FAQ – On safer sex stuff

What’s not vegan about normal condoms?

Most condoms are manufactured using casein, a dairy derivative used to soften latex and make it smooth and flexible.  The end product doesn’t contain casein, it’s only used during the manufacturing process.  Vegan condom manufacturers substitute casein with thistle extract, which does the same thing as casein but is plant-based (though a bit more expensive!)  It’s also possible that some non-vegan condoms are lubricated with lube containing animal glycerin, but this is hard to know exactly, since the ingredients aren’t labelled on the packaging.

Which condoms are compatible with oil?

As far as we know, the Unique non-latex condoms are compatible with oil.  Condoms made from polyurethane, such as Durex Avanti, are also said to be safe to use with oil-based lubricants.  However, both latex and polyisoprene condoms are NOT safe if exposed to oil.

What’s a dental dam, and what are they for?

In terms of safer sex, dental dams are rectangular pieces of thin latex used during cunnilingus or anal rimming to minimize the risk of contracting/transmitting STIs (sexually transmitted infections) through the exchange of bodily fluids or contact with infected areas.  To use one, apply some lube on one side of the dam.  Place the dam, lubed-side down, over the genital or anal area.  Hold the dam steady with your hands so it doesn’t slip off, and you’re good to go!  Like condoms, dams are for single use only.

Why would anyone use gloves for sex?

There are lots of reasons why people might use gloves to make their sex safer. Have a look at our page about safer sex for more info!

What’s the difference between water- and silicone-based lube?

  • Water-based lube is compatible with ALL toy and safer-sex materials, but silicone-based lube is NOT compatible with silicone toys.
  • Water-based lube gets absorbed relatively quickly into the skin, and washes away with water. This means you need to re-apply it fairly frequently.  Silicone lube, on the other hand, lasts a really long time and doesn’t wash away with water.  Silicone creates an oily film over the skin which remains slippery until washed off with soap — so a little goes a long way.  Go to our lube section for more info.


Is silicone lube compatible with latex?

Yes, indeed!  It’s safe to use silicone lube with latex.


Why do some lubes contain glycerine and some don’t?

Glycerin (which can be derived from either plants or animals) is a common ingredient in water-based lubricants because it attracts water molecules and makes lube taste sweet.  But glycerin is thought by some to aggravate existing yeast infections and to increase the risk of getting yeast infections in people who are already prone to them.  There is, however, no proven causal relationship between glycerin in lube and yeast overgrowth, and some people maintain that no link exists at all.  Regardless, there are lots of great glycerin-free alternatives for those who want to stay away from glycerin, if for no other reason than it can make lube sticky!