Silicone-coated condoms – Cool?

Dear Alice,

Recently I got silicone-coated condoms in my university health service. Just wondering whether silicone coat is good or bad for health? Please enlighten me.

Dear Reader, 

Choosing the right condom for you it can be quite the “condom-drum,” so it’s great to see you’re interested in learning more about how certain condom lubricants affect a person’s health. Several brands of condoms on the market now use silicone-based lubricant to help users slip and slide their way to pleasure. Silicone, a synthetic substance frequently used in industry, retains its slippery properties longer than water-based lube, which can explain why some manufacturers may prefer it. As for the health effects, this is a good option for those who may have sensitive skin, as it's considered hypoallergenic and doesn't react with the human body. 

Silicone-based lubes have a lot of benefits for the users. Unlike oil-based lubes, silicone-based lube is safe to use on latex and polyurethane condoms and dental dams. It also has little effect on the body and is unlike to cause a reaction. If it is ingested, it’s simply absorbed by the skin or digestive tract. Given that silicone lube isn’t water-soluble, this makes it the ideal candidate for any kind of shower, bath, or underwater fun.

Like every product, they also have some considerations to keep in mind when choosing if this is the appropriate product for you. It’s key to note that silicone-based lubes aren’t intended to be used with either silicone-rubber or “cyber skin” sex toys, as the lubricant can deteriorate the surfaces of the toys and create abrasions that allow for bacteria to grow in them. In this same vein, it’s also wise to note that some lubricants, such as flavored ones, can contain either glucose or glycerin which has been known to cause yeast infections. So, whenever you're buying lubricant or condoms coated with lubricant, it may be a good idea to try and take a careful look at the ingredients listed. Additionally, when it comes to clean up, silicone won’t break down in water, so it does take a little effort in washing away the lube after sex.

All in all, silicone lubricant is low risk to use, so go ahead and enjoy those silicone-lubed condoms! And in case you're wondering, it's perfectly fine to add water-based personal lubricant to silicone-lubed condoms if you find yourself in need of a little more slide and glide. 

Last updated Jul 02, 2021
Originally published Apr 05, 2002

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