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Sex and Latex Allergies

Keeping Safe and Having Fun When You're Allergic to Latex

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Updated February 28, 2012

Having fun (and safer) sex when you have latex allergies can be tough at times. Many of the things we add to sex to spice it up (like sex toys ) and to make sex safer (like condoms, gloves, dams) tend to be made of latex.

The good news is that there are latex free options for most sex toys and safer sex gear. Sometimes the alternatives are a bit more expensive, but in most cases you get your moneys worth.

There are four types of products that are commonly used during sex that traditionally have been made from or contained latex. They are:

  • Condoms
  • Dental Dams
  • Gloves
  • Sex Toys

Non Latex Condoms

The biggest obstacle to safer sex for people with latex allergies is accessing non latex condoms. There are both male condoms and female condoms . The Durex Avanti and Trojan Supra are made of polyurethane. If choosing the Supra be sure to only use those without a spermicidal lubricant. The newest non latex male condom on the block is the Lifestyles SKYN, which is made of polyisoprene and is considerably less expensive than Avanti or Supra. The Reality Female Condom is another one made of polyurethane.

Non Latex Dental Dams

Dental dams are thin sheets (usually made of latex) that were originally designed for use by dentists during more involved procedures. Over the years they have been recommended as a barrier to prevent fluid transmission during oral genital contact (oral/vaginal or oral/anal). Currently there is one brand, called “Hot Dams” that are made of polyurethane, the same material used for the Female Condom and Avanti non latex condom. These dams are available in flavored and unflavored, and are manufactured by the Female Health Company.

Non Latex Gloves

Gloves are a great barrier for any kind of penetration play involving fingers and hands. They can also be a fun part of role play! The most commonly available gloves, the kind you find at drug stores tend to be latex. Because of concerns about increased exposure to latex, hospitals and health care settings are using latex gloves less frequently. There are several options for non latex gloves. The most easily available options are vinyl and nitrile. Nitrile gloves may be a preferred choice both because they tend to be more resistant to punctures, and also because they offer more sensitivity and freedom of movement. But both are latex free options. Be sure that the gloves you are using are “medical grade” and not “utility grade”. Only the medical grade gloves are tested for FDA specifications.

Non Latex Sex Toys

Many popular and fun sex toys can contain latex. Soft rubber dildos, vibrators, brightly colored floggers, harnesses, restraints, almost anything that is soft and stretchy (and not made of animal skin) may contain some latex. Even products that don’t specify they are made of latex may contain some latex.

In the factories where mass manufactured sex toys are made, they routinely use the same molds for different styles of product. A mold may have latex in it one week, and a different material the next week. But because they don’t sterilize their molds there could be latex in a product that is called something else (e.g. jelly rubber). Also, if a toy is made in a factory where they are also using latex, it is possible for latex in the air to find its way into your sex toy that isn’t supposed to have latex in it.

If you know you have a latex allergy, the safest choice is to either purchase a hard plastic sex toy or silicone sex toy.

Sources:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – Latex Alert

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology – Latex Information

Occupational Safety & Health Administration U.S. Dept. of Labor – Guidelines for Chemical Protective Clothing Selection

The Med Supply Guide

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