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Choosing the right condom is key.
Because so many have new designs, textures and materials, says Dr Debby Herbenick, a sexual-health educator at the Kinsey Institute. We got a panel of couples to have some fun and test out a variety of condoms on the market. Use their results to find the right one for you – and her.
Best all-around – Preventor Super Duper
The anatomic shape and textures for him and her made this a hands-down winner. He said, “This is the best all-rounder and, biggest surprise, it had it all: ribbed, studded and enough lube. Go buy a box now.” She said, “Despite the (amazing!) ribs and studs, it is thin and felt surprisingly natural.”
Rated high for pleasure for both of you
Rated low for the name – it’s actually got a lot to offer
Runner-up – Love Condom
She said, “The box has a cute illustration on it, which immediately appeals to women, as opposed to the quite corny images of couples, or slutty ones of girls.”
Best for endurance – Durex Extrasafe
Slightly thicker, with extra lubrication – and extra reassurance. He said, “This one did the job in keeping us both busy for quite a while – thoroughly enjoyable.”
Rated high for staying power
Rated low for sensation
Runner-up – the “long lasting” and “endurance”
Our testers valiantly attempted the “long lasting” and “endurance” condoms on the market, and weren’t wild about them. One guy said, “It just feels like a thin condom.” While another said, “It was unexpectedly thin, but decreased sensitivity more than the other brands, without being really comfortable.” Our recommendation is to choose a thicker condom if you want less sensitivity, but then you’ll have to work harder to pleasure her.
Best for your pleasure – Durex Pleasuremax Tingle
A special lube coats the condom – inside and out – and creates a gentle tingling sensation. He said, “At first I thought the special ribbing and ‘tingle’ lube would be nothing more than gimmicks, but they made this product way better than the rest.”
Rated high for increased sensation and enjoyment
Rated low for tingle – some felt it was too cold and made them too sensitive
Runner-up – Durex Fetherlite
Durex’s “Easy-on Shape” means it should be easier to put on, and fit and feel better during sex. He said, “They’re a pricier brand, so I was thinking it’s got to be good, right? And it was. No complaints.”
Best for her pleasure – Contempo Wet & Wild
Ultra thin and extra lubricated – the aim is a more natural feel. She said, “I’m not a fan of condoms – the sensation and smell – but I found this one extra pleasurable because it’s lubricated and it’s not too thick.”
Rated high for increased lubrication
Rated low for the kitsch Eighties’ packaging
Runner-up – Lover’s Plus Ribbed and Studded
It’s a pretty standard high-quality latex condom, but with textures. He said, “Surprisingly thin and comfortable, this is a good choice for increased sensation and day-to-day use.” Day-to-day not month-to-month? Lucky guy.
Most natural feel – Contempo Bareback
“The Contempo condoms felt slightly larger than the others, so I found them more comfortable,” said one guy. (Preventor has an X’tra Large condom that is a millimetre longer and three mills wider for guys looking for extra size.)
Rated high for sensitivity
Rate low for branding and packaging
Runners-up – LifeStyle Ultra Thin & Preventor Pret-a-Porter
The Preventor’s “ready-to-wear” ultra-thin condom has an anatomic shape for better sensations, while the Lifestyle Ultra Thin was described by a tester as “perfect if you’re looking for extra sensitivity in an every-day condom.”
Most surprising – Preventor Hot Hot
He said, “Normally, if my crotch is burning, it’s not a good sign! But, the hot sensation was great for both of us from beginning to end. I kept wanting to shout, ‘Fire in the hold!’” She said, “It burns – in a good way! Tssss!” The brand also advocates that the hot sensation keeps a better erection.
Rated high for sensation
Rated low for natural feel
Runner-up – Preventor Tutti-Frutti
Preventor has developed hypo-allergenic condoms with fewer chemicals and natural latex. She said, “The banana was the best flavour, and even though it tasted okay at first, it does leave a rubbery aftertaste.”
88% of women said they think it’s good that he’s thinking about pleasure and practicality. But if it glows in the dark or has a cock ring attachment, you may be jumping the gun.