Safer Sex

Condoms and other safer sex barriers, such as damsgloves and finger cots, reduce the risk of sharing bodily fluids, which helps to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using condoms also reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancies.

Condoms

Most brands of condom are made from latex, with varying degrees of quality available. Higher quality latex is stronger, doesn’t have a super strong latex smell and is less likely to irritate the skin.

Latex-free condoms (made from polyurethane, polyisoprene or other plastics) are quite thin and transmit body heat well, but may not be as stretchy as latex – so be sure to use extra lube. The big disadvantage of these plastic derivatives is the environmental impact: their production releases some toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and they are 100% non-biodegradable.

However, it’s possible that lube, along with additives often used during manufacturing, affects the biodegradability of latex condoms too. But lube significantly lowers the risk of condoms breaking, as well as reducing uncomfortable friction. So lube it up!

To the best of our knowledge, all the condom brands that we sell at Other Nature are vegan-friendly, unlike most latex condoms which are manufactured using a milk protein called Casein. Unfortunately, neither this, nor any lubricants or additives used, is indicated on condom packaging.

While most condoms cover a penis, there are also condoms made to be worn inside a vagina. This internal condom (sometimes referred to as a “female condom”) is made from nitrile, and is compatible will all kinds of lube, including oil. Both kinds of condom reduce the chances of STI transmission and are effective contraceptives.


Dental Dams

These are thin rectangular pieces of latex or polyurethane used as barriers during cunnilingus and anal rimming. Used properly, they minimize the risk of contracting/transmitting STIs through the exchange of bodily fluids or contact with infected areas. Used for rimming, they also safeguard against the ingestion of bacteria from the anal area.

To use one, simply apply lube on one side of the dam, and place the lubed-side down over the genital or anal area. Hold the dam steady with your hands so it doesn't slip off, and lick! Like condoms, dams are for single use only. Don't have a dam to hand? Cut the tip off a condom and then make another cut right up the middle so that you have a flat rectangle. Voila! You have a DIY solution.


Gloves

These barriers, normally made of latex or nitrile, can be used for all types of handjobs. They’re great for smoothing out jagged nails, scratchy callouses, long fingernails or other rough spots or cuts (dry skin anyone?) on hands and fingers. They can protect both the hands from infected genitals and the genitals from bacteria-laden hands.

Some safer sex tips:

  • Never use oil-based products on or near latex or polyisoprene condoms/barriers

  • Cover porous sex toys with condoms to keep them cleaner

  • Use condoms with your toys if you’re sharing them

  • Use different barriers when changing partners or body parts (e.g. from anal to vaginal)

  • Never reuse a condom, glove or dam

  • Never “double-up”: the friction caused by two condoms rubbing together can cause tearing

  • Extreme temperatures (hot and cold) break down latex. So store condoms in a cool, dry place

  • Not all STIs are transmitted through bodily fluids. When planning for safer sex, bear in mind that some infections, such as lice and genital warts, are passed on through skin-to-skin contact


As a vegan sex shop, Other Nature specializes in animal-friendly safer sex products, including casein-free latex and latex-free materials. We stock a range of vegan latex condoms and dental dams, latex-free condoms, and nitrile gloves.

If you have questions about STIs, we'll do our best to help or to point you in the direction of useful resources. To start, we highly recommend getting your hands on a copy this Safer Sex booklet.