Condoms can be tricky. Yes, they're for your protection, but nothing can ruin the moment like having to stop and tear open a small, glossy package and getting a strong whiff of latex. Still, condoms are a necessary evil. The first condoms, dating back thousands of years, were used to prevent disease and were made of a wide range of materials including (but not limited to) animal intestines, cloth, and tortoise shells. In the 21st century however, technology has caught up with demand, and nowadays companies are producing a wide range of comfortable, colorful, and safe contraceptive devices. The biggest issue facing the modern consumer is choice. There are too many condoms to choose from.
Some people go for the cheapest brand they can find. Others are attached to whatever brand they've been using since they lost their virginity. This is understandable. When you're trying to impress that special someone, trying out a new or unfamiliar condom brand often feels like a risk not worth taking. Not to worry though; we've compiled a list of the best condoms that you can get at your local pharmacy. If you see something here that looks interesting, give it a try. And if your favorite brand isn't on this list...consider upgrading.
5. Durex Extra-Sensitive
Durex is sort of the forgotten condom brand, caught somewhere between the ubiquitousness of Trojan and the relative infamy of Lifestyle. Still, these ultra thin condoms are good enough to make this list and are available in most pharmacies. While they're pretty comparable to other brands of thin condoms, Durex is notable for its price, which is nearly half that of its competitors. If you're on a budget, these guys'll get the job done.
4. Trojan ENZ
Ah, old reliable. If you're under the age of 30, I'm willing to bet that this is the brand that you or your partner were wearing when you lost your virginity. A standard-thickness condom, with no frills, Trojan ENZ are sort of like the Coca Cola Classic of rubbers. These condoms will neither make nor break your sexual performance, but they are extremely durable and safe. While they're a little pricier than the Durex, this is a great option if ultra thin condoms make you nervous.
3. Trojan Twisted Pleasure
Trojan's Twisted Pleasure condom line is most notable for its strange, twisting shape, and its sensitivity-enhancing lubricant. This condom, unlike some of its more ambitious, heat-infused predecessors, gets the his/her pleasure balance right. It's also doesn't give off that annoying, tingly feeling that's emblematic of other sensitivity-enhancing brands. Trojan's been making condoms for over 100 years, and it appears they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
2. Okamoto Crown Skinless Skin
For some, this condom is the Crown jewel (sorry I know), and it certainly is fantastic. This may even be the best ultra-thin condom on the market, and it's only slightly pricier than Durex Extra Sensitive. On top of this, Okamoto Crowns are the condom of choice for the porn industry. The pros are using it. I'm not sure any condom on this list can claim a stronger endorsement.
1. Skyn by Lifestyle
Lifestyle brand gets a bad rap. The problem is their cheapest condoms, you know the ones that were probably free in your college dorm, are notoriously unreliable and poorly lubricated. I think they may have taken these criticisms to heart when designing their Skyn line. These condoms aren't only well made, but they feel thinner, more natural, and miles better than most of the competition. They also aren't made of latex, but a patented latex substitute, so there's no yucky, sterile smell or any need to worry about allergies. These condoms are the best of the best, a combination of Trojan ENZ's durability and Okamoto Crown's thin, natural feeling. As a lifelong Trojan user, I never thought I'd say anything good about Lifestyle, but Skyn condoms have quickly become my favorite brand over the past few months.
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention Trojan's Pleasure Pack somewhere on this list. It comes in two varieties, each one containing at least five different types of condoms. Think of it as a sampler platter for your sex life. Unfortunately, the point of this list is to rank the best individual condom, not the best box deal. Still, if you want to try out the Trojan's entire collection, this is the best way to go about it.
Well, that wraps things up. Pun intended. It's important to remember though, the degree of separation between the condoms at the bottom of this list and the top is pretty small. When the rubber hits the road (okay I need to stop), you may find that you prefer Trojan Twisted Pleasure to Skyn. Maybe you're a Durex fan. Our recommendation is to try them all out for yourself, and pick your own favorite. Remember, when it comes to sex, consent is the only hard and fast rule. Everything else, including this list, is just a guideline.
Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found in Inked Magazine, Pop Dust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine. -- Find Matt at his website and on Twitter: @mattclibanoff