Breastfeeding? How to make the switch from birth control to condoms
Looking for an alternative to hormonal birth control? Reconsider the old tried-and-true: The condom. Not sure if it's for you? Try these tips and you may change your mind.
Q: I'm a new mom who is exclusively breastfeeding. While my doctor told me there are some safe birth control pills I can use while nursing, she also talked to me about how some hormonal contraceptives can suppress milk production or pass hormones on to my baby. She also told me how careful you have to be and not to miss a pill. I've decided for the time being to switch to condoms. The trouble is, my hubby and I haven't used condoms since we first started dating seven years ago so we're a little outdated. And to be honest, we weren't really fans then. How do we get back in the game and choose a condom that isn't going to turn us off from sex completely? Please help. Signed, Overwhelmed in Austin
A: Thank you for sharing your dilemma. Many women are gravitating to non-hormonal birth control options for many differing personal reasons. I remember re-examining my own birth control options after the birth of each of my children. It's already such a tricky time, managing a tiny new human (and new family dynamics), your own energy levels (what energy?) and a sex drive that feels non-existent for some women and insatiable for others (yes, really). It can be quite overwhelming.
However, navigating condom choices doesn't have to be daunting. Though I do understand that it often feels that way, because very few of us are ever taught how to properly choose condoms. The good news is I'll cover that here now, and when you and your partner are ready to be intimate, you’ll have some fantastic condoms on hand that will dramatically improve your condom experience.
1. Size matters
Proper condom fit is critical to mutual pleasure, as well as condom effectiveness. We're all about avoiding condom fouls, right? When your partner is wearing a condom that fits, the condom is much less likely to slip or break.
It is very helpful to know that condoms come in three size categories and most men who dislike condoms are actually using the wrong size. (If your partner complains that condoms are too loose, too tight, or that he can't feel anything... guess what? He's wearing the wrong condom.)
Here is a simple (and potentially entertaining) way to determine the condom size you need. (Spoiler: you'll need a toilet paper roll and the erect penis of your choice.)
2. Explore, experiment... explore
Once you've determined your guy's condom size, I highly recommend experimenting with a condom sampler. This is the most cost-efficient and fail-safe way to discover what condoms are right for you and your partner.
Here are some tips on selecting from the most popular samplers available.
Non-latex condoms are becoming increasingly popular, especially for couples who don't actually have latex allergies or sensitivities. Why? Because non-latex is odorless, softer and conducts heat (read: you will really feel each other) better than when using traditional latex condoms. There are a few brand-new non-latex styles, and a non-latex condom sampler allows you to explore the best latex-free condoms available on the market without having to buy an entire box of each style that strikes your fancy.
Another great option is a sampler of the best textured condoms. These condoms will include a great variety of studded, ribbed, dotted and even tattoo textures to stimulate and enhance the experience.
A pleasure shaped condom sampler is an important option because, let's face it, not everyone's favorite penis fits neatly (or comfortably) into straight, classic condoms. This sampler is perfect for anyone who'd enjoy more head room.
Many companies tout that their condom is the best and thinnest. You can skip through this confusion and try a carefully selected sampler of the best extra thin condoms.
3. Finally, don't forget the lube
Personal lubricants and condoms go hand in hand. If you're tired or your hormones are even slightly off, you are most likely going to be drier. (This has nothing to do with how aroused you may or may not be.) And let's face it, a condom-friendly lube works wonders for enhancing sensitivity and protecting your most delicate areas from condom chafing. Consider an ultimate lube sampler and enjoy the discovery.
If you follow these three steps: Figure out the condom size you need, keep an open mind as you explore the best premium condoms available, and add your own lube, I guarantee you will have a new and improved relationship with condoms. Guaranteed.