By Maddie Alburtus, Sexual Health PHE
At first glance, flavored condoms just seem like fun little additions to a safer sex collection, but they were actually meant for oral sex. It’s spooky, but many sexually transmitted infections (STI) can still be spread through oral sex. Things like condoms and dental dams can help reduce that risk, leading to safer sex!
For those of us who don’t enjoy the taste of latex (and other common condom materials), flavored condoms and dental dams offer an alternative. With flavors like bubblegum, mint chocolate, grape, cola, bacon, and more, most brands are trying their hand in the flavor game. As with non-flavored barrier protection, make sure the condoms are the right size. Also, confirm that there are no tears in the product and that any lube in play won’t break down the materials used in the condom or dental dam. Oil-based lubes are a type that can break down latex. Finally, ensure it is not expired and that it is stored in a cool, dry place away from heat, cold, sunlight, and friction.
There are some limitations to the powers of these tasty STI barriers! First and foremost, flavored condoms are intended for oral sex – vaginal and anal sex should be avoided with these products. The flavoring on these little goodies may have added sugars that can throw off a vagina’s PH balance and can cause irritation in both anuses and vaginas.
If you don’t want to buy products pre-flavored, flavored lube that is latex-safe (water-based and silicone-based, for example) can be added to a regular condom or dental dam to create a similar effect. As with flavored condoms, these DIY safer sex treats shouldn’t be used internally. There are also latex-free flavored condoms and dental dams for avoiding allergens while still enjoying the flavor.
The general takeaway? Flavored barriers are useful and fun products to add to your (safer) sex life, as long as they are used correctly and as intended. As you rewatch timeless Halloween
movies, carve pumpkins, and watch leaves fall this October, considered grabbing a pack for a Halloween ~treat~.