Rubber Up!

Chapter 3 - Choosing The Right Brands

Why use stronger condoms?

AIDS organisations in Britain consistently advise gay men to choose thicker, stronger condom brands, rather than the standard brands recommended for vaginal sex. The main basis for this advice comes from Dutch research in the 1980s, which found that standard strength condoms were three times more likely to fail than thick condoms when used by gay men during anal sex. British research has also found that just under two per cent of strong condoms break or slip off during anal sex Ė which is about the same as the number of standard strength condoms that fail during vaginal sex.

The other reasoning behind this advice is that itís better to be safe than sorry. First, itís likely that anal sex puts an added strain on a condom compared to vaginal sex. Secondly, the relatively high rates of HIV infection among gay men mean that when two gay men meet and have sex, statistically it's more likely that one of them will be HIV-positive than when, say, a straight couple meet in a singles bar. That means that thereís a greater risk of HIV transmission if the condom were to break.

The emphasis of this book reflects the view that gay men are best advised to use stronger condoms. However, itís worth mentioning that AIDS organisations in different countries take different lines. In much of Europe and in the USA, gay men are not encouraged to prefer stronger condoms. On the vast majority of occasions, standard strength condoms used properly with plenty of water-based lubricant are unlikely to break or slip off during anal sex, and are certainly far better than nothing. If you find that thicker condoms result in a loss of sensation that is severely hampering your enjoyment of fucking, you might want to try using standard condoms instead. Be sure to check during the sex that the condom isnít damaged.