Have you ever heard people say , “Since sex became easier to get, love has become harder to find”? In these modern times, finding dates can be fast and easy with the use of dating apps. A few taps here and a few swipes there, you’ll find a match. Whether you’re looking for love or a casual hook-up. It’s inevitable that you’ll meet guys who don’t want the same things as you do. Yes, it may lead to disappointment. They may even end up breaking your heart. But you can’t always protect yourself from that. What you can protect yourself from is contracting HIV and other STIs.

One action you can take to prevent any additional hurt is to do timely testing and treatment.Having the initiative to know your status every three months after a possible exposure can be part of your self-care regimen. And there are even more when you live in the Triangle of Self-Care. There’s practicing safe and satisfying sex, exploring what satisfies you while still maintaining your safety. And completing the triangle is correct and consistent use of condoms and lube.

However, not everyone manages to uphold the Triangle of Self-Care. In 2015, the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) investigated condom use among males who have sex with males (MSMs). Results show that some men do not use condoms due to the perception that it can decrease pleasure, that without them, the sensations are heightened and better. Some even implied that the use of condom can be painful and putting it on takes them away from the heat of the moment. Some participants even admit that the desire for pleasure overtakes the need for protection.

New Condom Options!

This shows how there is a misconception that the use of condoms automatically decrease sexual pleasure. Sex can still be satisfying with a condom on. It’s just a matter of finding the right one that works for you and your partner. It’s 2018 and technology is continuously improving the products we use, and that includes condoms. Okamoto, a Japanese company and global brand, have dedicated themselves to innovating condoms, prioritizing thinness and softness as much as they do safety.

“To help you let go and truly enjoy sex without compromising quality and safety,” that is Okamoto’s goal. They developed a material they call Sheerlon, which they claim is thinner and stronger than any condom out in the market. Keeping with its namesake, the latex is 0.03 millimeters thin from top to bottom. It feels as if you’re not wearing anything at all! They are also colorless. Combined with its thinness, the condoms are almost transparent. Another thing that makes these bad boys stand out is that they are odorless. Okamoto have managed to remove that rubber smell usually found in latex condoms.

Their latex condoms come in three variants: 003 Platinum, 003 Real Fit, and 003 Aloe.

003 Platinum

The 003 Platinum comes with an “easy rolling” technology for easy usage. Putting it on a condom has never been smoother. It surely won’t mess with your flow.

003 Real Fit

The 003 Real Fit aims to bring maximum sensation as it is designed to adhere to the penis’s natural shape. It has no receptacle tip so no need to remind to pinch the tip. Just roll it onto the penis and you’d notice how it fits just right, especially on the head.

003 Aloe

What makes 003 Aloe stand out is it comes pre-coated with a water-based lubricant enriched with Aloe Vera. The plant extract, famous for its use in skincare, brings in a different kind of moisture, avoiding dryness and irritation of you and your partner’s skin.

Condom Use

Of course, these innovative condoms alone will not do the job for you. There are certain habits you need to follow to enhance your sexual experience without compromising your safety.

  1. Avoid using your teeth to tear open the condom wrappers. There’s a chance that you’ll bite the condom within the wrapper as well, ripping it as you tear the wrapper open. If you must use your teeth (slippery lubed hands and all), make sure you squeeze the side of the packaging to push the condom aside.
  2. Always use appropriate lubricants before and after putting on a condom. Coating the penis with lube enhances the sensation for the person wearing the condom. Also keep in mind that latex condoms work best with water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Oil-based products will increase the chances of your condom breaking.
  3. Pinch the tip. This makes sure that there’s no air bubble at the receptacle end of the condom. The presence of air inside the condom during sex may build up pressure and cause the condom to break.
  4. Make sure to change condoms when changing positions, or partners. The mouth, vagina, and the anus are orifices involved during sex. It is important to change condoms when penetrating one after the other. You don’t want to introduce the microbes from the anus to the vagina or to the mouth.  
  5. Avoid using two condoms at the same time (double bagging). While a lot of people believe this is one way to ensure safety, it’s actually the opposite. The friction between the two synthetic materials may cause breakage, exposing you and your partner to risk.
  6. Do not reuse condoms. A worn condom, no matter how vanilla your sex was or how much lube you have used, has already been subjected to friction. Using at again has a higher chance of it tearing.
  7. Be consistent. Condoms should be worn all throughout whenever there’s penetration involved. That also includes oral sex. The presence of even the smallest cuts or sores (singaw) in the mouth can be a portal of infection.

Love may be worth the risk but making love surely doesn’t have to be. Just as we protect our hearts, we can also take measure in protecting our sexual health. There are a lot of options for condoms today, not just by brand, but also by design, flavor, size, and thickness. There are also varieties of lubricants out there. Start your personal journey of mastering the balance between safe and satisfying and correct and consistent use of condoms. Remember, when it comes to sex, safety is sexy.

Okamoto is available at Lazada, 7-Eleven, Watsons, Family Mart, Robinsons Supermarket, PCX and Nice & Nawty

Text by Jeffrey Venzuela
Photos by Gab Calderone