How To Get Used To Condoms Again: A Helpful Guide

Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
Maybe you’ve slipped up a few times, or you’ve been on hormonal contraception for the last few years, perhaps you’ve just been keeping it under lock and key and haven’t given up the goods for a while. Whatever your reason, if your vagina hasn’t greeted a condom in recent memory, adjusting to using them again can be a rough transition… literally. But life’s too short to settle for substandard sex, and every woman should be able to enjoy it whether he’s wrapping up or not.
There are literally thousands of condoms to choose from, and just because a brand is popular and easily accessible doesn’t mean it’s the best on the market, in fact it probably means the opposite as the products are mass-produced which likely means cheaply made. Do some research and prepare to think outside the box. The quality of your sex life is at stake for goodness sake. From latex and non-latex, to textured, warming, flavoured, pleasure-shaped and glow in the dark – your options are close to limitless. Here's how to rediscover the pleasures of protected sex.
Ready for action
There are two key elements that need to be mastered when it comes to conquering this whole condom thing. Firstly, learning to put them on with minimal disruption to the fun, and, secondly, making sure you’re using the right products (that means condoms and lube) to guarantee maximum satisfaction.
Psychosexual therapist and co-founder of the Pillow Play App, Kate Moyle offers advice on keeping condoms close to hand. "I think partners often fear the interruption of using or introducing a condom and having to fit that into the sexual routine," she says. "But you can make putting a condom on fun, it's something that the two of you can do together. I'd always say put one under the pillow or on the bedside table so it's within reach – then at the point at which you want to start using it there’s as little interruption as possible. That way the two of you don't have to stop enjoying the foreplay, and putting on a condom can become a part of it.
"It [a condom] will have as big of an impact as you let it have, and there's no reason that you can't have really enjoyable non-penetrative sex followed by just as pleasurable penetrative sex with a condom.”
Wet, wet, wet
As mentioned above, condoms should always be used with a good quality lubricant. Condoms create a protective barrier between partners, so the absence of skin-to-skin contact can feel unnatural which means moisture is a must. There are countless reasons why a woman can dry up before or during sex, including stress, sensitivities, and poor lifestyle choices, so adding a foreign material to the mix can sometimes exacerbate the problem.
“People don’t understand that you really need to use additional lube with condoms from a pleasure and safety standpoint,” says Melissa White, global condom expert and CEO & Founder of Lucky Bloke, purveyor of the world’s best condoms. She explains, “Condoms don’t come with enough lubricant on them, if you’ve used one you know this. I like to compare it to a kitchen glove that you might wash your dishes with. If you rubbed one along your arm it would be incredibly uncomfortable unless you had soap or something to make it wet. And it’s the same for condoms except it’s in your delicate region so you need lube even more. It also helps condoms not to break so that’s really important, especially because the most pleasurable condoms are thinner ones.”
Size matters
The issue of size is something that’s often overlooked when it should be the first thing you consider when picking a condom because it has an impact on the sensation for both partners. “Let’s say a guy’s using a condom that’s too big. It’s gonna slip and slide around inside of her and she’ll feel that. Sometimes it will even slide off inside her, and that’s a real problem,” says Melissa. On the flip side, imagine a condom that’s too tight, cutting off the blood circulation in your partner’s penis and robbing you both of his erection. Not sexy.
You can always forgo traditional male condoms and give internal femidoms a try, Melissa suggests. “It’s very hard to get your head around but the female condom is very popular with people who try it. It can be inserted a couple of hours before, and it’s made of the non-latex material nitrile. It also means you don’t have to discuss or negotiate it with your partner and it completely takes away the size issue because a woman’s wearing it,” she says.
So before you accept defeat and write off condoms as lifelong desire-destroyers think about the benefits. They protect you from pregnancy and potentially life-changing STDs, plus there’s nothing to clean up afterwards; it’s a win-win. It’s time to start your search for the condoms that could change the quality of your sex life for years to come. So cast your net far and wide and don’t be afraid to experiment. We wish you the best of luck!

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series