Until February 23, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had never before approved a condom as safe for anal sex. Now, that’s finally changed, as the FDA has given ONE Condoms the green light to market its products as indicated to reduce transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during anal intercourse.
Although the FDA states clearly on its website that “unprotected anal intercourse carries the greatest sexual exposure risk of HIV transmission,” no condoms for anal sex had been approved until now. Therefore, people practicing anal sex were left more or less in the dark, and condoms could only be labeled as “safe and effective” for vaginal use.
Due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that started in the early 1980s, many gay men and trans women became fearful of unprotected anal sex and lived under the shadow of stigma. Because condoms are considered a Class II medical device by the FDA, ONE Condoms had to go through a years-long testing process, which the company says took 10 years in total.
Strangely, the FDA seems to have misgendered ONE Condoms in the process of announcing the news. In a press release, the FDA refers to the brand as One Male Condoms. However, a recent post on the ONE Condoms website reads, “We should make one very important clarification: FDA listed us in their press release as ‘One Male Condom.’ An unintentional faux pas, certainly – our brand is, always has been and will continue to be ONE Condoms, because we truly believe that the sexual health needs of our community extend across all genders, expressions and identities.”
Although it’s frustrating that this process has taken so long, this is definitely news to celebrate. We finally have a condom for anal sex!
Despite reports to the contrary, ONE Condoms didn’t design a condom specifically for anal sex. Rather, a clinical trial was conducted that demonstrated that the company’s products were effective at reducing the risk of transmission of STIs by stopping semen from entering the anus during anal sex. ONE Condoms were approved as part of the FDA’s new De Novo review process, which is a regulatory pathway for low- to moderate-risk medical devices.
In a clinical trial conducted in 2019 by Emory University, researchers found that ONE Condoms failed less than 1% of the time. That’s it.
“This clinical trial provided the data we needed to submit a De Novo Request to the FDA to expand the intended use claim of ONE and myONE Condoms to include anal sex,” reads a post on the ONE Condom website. “This was a 10-year project in the making, and we’re super excited what this means for public health outreach.”
Interestingly, an unrelated Emory University study found that “69% of [gay men] reported they would be more likely to use condoms more frequently if the condoms were FDA label-indicated for anal sex.”
ONE Condoms actually makes a variety of condoms for anal and vaginal sex, and the company is known for its colorful and unique wrappers.
The Best Condoms for Anal Sex
While this marks a milestone in LGBTQ+ sex history, people who practice anal sex aren’t necessarily new to condoms. Sure, PrEP has dramatically reduced the risk of transmitting HIV and AIDS through anal intercourse, but PrEP is still relatively new compared to condoms.
We’re trying to say that we’ve been using condoms for anal sex well before February 23, 2022. In fact, we’ve been using protection for as long as we’ve been sexually active.
To learn more about the best condoms for anal sex, we turned to author, sex educator and sex worker Vanessa Carlisle, Ph.D. Dr. Carlisle told SPY that there are a few important factors to keep in mind when using condoms for anal sex. First, you don’t want anything ribbed or studded. Instead, look for plain, smooth, thin condoms to help prevent unwanted issues during sex. In addition, choose regular water or silicone lubricated condoms.
You should also use personal lubricant (specifically the best anal lube) for safe (and pleasurable!) anal sex.
With all that in mind, keep reading to find the best condoms to use for anal sex in 2022.
1. ONE Condom
Because ONE Condoms has quite literally revolutionized the way we practice anal sex, we’re keeping it real and saying that the ONE Condom is the best condom for anal sex. ONE Condom’s highest-rated product is their UltraFeel Condom. According to the brand, the design of the UltraFeel maximizes pleasure in a way that makes it feel like there’s no condom present whatsoever. ONE Condoms also promises that this condom is thinner than human hair. It’s built to be strong to minimize breakage and lubricated with silicone lubrication for easier access. This condom will be our new go-to for all anal activities.
2. Cake Condoms
Are you looking for the perfect size? Then look to Cake, the brand with a mission to make sex more fun. Cake is first and foremost known for its ultra-specific lubes, categorized for varying uses such as anal play, vaginal play, me-time and more. But Cake’s condoms are taking the cake this time around — dumb pun intended. These quality latex condoms come in a box of twelve in varying sizes and textures, including snug, thin, large, ribbed and dotted. Per our expert, for anal sex, you’re going to want to avoid ribbed and dotted condoms, but the other three will help you find the perfect size condom for your member. A size made for you!
According to Cake, condoms that fit better reduce the risk of contracting any STIs and getting pregnant in the case of vaginal sex. Reviewers love these condoms tremendously, saying the fit is unlike anything they’ve worn in the past.
3. FC2 Condoms
Yes, FC2 Condoms were designed for vaginal insertion as what’s considered to be a “female” condom. Still, any gender can use internal condoms, given that they work just as well inside of the anus as they do the vagina, Carlisle tells us.
“[FC2 Condoms] cover the skin around the anal opening, which offers sex partners more barrier protection. This may offer a bit more peace of mind about HSV I and II (Herpes Simplex Virus) and HPV (human papillomavirus),” says Carlisle. “They feel good! Internal condoms feel better for a lot of people who are using their penis to penetrate, and they can reduce the discomfort of friction for the person receiving.”
The original made-for-female branding has allowed folks to turn a blind eye to FC2, but these do make stellar butt buddies. Right now, these condoms are hard to find out in the wild, but if you get lucky, you’ll be able to pick up a box from places such as Walmart and eBay.
4. SKYN Condoms
We’ve previously named SKYN latex-free condoms as some of the best condoms in the world, and specifically some of the best condoms for her pleasure. SKYN Elite Condoms are 15% thinner than the company’s standard condoms, so it feels like you’re practically wearing nothing at all. SKYN forgoes the material for a comfortable polyisoprene material, making these an excellent choice for folks with latex allergies.
Condoms from SKYN are tested repeatedly to ensure protection against STIs and unwanted pregnancies. For those using these anally, a non-latex material could offer up a better penetrative experience, given the fact that one of you may have a slight sensitivity to latex without even knowing. The box below comes with 36 condoms for almost endless fun. Just remember, if you’re going in anally, be sure to use more lube.
Read More: The Best Latex Free Condoms
5. LifeStyles Condoms
If you’ve used condoms in the past, there’s a solid chance you’ve experienced LifeStyles at least once in your sexual endeavors. LifeStyles Condoms are among the condom brands with the highest name recognition. When it comes to anal sex, we suggest their Ultra Sensitive option. With resistance to breakage and a less-than-usual latex smell, these thin, lubricated condoms are an excellent choice for anal penetration.
According to the brand, these condoms are tested for their ability to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies, meeting the highest safety standards in the process. Reviewers rave about how these condoms rarely break and come with ample room to fit members of various sizes.