Aside from being allergic to your own cum or someone else’s (in which case, I send my condolences), there are few allergies that can fuck up your sex life quite like a latex sensitivity. Just picture it: You’ve got a gorgeous person in your bed who’s DTF, when suddenly you realize the only condoms either of you have on hand will make your junk (or theirs) swell up and itch. Not exactly conducive to romance.
It’s estimated that about one percent of Americans have a latex allergy, though the real number might be higher, especially since many people have used latex gloves and other equipment made of latex regularly during the pandemic. Yep, you can develop a latex allergy from repeated exposure to the material. Imagine having so much safe sex that it’s no longer medically safe for you to have safe sex! Paging Alanis Morissette…
Don’t lose hope yet, though. Latex sensitivities are common enough that many of the best-known condom companies have branched out into other, non-latex materials. Let’s talk about the main options available to you.
Non-Latex Condom Materials
1) Polyurethane: This synthetic material conducts heat better than latex, and is sometimes thinner. It has no scent, making it a good pick for people who hate the rubbery smell of standard latex options. However, condoms made of this material are more prone to slippage and breakage than latex ones are, according to a 2017 review in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice, because polyurethane is less stretchy and condoms made of it tend to be looser-fitting. They protect you from STIs and pregnancy at about the same rate as regular latex condoms, though, aside from the slightly increased slippage risk. You can use them with any lube you want, including oils — and putting some lube on your polyurethane condom before sex is a good idea, because it lessens the chances of breakage due to friction.
2) Polyisoprene: This is the most latex-like of all these materials, because it’s a synthetic version of latex — it has the softness and stretchiness you’d expect in a condom, but lacks the protein that triggers latex allergy symptoms. Polyisoprene condoms protect against STIs and pregnancy just as well as latex ones. You can use water-based or silicone-based lubes with them, but not oil — it’ll break down the material, same as it does with latex.
3) Lambskin: Humans fashioning condoms from animal intestines is a tradition that dates all the way back to ancient Rome, and somehow still perseveres today. “Lambskin” condoms are made from sheep intestines, so — obviously — they’re not vegetarian or vegan. They can be used with any type of lube, including oils, and are more biodegradable than other types of condom. Some users say lambskin condoms have great heat transfer and feel more “natural” than other kinds, but the trade-off is that they only protect you from pregnancy, not from STIs — the porous membrane allows viruses to slip through. Lambskin condoms are also some of the most expensive condoms on the market, which seems odd; I certainly couldn’t charge premium prices if I was only doing half my job…
Ready to put some protection on that erection? Here are the best non-latex condoms, so you can keep having comfortable safe sex sans latex…
Best Overall Non-Latex Condom: Skyn Elite
Skyn is one of the best-known names in the non-latex condoms game. Their popular polyisoprene condoms are known for being soft and thin. The Elite is the thinnest one they make, and it has all the great benefits of polyisoprene: good sensitivity, stretchiness and strength. Skyn calls it “the closest thing to wearing nothing” and reviewers tend to agree.
Skyn Elites are made for average-sized penises — if you’re larger, try the Elite Large (below), but if you’re smaller, unfortunately you’ll have to look elsewhere because the company doesn’t offer a snugger option. Still, these are widely considered some of the best non-latex condoms out there, and they’re far likelier to be sold at your local drugstore than some of the more specialized condoms on this list.
Best Large Non-Latex Condom: Skyn Elite Large
Need a non-latex condom for a dick that’s on the bigger side of the spectrum? These are a larger version of the Skyn Elites above. They’re made of thin polyisoprene with great heat transfer, and they get consistently solid reviews online.
Annoyingly, though, these aren’t that much bigger than the standard size — just 10 millimeters longer and three millimeters wider — so if you’re significantly larger than average, these still might not fit. Try Unique Plus XXL condoms instead — they’re some of the longest and widest non-latex options available.
Best Small Non-Latex Condom: Unique Condoms SecureFit
There are literally almost zero non-latex condoms available for smaller penises, which is a bummer — you can develop a latex allergy regardless of your size, and you shouldn’t be limited to such slim pickings just because you have a slim dick. Do better, condom industry!
That said, these snug-fit condoms are a decent option, and definitely as “unique” as their name suggests. They’re made of polyethylene resin, a plastic-derived, vegan-friendly material that’s much thinner than most latex condoms and just as strong. It’s compatible with any type of lube — but you need to apply it to a dry penis for it to adhere the way it’s meant to. (Anyone else shudder audibly upon reading the phrase “dry penis”?)
Best Ultra-Thin Non-Latex Condom: Trojan Supra Bareskin
Though Trojan is best known for their ubiquitous latex condoms, they’ve also thrown their hat into the non-latex ring with their “Supra” line of polyurethane condoms. They claim that the Supra Bareskin is the thinnest non-latex condom on the market. The material is transparent and is indeed super thin, so it can almost look and feel like you’re not wearing a condom at all. It lacks the rubbery scent many of us associate with Trojans, too.
These are on the larger side of average, so unfortunately they won’t work as well for folks toward either end of the size spectrum — but if you’re in the general neighborhood of average-sized, you’ll probably be fine.
Best Extra-Stimulating Non-Latex Condom: Skyn Excitation
The condom selection available to people with latex sensitivities is pretty limited, so it’s nice that Skyn offers something different for those seeking variety and adventure. These polyisoprene Excitation condoms are studded “for her pleasure” and topped off with a menthol lube for some intriguing tingliness. They’ll work best on average-sized dicks.
Keep in mind, though, that some people find gimmicky condoms more grating than pleasurable (think “getting fucked with a popsicle”), so you may want to try these out a couple times before committing to a big box.
Best Non-Latex Condom for Sensitive Skin: Durex Avanti Bare RealFeel
If you have bad reactions not only to latex but also to fragrance, these polyisoprene condoms could be the right ones for you. They’re recommended by Rachael Rose, a sex educator with severe chemical and fragrance sensitivities. Skyn and various other condom companies use a “sensual masking agent” — aka fragrance — in their condoms, and while the average consumer might not notice much of a difference, someone prone to allergic reactions from scents almost certainly would.
Durex’s Avanti Bare RealFeel condoms, on the other hand, have no added fragrance — hallelujah! They’re slightly larger than average, though, so folks with smaller penises might have a tough time using these safely.
Best Lambskin Condom: Trojan NaturaLamb
If you truly want lambskin condoms, these are the easiest ones to find in a drugstore or online. They’re marketed toward monogamous couples, since they offer protection from pregnancy but not from STIs. Lambskin’s ability to transmit heat, so that you feel closer to your partner and even potentially like you’re not wearing a condom at all, is one of its main selling points.
That said, several reviewers complain about these condoms having a weird smell and taste — which makes sense, since they’re made of a sheep’s intestine. (Sorry to yuck your yum…) Unless you’re in a monogamous relationship, aren’t vegan and don’t plan on ever using these for oral sex, you’re probably better off using condoms that weren’t inside a sheep once.