Not all condoms are created equally, and preferences vary from person to person. If you haven't done much research, read on as our writer Nicholas Deroose conducted a casual poll among 30 of his gay friends and tested five of the most popular.
Other than alcohol, condoms are arguably the singular most present commodity in the gay community. It is something that is both whispered and shouted in our conversations, fumbled for in our moments of passion and waved at us in our faces till the point of numbness to its message.
Condom fatigue has set in and we have collectively become terribly bored of this rolled up piece of latex safety that is often between us and the bareback sex that we so often fantasise about. Sex is already clumsy enough, a tangling of limbs and emotions, that having to deal with that irritating condom wrapper that just won’t tear or rolling it down onto your cock only to have the sensation squeezed out of your shaft just isn’t cutting it anymore. It is no wonder that some of us are getting our guard down and STI incident rates are on the rise. However, there is hope.
We have come far from our days of using fish bladders and oiled rice paper to protect our tools and these days we actually have a variety of choices to help us stay safe while still having a fucking good time.
A quick survey of 30 of my friends, a mix of tops and bottoms (more bottoms than tops), found out, to no surprise, that the thinness of the condom was most desired feature followed by how well lubricated the condom is and whether the condom was textured. Whether the condom was flavoured or not was also something that people considered, which I thought was interesting, because do people still have oral sex with a condom on?
And so I developed a scale from 1 – 5 (1 being tracing paper would provide you a better experience and 5 being I could not even tell it was on ) to find the thinness, slickest condom that was patterned for pleasure.
Okamoto 003 Real Fit
I was really excited about Okamoto’s Real Fit condoms because they tout a more customised fit to the penis instead of the usual missile shaped hold which kind of squeezes the head too much but my excitement quickly died down when, in the process of getting hot and heavy with my partner I began to fiddle with the box to get the condoms out.
I had already learnt my first valuable in the bedroom. Get the condoms out of the box first.
The Okamoto box held on to its precious cargo way too tightly. Two minutes in and well on my way to deflation, I finally cracked the seal of the vault and whipped out a wrapper, discarding the rest of the floor.
After getting my tent pole up again, I gleefully awaited my rubber glove. We had some difficulty getting the condom to roll all the way down. The condom is advertised as being 52mm in width, which is about 2 inches or half of your pinky finger. So for the thicker boys out there, this one is not recommended. I was getting the life squeezed out of my precious bird. So, off it came with a snap, ripping a hole in the wrapper in the process. Nice.
S$6.40 for a box of four
Recommended for dates you don’t really want to have sex with. “The condom tore? Sorry that was my last one. I guess we are not having sex.”
Sagami Original 002
Yes bitches. Someone finally gets it. These babies come in a flip box that opens with a flick of the wrist to reveal blister capsules with an easy peel away seal. Even with my slippery lubed up fingers, I was still able to tear away the packaging and slip on the diving suit. Not a big fan of the non-latex feel but a good dollop of lube solved that problem and in we went.
The almost negligible wall between my pitching bat and the deep warm ocean of pleasure provided me with nice sensation while it wraps my cock up nice and sung.
My only callout is that these babies are pricy. At S$7.90 for box of two, these joy bags are the LV of condoms.
Recommended for those who want to feel like they’re barebacking.
S$7.90 for a box of two
Durex Featherlite Ultima
Ah Durex. The name conjures nostalgic images of awkward glances at the Durex display shelf at 7-eleven next to Hotel 81. A few choice selections would usually be nestled above the preserved plums and candied hawthorn balls while you plan the shortest route between the cashier and the exit so as to avoid knowing looks from any other patrons who might pop in for a beverage or a bag of chips.
This is the brand you fall back to when you are looking for something familiar, tried and tested. Sort of like grandma’’s chicken soup.
With Featherlite Ultima, Durex gets on the thinness bandwagon and as a testament to its long history with condoms, Featherlite is easy to roll on and comfortable but you might still have to pry it out from with wrapper with your slippery fingers.
S$5.85 for a box of three
Recommended for those impromptu occasions as they are available at most convenience stores.
Now here is an invention that the bathhouse boys can benefit from. The Espire Hotcap is coated at the tip with a warming jelly that leaves a subtle warming sensation around your cock head. Perfect for those bathhouse trysts where the darkrooms can be a little chilly.
I was particularly excited about trying this condom out because I am temperature sensitive and my balls tend to shrink and wrinkle up if there is a chill in the air and unlike other warming gels that set your crotch on fire or the minty ones which feel like your ramming your titanic into an iceberg, the good people at Espire have perfected a formula to mimic the warm caverns of the human body.
S$3.50 for a box of two
Recommended for those with season passes to the bathhouses.
After my Okamoto Real Fit failure, my boyfriend suggested that we maybe try out the XL range instead which he spotted at a 7-eleven near his place. Made of the same thin Sheerlon material, the bigger boy range of Okamoto was 57mm in width and 185mm in length, a 5mm upgrade all round from its Real Fit cousin. I am no scientist here but that doesn’t seem like a lot more room.
The box was still as frustrating to open but this time, (with a flavoured condom already in play) while I unsealed the vault, which is actually a pretty good strategy for keeping it hard. Once I was done unwrapping, I pulled out a black condom and started to get to work.
I call out the color of the condom here because I know that some guys may have an aversion to ‘color’ but I actually like having a black penis.
The condom was a little difficult to roll down and I have to stretch with my fingers underneath it to try to get it all the way down. At this point you are probably thinking that I am trying to brag about the size of my rifle but actually I think it is a pretty average length of 6in, 6.5in on a good day, but just a little thicker at the base.
It might be a good idea to make take some measurements before you go out shopping. Sort of like when you are getting a custom made suit. You want to be sure that everything fits.
Recommended for thicker boys who are colour-blind.
S$4.90 for a box of 3
How to pick the right condom
Size and fit. One size does not fit all. You want a snug fit as condoms that are too tight are likelier to break, and if it’s too loose it can fall off at any point. Ill fitting condoms are likely to cause irritation of the penis, difﬁculty reaching orgasm and/or reduced sexual pleasure.
Thickness. Thicker condoms are said to be more tear resistant and therefore considered a bit safer than regular condoms but recent studies have shown that they don’t really don't provide any extra protection. So between no condom and a thinner one, the choice is clear.
Material. Most condoms are made of latex which some people are allergic or sensitive to. Consider polyurethane (plastic) or polyisoprene condoms. Do note that while lambskin condoms are effective in preventing pregnancy, they are NOT effective in preventing STIs or HIV transmission.
Remember not to use your fingernails or teeth when opening a condom wrapper, and keep the sharp corners of the packaging away from the condom as it can cause rips and tears. And of course, make sure that the condom is "fresh" and not past its expiry date.