Finding the Right Fit: A Condom Review

    As a result, I had to throw out commentary on anything battery operated that might (or might not, if you have bad luck) be arriving in discreet packaging. To that end, I settled on something you can purchase in person and on a college student’s budget: condoms.

    There are approximately two bazillion different types of condoms, and they all offer something different. Well, to a degree, considering at the end of the day they’re all around to prevent the making of babies and the spreading of germs — but the forms they take are many. For those out there who are tired of the same ol’ Lifestyles (helpfully sold on campus), there are wide horizons ahead for those willing to head somewhere off campus to find a wider variety of condoms. Sex shops usually have buckets of mix-and-max deals on condoms available, and I took a few of each in order to conduct my research. And now, for the breakdown.

    The first is the baseline: ordinary, run-of-the-mill lubricated condoms. They’re the easiest to find and generally the cheapest. They come in the super-thin variety too (but being totally honest, a condom’s a condom and thin or not, you’re going to know it’s there). I can’t personally recommend going for the unlubricated variety, even though the pittance of a price might be tempting. It always helps to have something extra to smooth the way.

    In my daring field research, my partner and I decided to try the “dotted” texture condoms first of the lot. As excited as we were, these immediately put a damper on the mood. While interesting in theory (because these little dots were designed for “her pleasure” after all) I found them terrible in practice. In fact, we had to stop part way through and change to something more standard in order to allow me time to recover. Even at slow speeds, all those dots work like sandpaper on your insides, and I can’t be the only person that doesn’t enjoy being gutted by my prophylactics. I’m sure there are people that disagree and power to them, but for a Valentine’s night, I wouldn’t recommend taking the risk.

    Next is one of the high points though: ribbed condoms. I have to admit I was a little hesitant; feeling it (with my hands, mind you) as I put it on my partner in this research project, it seemed like it had the potential to be as unpleasant as the dotted texture. But this was something I was excited to be wrong about. Of all the textured condoms we tried, the ribbed variety was far and away the best. Be sure the ribbing is wide, in order to avoid that awful scratching feeling that the narrower bands and the “dots” from above can cause. This type definitely hit highest on the pleasure scale for me, and I found I was able to reach orgasm the most quickly with it. If you try nothing else, try these.

    We also picked up a few flavored condoms. I went for strawberry, mostly because I was concerned that grape or cherry might end up tasting like cough medicine. These are flavored to improve the experience of performing protected oral sex (as I have yet to meet someone that can taste with their genitals). While I’m in a monogamous relationship, and we’re both free of STIs, I decided gamely to give them a shot anyway. (For science!) Bottom line: It still tasted like latex with strawberry smeared on top. But it’s definitely better than having a regular condom in your mouth, and having a few of these on hand for unexpected fellatio can’t hurt.

    This next one was something we were both excited to try: Trojan Fire & Ice brand condoms. They had those commercials that made it seem like wearing this condom was akin to riding a roller coaster, so they had to be good. Unfortunately, like the dotted ones, these were also a dud, and I felt betrayed by advertising once again. They definitely got hot, but it wasn’t a thrilling sensation at all — just burning in places that I firmly believe should not be burned. My partner was less perturbed by it than I was, but he said it didn’t add much for him either way. We were willing to give them another try — because I wanted a roller coaster experience damn it — but the results remained the same. Internet reviews seem torn between my side of the fence and the lucky folks that made it on the thrill ride, so use at your own risk.

    The grand finale, the ones that I had spent most of my time looking forward to: glow in the dark! They did not disappoint. They came in clear packages so they could be left under a light for a few minutes in advance (built-in foreplay time). Then lights out and boom — light saber. Functionally the same as a regular lubricated condom, they added an element of silliness that I’m fond of. And he appreciated that they afford a very unique visual even when the room is completely dark. Highly recommended.

    Most all of these condoms should be available wherever a variety are sold, though some — like the glow in the dark — might be easier to find at an actual sex shop. Mix and match to try something new this Valentine’s, for cheap.

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