Condoms. In a perfect world we'd all use them to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and common fornication-related ailments, but in reality men and women across the country (and around the world) often choose to forgo the sheath with the hope of more satisfying sex.
I'd be lying if I told you I love condoms, that I have used them every single time I've had sex with a non-monogamous partner, and that they were affordable and tons of fun to purchase in bulk.
So I'll be frank: latex can make your vag itch, the imminent friction can dry you out, and while condom-adorned intercourse feels good (it's still sex, for Pete's sake) it certainly alters the amount of physical sensation you feel during the act.
But as many sex educators out there will tell you, no 30-second orgasm -- even those squirting ones -- is worth a lifetime of herpes or a recurring case of HPV that'll make it even harder to get approved for health insurance. Not to mention the whole preggers possibility.
So if condoms are the only option, why not try a brand that's made specifically to make the entire experience more enjoyable?
Here are five premium -- yet still affordable -- condom brands that help make safe sex sexy.
1. Lifestyles SKYN Polyisoprene
WTF is polyisoprene, you ask? It's a latex alternative, but unlike its polyurethane cousin this synthetic rubber stretches strong just like the real thing and won't give you that sexy Saran Wrap sensation that most other non-latex condoms provide.
You can fuck for hours (speaking from experience) and with a steady supply of lube -- a necessary component to marathon sex -- these polyisoprene versions will stay on and stay comfortable, as they feel softer than traditional latex. And you'll avoid any and all chafing, rashes and unpleasant crinkly sounds!
2. Sir Richards
You may have seen these hanging at your local adult shop -- they're the condoms with the uber-hip plaid box that attracts lustful lumberjacks and horny hipsters alike. But these condoms aren't just another pretty face.
First off, this company uses no spermicide (duh), parabens, glycerin or casein in the production process, meaning they are certified vegan-friendly by the American Vegan Association and don't have derivatives of ingredients that some argue can cause health problems later in life.
But most notable about Sir Richards is its philanthropic approach for fornication: the company debuted the Buy One, Give One program that lets shoppers do their part by simply having lots of sex. For every condom purchased, Sir Richards donates one to a developing country. Currently the team is working in Haiti with Partners in Health, a NGO that engages local artisans, craftsman and community members to co-create brands and packaging unique to the area's demographic -- all in the hopes of making condom use more appealing to the masses.
Sir Richards also created the Envoy Program, which engages passionate college students across the U.S. looking to help spread the message of safe sex awareness.
3. Billy Boy
These are Germany's No. 1 condom brand, and you know how them Germs love a good roll in the wurst. Now in America, Billy Boy condoms are hand dipped using what the company calls "superior" latex, but it's the variety of sizes and sensations that makes these guys stand out -- or, rather, up. (See what I did there?)
Special Comfort features a roomier design for added sensitivity. Special Contour has a cockring at the base to help him stay harder longer. Beaded features textured nubby bits for added insertion sensation.
Plus, the packaging is nothing short of adorable (for a condom) featuring an extraordinarily excited penis cartoon and each style is available in fun, bright colors and even flavors. Anyone up for a taste test?
4. One Condoms
One Condoms are made of Sensatex, deemed a safer, smoother and clearer form of latex and come in a slew of textured styles and sizes to fit the widest penile demographic. Legend is for giant dicks. Zero features a 25 percent thinner condom for increased sensation. Tantric Pleasure features a roomier base and tip for added comfort.
But nothing beats Glowing Pleasures, the glow-in-the-dark condom that presumably makes any penis look more alien than it already does, while providing an essential greenish-yellow sheen that'll be easy to spot in even the darkest alley.
One Condoms are most awesome because a portion of every purchase goes to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in Africa.
Oh -- and their circular packets and sturdy tin packaging beat every other basic rubber any day.
5. Kimono Condoms
For more than 25 years these Japanese-made condoms have been called the world's thinnest while maintaining the kind of reliability and strength that's key for making a condom worth anything.
While sizing can be a bit snugger than other condom brands out there, Kimono "MicroThin" condoms hold true to their claims, and most anyone who's used Kimono can attest to their thinness -- you still know you're wearing one, but it's nothing compared to the parka-like sensation that those free rubbers from Planned Parenthood provide.
A handy size chart on the company's website will help users find the best fit (there's an unexpected variety available) and these guys are apparently vegan-friendly, too.