If you've been down the "Family Planning" aisle of any drugstore, you've probably passed dozens on condom advertised as "For Her Pleasure." But which condoms are the most pleasurable for women? And how much can you really trust a box with a silhouette of a naked lady on it? Knowing the right condom to buy is no small task, and when you're looking for condoms that will keep you safe and feeling good — there's a lot of factors to consider.
According to McKenna Maness, sex educator and former education and prevention coordinator at The Santa Cruz AIDS Project (SCAP), like most things when it comes to sex, the most pleasurable condoms for women may come down to personal preference.
"It's entirely personal preference — many will say, 'Ribbed for her pleasure' or 'Studded' or even 'Speed her up, slow him down' but I do think it's mostly branding," Maness says. "That said, I think it really really depends on your personal preference and if you discover that you love studded condoms, go ahead and keep a supply."
And when it comes to finding what feels best for the receiving parter, Maness suggests doing some of your own research. "Try different brands or sizes to get a good fit," Maness says. "Condoms that fit better also tend to make sex feel better for the receiving parter too!"
While condoms are often associated with the penetrating partner, Maness says that there are, in fact, different types of condoms for the penetrating partner and the receiving partner. "External condoms are the typical kind most people think of, they're worn on a penis or dildo as a physical barrier when inserted into a vagina or anus," Maness says. "Insertable/'female condoms' are rarer. Most people don't know about them. They're a larger nitrile sack with two rings, one that you put inside yourself to stabilize the condom and a ring for the outside. They can be used vaginally or anally, which is why I prefer to call them 'insertable.'"
Whether you're getting it on with someone new or feeling frisky with an old flame, ensuring that you and your partner(s) are protected during sex can lay the groundwork for some serious pleasure. "Honestly, most sex won't be good unless you feel safe," Maness says. "If you know you're protected you're probably more likely to be able to relax and enjoy yourself."
Of course, finding the most pleasurable condom for women may be less about the type of condom and more about the fit. "I cannot stress finding the right size enough," Maness says. "A condom should be snug but not cutting off circulation. A baggy condom can cause extra friction and tear, or slip off during sex inside of the receiving partner, and a too-tight condom is more likely to break." In addition to ensuring your safety, a better fitting condom may make sex better too. In a 2015 study of 436 men by the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, close to fifty percent of men reported ill-fitting condoms made it harder for their female partners to finish. Maness suggests buying single condoms or getting "grab bags" from health centers to experimenting with different sizes and types before committing to an entire box.
If you're an econ wiz, or like to know what's popular in the market, according to a 2019 condom survey by Verywell Heath, the best condom "for her" was Okamoto Usa 004 Aloe Almost Nothing Condom, available (like seemingly everything else on the planet) on Amazon. But when it comes to guaranteeing the best sex for the receiving partner, Maness attests you may need to find out for yourself, "Make sure your condom fits before sex, but try different ones so you can find out what works for you," Maness says. "Condoms come in different sizes, materials, textures, flavors, colors. Try different kinds until you find one you like!"
Like all things sex related — the most pleasurable things are the things that works best for you and your partners(s). If you're looking for the more pleasurable condom for women, make sure you have the right size, then try exploring different materials and textures. If you and your partner(s) are up for finding the most pleasurable condoms for you — trying out different types can be half the fun.