Rubber Up!

Chapter 3

Choosing The Right Brands

Plastic condoms

Standard 'male' condoms made from polyurethane are also starting to come onto the market. The material is considered to be stronger than latex so the condoms can be made thinner, and because they're not made from rubber, they're not damaged by oil-based lubricants.

In the USA, the London International Group markets the Avanti brand of condoms, made from a plastic they call Duron. These come in two different boxes labelled standard and extra thin, but in fact they're both the same thickness a classic illustration of how misleading condom packaging can be! Because the trials of their effectiveness are still underway, the company isn't allowed to make any claims for these condoms' ability to prevent HIV and other STDs. At present, they're only officially recommended for people who can't use standard condoms because they're allergic to latex.

There has been controversy in America over reports that the plastic condom had an unacceptably high breakage rate in early trials. However, the manufacturer claims that some small pilot studies were misinterpreted, and that in more reliable research using straight couples the plastic condoms have a significantly lower breakage rate than standard strength condoms.

Avanti condoms do feel nice and thin, although the material seems a little crinkly at first. They have a looser fit and don't cling to your cock as rubber condoms do, but it's purely a matter of personal taste as to whether you like this or not.

In Europe, these condoms are currently only available on import from some mail order companies.