Rubber Up!

Chapter 3

Choosing The Right Brands

Which shape?

Another way in which condom brands may vary is whether or not they have a teat. The ideas of the teat is to provide a space in which the cum can collect. The instructions for using teatless or ‘plain-ended’ condoms usually recommend you to leave a little space at the end of the condom when putting it on for the same reason.

Some gay men are concerned that the teat is a vulnerable weak-spot, and that condoms with teats are more likely to break than plain-ended condoms. We’re not aware of any evidence that this is true. So whether or not you choose to use teated or teatless condoms is simply a matter for your personal taste.

There are other variations in condom shape, such as whether the sides of the condom are moulded to fit the shape of the cock or simply form a straight cylinder, or whether the latex is textured with ribs or studs. It’s unclear whether these design subtleties make any difference to the condom’s reliability. If you’re thinking of experimenting with the various types, remember that most of these novelty features are available only on standard strength condoms which are not recommended for anal sex.

Many sex shops sell ‘exotic’ condoms which are covered with flanges, knobs and nodules. Like the luminous condoms sold in some vending machines, these types of condom are intended as jokes or gimmicks and are not tested for their effectiveness against HIV and pregnancy. Don’t use them for fucking.