Before we review the top best condoms on the current market and feature the Lelo Hex, let’s explore a little history of the condom’s development.
Keep in mind, for much of human history, people did not know how babies were made. Where many African and Native American groups figured out procreation was related to menstrual cycles, much of the world had no clue. Yet, evidence suggesting condom use dates back to cave drawings made 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.
The first documented use of a condom as both female protection from disease and contraceptive device dates make to 3000 B.C. and King Minos of Crete. His semen was said to contain “serpents and scorpions.” So, in order to protect themselves from the wanton father of the Minotaur, women placed sheaths fashioned from a goat’s bladder in their vaginas.
And modern lovers say using a condom to ensure safe sex today is a bother.
Colonialism, Syphilis and Condoms
The result of ever expanding European colonial rape, pillaging and conquest, syphilis spread drmatically during the Middle Ages. As the historian Jared Diamond writes, “when syphilis was first definitely recorded in Europe in 1495, its pustules often covered the body from the head to the knees, caused flesh to fall off people’s faces, and led to death within a few months.”
Soon after the 1500 epidemic, an Italian doctor, Gabrielle Falloppio—discoverer of the Falloppian tubes—created the modern condom and syphilis rates declined.
Deadly venereal disease not only plagued Europe but became one of the gifts that colonialism bestowed upon the world. Needless to say, Christopher Columbus did not provide his men with free condoms before they assaulted Taino women in the Caribbean basin.
Fortunately, President Franklin Roosevelt did so for American GI’s during World War II.
The Japanese government also provided their enslaved “comfort women” with prophylactic protection during the Great War. Author Aine Collier writes about it in her book “The Humble Little Condom.”
“Years after the horrors they had endured were still a grim memory, many of the women recalled that the most degrading job at the comfort stations was that of cleaning the condoms at the end of the day.”
Cleaning them so they could be used again.
Crises and Condoms
Once it was clear that condoms provided relief from syphilis, condom use rose like an unencumbered penis.
A similar dynamic occurred during the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980’s. Safe sex became a priority. Condom usage increased significantly.
By the new millennium, the World Health Organization reported that “Condom use is a critical element in a comprehensive, effective and sustainable approach to HIV prevention and treatment.
Prevention is the mainstay of the response to AIDS. Condoms are an integral and essential part of comprehensive prevention and care programs, and their promotion must be accelerated. The AIDS epidemic is not levelling off.”
Condoms, Contraception and Safe Sex
The development of advanced contraceptive methods and devices have outpaced condoms as a primary form of birth control in the modern world. Since the 1990’s condom use has remained relatively the same for most demographic groups. Research reveals that between 50 and 60% of sexually active individuals still report using a condom during their most recent sexual encounter.
Where condom sales continue to rise at annual rate of about 8%, sales during the pandemic were financially flaccid. The virus had a prophylactic effect on prophylactic profits.
The head of the world’s largest condom manufacturer, located in Malaysia, blamed the downturn on fewer hotel stays and more crowded homes. It mirrored a slump also felt in the sex industry.
Additionally, government programs and the medical industry turned resources away from safe sex to meet the demands of the pandemic crisis.
Like everyone, the condom industry expects to see a post pandemic resurgence. In the meantime, they are manufacturing rubber gloves instead.
But, enough about History, let’s talk about the best condoms in today’s market.
Top Five Condoms
Shopping for the best condom is not a simple as it may sound. There’s lots to consider. For instance:
- Does size matter?
- Is it about the pleasure of the partner with the vagina, the orifice or the penis?
- Lubricant or non-lubricant?
- What about sensitive skin?
- Which ones offer the best protection from STD’s?
- What’s the best for birth control?
- How much should I expect to spend?
- What exactly do I need to know in order to use a condom properly?
Size: LifeStyles Skyn
Yes, size matters and when it comes to condoms, size matters a lot. An improper fit can undermine your condom’s effectiveness and rain on your pleasure.
Condoms come in three basic sizes: slim, average and generous otherwise known as small, medium and large. Some brands offer a custom-fit option which gives new meaning to experience of ‘going for a proper fitting.’
Size is based upon girth rather than length. To ascertain your size, either wrap a cloth measuring tape or string around the middle of your erect penis. If you’re into BDSM, pull extra hard on that string and hold it until the dick turns purple.
Testers for the New York Times found that “custom sizing made a huge difference in terms of comfort and pleasure. Custom fit condoms felt like “not wearing anything.”
The Lifestyles Skyn gets best reviews no matter what the size or shade of the penis.
Best Condoms for Her: Trojan Condom Her Pleasure Sensations Lubricated
Things to consider when purchasing a condom with female pleasure in mind are the following:
- Do they cause irritation to your skin and soft tissue?
- Are the electronically tested for reliability?
- Is the surface ribbed for enhanced sensation?
- Do they have added lubrication for easy penetration?
Given the above criteria, the right condom is most often the result of trial and error. The Trojan Condom Her Pleasure Sensations Lubricated is a good place to start.
Reviewers say that it provides the best of both worlds. Keep in mind, it is a latex condom and may cause irritation.
Best Condoms for Him: The Kimono MicroThin
Many men either don’t like to use condoms or just don’t bother.
The reasons why are:
- They prefer bareback
- Condoms are too much trouble
- Fear of loss of erection
- Latex allergies
- Heat of the moment/caught off guard
- Drug and alcohol clouded judgment
- Don’t take risk seriously
In order to ensure condom use, find one that feels like bareback, is easy to use, and doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. Next, wake the fuck up and take not just your risk, but your partner’s risk seriously.
The Kimono MicroThin feels natural, protects against STI’s and is made of lambskin. According to the manufacturer, it is “20% thinner” than the competition. Wake up call is not included.
Best Overall Condom for Safety and Reliability: Lelo Hex
Along with pleasure, safety and reliability are huge concerns. The Lelo Hex uses a new hexagonal web design that minimizes risk and maximizes pleasure.
The Hex improves grip, reduces slippage and in the unlikely event that a tear occurs, the hexagonal design prevents it from spreading.
The Lelo Hex checks all the boxes of a top rated condom. Like all Lelo products, it is engineered for perfection.
Best Thin Condoms: Okamoto 004 Aloe Condoms
Not only do multiple reviewers conclude that this is the best ‘thin’ condom but it is also the least likely to irritate. The 004 lubricant uses a water-based, aloe-infused lubricant to soothe and prevent irritation in your respective private parts.
If you want to feel like you’re riding bareback while fully feeling the heat of mad, passionate love, try the Okamoto 004.
Though we’re a long way from syphilis pustules causing skin to drop from our faces, risk of STI’s still exists. The best way to protect yourself while enjoying the hell out of an intimate sexual encounter is to find a condom you will actually use.
Push the excuses aside. Great sex often occurs in the heat of the moment. Be prepared when the heat seduces you into that magical moment.
Remember, like all good sex, it’s not just about you. Make sure you and your partner, or partners, as the case may be, find something that maximizes everyone’s delight.
Thankfully, we’ve moved from syphilis epidemics ravaging our bodies. We’ve also moved beyond searching the back of a cave hoping to find a discarded goat bladder to use as a condom. You can find whatever kind of condom you desire. We’ve recommended just a few and encourage you to try them.
Trust us, you and your partner will be happy you did.
Try our Shopify store to begin your condom shopping.
All sources used for this blog are available upon request
All images are sourced from Lelo.com