In the early 1990’s I was a newly graduated Sex Therapist and just starting on radio. One of my radio sponsors was a major condom company. Grosses of condoms were delivered to my office and I gave them out at speeches, during sex education classes, and in abundance during frosh weeks at Colleges and Universities. I did condom water toss games, used them in a blindfold game on slippery dildos, and threw them to people across cafeterias. One of my favourite activities was to show how easy it was to break or denature the condoms by rolling them up to your shoulder or covering them with oil. The kids in my life grew to think that all balloons came with a reservoir tip. It was great, and I spent lots of time with latex of all colours.
But the truth about latex is that using condoms isn’t nearly as much fun as having no condoms when you are going to have hard, sweaty intercourse. Flavoured rubbers, with extra lubricant, ribbed and extra sensitive all help with increasing the pleasure, but there is still a noticeable barrier. My partner really does insist “he feels no sensation at all using condoms and it really is like wearing a raincoat”. Not having a penis, I take his (and the thousands of other men I’ve spoken to over the last 20 odd years about sex) word that condoms can limit the sensuality of the experience.
The female perspective is that semen can be cool. Messy but cool. We may ejaculate, but we don’t make semen. Semen has been proven to do a number of positive things. One ejaculate of semen contains over 200 proteins, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, citric acid, fructose, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin B12 and zinc. And condoms by their nature of blocking the transmission of fluids limits the fun and beneficial interaction with semen.
So when the Swedish sex toy manufacturer Lelo says they have a new revolutionary condom it generates lots of interest. The condom has been using the same premise and basic shape since the 19thth century. If Lelo can build a better mousetrap while maintaining the benefits of no STI transmission and pregnancy prevention then it is worth a look.
Introducing Hex, the new re-engineered condom by Lelo. When you take it out of the box it certainly looks high tech. Ribbed with little hexagonal shapes all over, it espouses to be stronger than traditional condoms. It rolls on the same as usual and the texture with the raised hexagons while a little different isn’t enough for you to notice anything really unusual if you put it on in the dark.
However, it felt very similar to having no condom for me while in use. It didn’t have that rubbery feeling or the burning sensation you can get from latex, as any woman who has used a cheap, latex vibrator knows. And according to my husband, the hexagons felt different to my partner on the head of the penis. The Hex condoms were less likely to slip, and the material was thinner overall. While he said “he still had limited sensation, it was the best feeling condom ever”. And that’s saying something. As well, we tried really hard to break it. So the Hex condom was stretchy, strong and with a raised shape inside for less slipping. Maybe it is re-engineered. And while I’m not likely to go jumping up and down excitedly and tell everyone who will listen (unlike my first experience with Ora, Lelo’s oral sex toy that is one of the 7 wonders), it made reviewing a condom the way they were actually made to be used a fun and interesting experience. They are selling them online. Try them for yourself and see if you can feel a difference. I would be interested in hearing if you did.