Condoms - Lubricated

Assortment of Condoms
Thom Lang / Getty Images

The Pros and Cons of Lubricated Condoms

Lubricated condoms often seem like the smart buy. After all, they contain both lubricant and protection. What's not to like?

For some people, lubricated condoms are a good bet. However, they aren't actually always the best choice. For example, they're often less than ideal if you're planning on a night of oral sex. Lubricated condoms also don't save you from needing to buy lubricant.

They don't have enough to make sex pleasurably slick for most people. Unfortunately, they do have enough lubricant to make some people a bit lazier about remembering to use their own...


Average. Lubricated condoms don't cost more than other condoms.Some condoms with specialty lubricants may be slightly more expensive. 

Ease of Acquisition:

Lubricated condoms are available at most drug stores and online.

Use During Vaginal Intercourse:

Lubricated condoms are ideal for vaginal sex. However, couples may require an additional condom-safe lubricant. There is nothing shameful about needing additional lubricant for sex. Not everyone produces an equal amount of lubrication. Furthermore, when using condoms you need to use MORE lubricant, not less.Condoms cause more friction when rubbed against skin than skin does! You can discover this yourself by rubbing one on your hand. 

One thing to keep an eye out for is what type of lubricant is used on your lubricated condoms.

Non-monogamous couples, or couples who have a lot of sex, should be careful about using condoms with spermicidal lubricant. Evidence suggests that there may be an increased risk of HIV and other STDs associated with nonoxynol-9. However, the risk of N-9 causing a problem is likely relatively low unless people are having a lot of sex.

Use During Oral Sex:

Lubricated condoms are fine for oral sex. It's just that they may not be ideal. Why? Because many lubricants taste terrible. In addition, the nonoxynol-9 in spermicidally lubricated condoms can make your tongue go numb*. Unlubricated condoms or flavored condoms may be a better option for oral sex.

Use During Anal Sex::

Lubricated condoms are fine for anal sex, as long as they don't contain nonoxynol-9. However, you will also need additional water or a silicone-based lubricant.

The Verdict:

Lubricated condoms are the latex condoms you will find most often in drugstores. Some are lubricated with spermicides, which may be problematic for some people. Other lubricated condonms are lubricated with a non-spermicidal personal lubricant. Many people find that lubricated condoms are easier to work with, and put on, than unlubricated condoms.

There's nothing inherently wrong with using a lubricated condom. However, most lubricated condoms don't actually contain enough lubricant for sex. Therefore, lubricated condoms may not be saving you as much time and money as you think. Ideally, even when using a lubricated condom for intercourse, you'll want to also use additional lubricant.

Keeping an additional water or silicone-based lubricant handy can improve your sexual experience. Proper lubrication can make safe sex both safer and sexier.


*The story of why I know that N-9 can make your tongue go numb is pretty funny. I used to be a peer sex educator in college. One of my tricks was putting a condom on a banana with my mouth. This was always a good talking point about how much fun it could be to have safer oral sex. Unfortunately, midway through the year we got a new shipment of condoms. They were lubricated with N-9 instead of non-spermicidal lubricant. The first time I set up for this trick with the new condoms, I put the condom on the banana... and then I couldn't talk  coherently for several minutes. Holding the lubricated condom in my mouth for as long as I had made my tongue go numb! Even at the time, the experience was amusing. Numb body parts may have make our talk amusing. They just aren't generally the recipe for a sexy night.

Continue Reading