all types of lubricant (oil, silicone and water-based), and it's the least expensive of prophylactics. You can also easily cut it to the exact size and shape needed. This is a good solution for latex sensitive people who like lubricants and want safer cunnilingus (vulva oral sex or "eating out") and analigus (anal oral sex or "rimming").
However, plastic wrap is not an effective protection barrier for male oral sex (fellatio; "blow job"). Keep in mind that plastic wrap tears more easily than other non-latex options, so be a bit more tender.
So, until there are more choices available for latex sensitive folks, there you have it. Stay safe out there!
This guest post is by Lara Worcester, editor at Condom Monologues and Lucky Bloke contributor. They believe in the power of story to relearn sexual safety and affirm sexuality. Find them on social media spaces like Facebook and Twitter.