Not Barebacking: Using Condoms and Lube for Clean, Healthy Anal Sex

Kate Gorrell's picture
By Kate Gorrell Conditions: Women's Sexual Wellness Age: 18 - 35

She wants to have anal sex with her boyfriend and use a condom. What kind of lube should she use if they’re planning on using latex condoms? She knows some kinds of lube can damage condoms, but isn’t sure where to go from here. What should she use?

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Hi, I'm 20-years-old and my boyfriend and I want to have anal sex for the first time. We have both been checked for STIs and we both came back clean. I have been reading a lot of articles and case studies on the correct ways of having anal sex but I am confused on where the next step is. We are planning on using a latex condom but I don't know what the best kind of lube to use along with that will be. I know the area has to be plenty moist but I don't know which one is okay. What will be the best type of lube to use that will work with our latex condoms?


It’s so refreshing to hear that a young person wants to have protected sex! Congratulations on being one of the informed—HIV can have a six-month window period before testing is considered one hundred percent certain. It’s not any harder to have protected anal sex than it is to have normal protected sex, you just need more lube.
Slick and Slide
You’re right that the type of lube matters a lot when it comes to condom usage, and when it comes to anal sex, I would suggest using a silicone-based lube. These have more staying power than water-based lubes, especially when used on a mucous membrane like your rectum, and are considered to have a silkier feeling as well. (SEE: Choosing A Silicone Lubricant) You don’t have to worry about yeast infections or vaginal irritations from silicone remnants, because you’re not having vaginal sex!
What Out for Oil
The only type of lube you cannot use with condoms is oil-based lube. This is because oil denatures the latex of the condom, creating easier thinning and breaking. Oil lubes are clearly marked, and I think quite difficult to find because of their condom destroying nature. Oil-based lubricants include petroleum jelly or baby oil; so don’t grab just anything you can find around the house when you’re getting down.
Things to Remember
Some tips for silicone lube usage: silicone will keep going and going, even after you’re done, and you’ll have to have a wash to get the leftovers off. Don’t worry about anything going on inside; let nature take its course. You can’t use it with any silicone sex toys, such as anal beads. This is because the chemical makeup of the lubrication interacts with the silicone toys in such a way that it destroys the material itself, creating an ooey, gooey layer on the top of your toy. Gross. This layer also acts as a breeding ground for bacteria. So consider a glass toy if silicone becomes a regular in your boudoir.
Three, Two, One…Go!
So, you have your condoms, you have your lube; now what? Put on the condom, and apply lubrication to the outside of the penis from tip to base. Ask your partner to carefully lubricate your anus. And away you go! If anything feels like it’s sticking, it’s time for more lube. I’d suggest a thicker lube (more like a gel) rather than a thin one for this type of endeavor, but it’s your own call.
Good luck, and have fun!

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