By: Arielle Aquino
By now, we’re all pretty aware of pesticides in food, and which toxic chemicals to avoid in skincare and makeup. You’re probably conscious of what you eat and what you use on your body; but you may not have considered the chemicals you are absorbing through your sexual wellness products. After all, vaginas are one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies!
While researching the best condoms on the market, we knew the ones we carried had to be free of fragrance, flavors and spermicide - those were the only three we thought we needed to avoid. Little did we know that the majority of condoms on the market contain a host of other chemicals and parabens we prefer to avoid.
We’re not here to scare you - it seems at times that everywhere you turn, there’s another article about the dangers lurking in some product we’ve been using our whole lives. However, as modern consumers, we have the luxury of choice and to make informed decisions about every product in our homes. Our guide below is intended to give you more information about the condoms you use and highlight some new things to consider.
We offer Sustain Natural as our condom solution because they are the most certified, highest-quality, most transparent condom company we’ve come across. Plus it’s founded by a father-daughter duo which we think is pretty inspiring!
The Sensualist gold standard condoms are those that are:
Paraben-free: Many condoms and lubricant contain parabens. Sustain condoms are free from them.
Nitrosamine-free: Nitrosamines are chemicals found in processed meat, balloons, and yes condoms. They are known to be carcinogenic in large doses, and while condoms likely only contain very small amounts, we would rather not unnecessarily expose ourselves to them. After all, repeated exposure to nitrosamines could add up to a toxic amount in the body. Sustain condoms are among the only condoms on the market that are completely nitrosamine-free.
Fair trade rubber: The rubber latex in your condoms come from rubber trees, and unfortunately, many of these plantations have terrible working conditions for employees with very limited pay and some still employ child labor.
Fair Trade principles include fair wages, improving living standards and working conditions, providing health care and education for all workers and their families. Sustain’s rubber factory is certified fair trade, meaning they uphold these standards for their workers.
FDA Cleared: Condoms in the United States are considered a class II medical device and are therefore required to be cleared by the FDA. All condoms you purchase in the United States should therefore be FDA approved.
Transparent about ingredients: Because condoms are FDA-regulated, companies are not required to list their ingredients. We believe is full ingredient transparency so that customers can make the right decision for them. Information on all of the ingredients found in Sustain condoms can be found here.
Vegan: Caesin, a milk protein, is found in most latex condoms making them unsuitable for vegans, or those with dairy allergies. Sustain condoms don’t contain it and are completely vegan.
Check expiration date: Condoms do expire. So make sure to check the expiration date on all those old ones you have laying around, and toss the ones that have expired.
Select the right size: This might take some trial and error but choosing the right size condom is absolutely necessary to ensure it works correctly. The Sensualist offers three sizes - we’re measuring girth here, not length:
Tailored fit: These are smaller at the base to ensure it stays in place.
Ultra-thin: These are standard and the same fit you’ll find across most brands
Comfort fit: These have a tapered base for a secure fit and are wider towards the tip allowing for greater freedom of movement.
Do not use oil-based lubricant: This includes coconut oil! Oils are not compatible with condoms and will hinder their efficacy.
Remember, for safer sex any condom is better than none. Enjoy!
Photo by Isabella Bejarano