It’s overwhelming how many styles of condoms are currently available. As much as we’d love to test them all for you here on Cliterati, we’re just not sure we’ve got the stamina! So, instead we’ll do a few at a time, starting with One Zero Ultra Thin, Trojan Sensitivity BareSkin Thin and Mates Zero Extra Thin. Why these? Well my willing co-tester and I haven’t tried many ultra thin styles and we had read certain myths about what “thin” means, so we thought we’d put a few to the test. Plus, according to each respective brand, these are the thinnest they offer. Well, we don’t do things by halves! Here’s what we found…
Condom packaging should be sexy, but discreet. Mates Zero have this down to a tee in their sleek all white and silver box that’s got a layer of tissue paper over the foils inside. This reminded me of how expensive products are carefully wrapped up in designer stores, before being placed in a shopping bag. I also liked that the only wording on it is ‘Zero’ and again it’s plain white. Carry one of these foils around in your bag and should anyone catch a glimpse it may simply look like a wet, or sterile-wipe.
One Zero Ultra Thin is a real eye-catcher as they opt for a round foil, rather than the traditional square. They’ve also stuck to their innovative cylinder outer packaging with a tin lid on either end. Put these two tin-bits together and you have a light, yet safe place in which to store your rubbers. Toss them in a bag, suitcase or jacket pocket and there’s no chance of the foils getting damaged, rendering the condom unusable. Genius.
There was certainly something very domineering and regal about the Trojan Sensitivity BareSkin packaging. The box was bigger – this at first appeared a bit of a waste as it seemed excessive for 10 foils, but then it transpired that all of the safety information and instructions were printed inside the box, very eco-friendly – the branding was bigger, there was more writing, information and messages than on any other packaging; overall it basically reflected very well the country of origin: America. Would that make the sex bigger and better though? What it did do was add a sense of reassurance. All of the images, percentages, seal quality badge-like logos certainly offers an air of authority.
Obviously, all foils came clearly marked with an expiry date on the back as well as on the outer packaging.
THE ROLL ON
All three brands were a pain in the arse to roll on. Not the most positive point to start a review on, but I think the most important. If you like condom application to be quick, easy and fuss free then ultra thin doesn’t seem to be the way to go. The reason was that the rubber would often get caught on itself as it rolled down, or it was tricky to grip. With both the Mates Zero and the One Zero, there were times we abandoned application and went with something else because it got too fiddly. Annoying when you think you only get eight or 10 in a box.
Turning it into a two-person job certainly improved the situation. Lending a hand to hold the tip while he rolled meant a higher success rate. It was also nice that we were both involved and responsible for getting it on safely and application became a part of foreplay.
There is suggestion that condom manufacturers make their thin condoms more see-through, to enhance the idea of barely there. Obviously, while we can’t know for certain if this is what Trojan, Mates and One have done, they certainly looked a whole lot thinner and I could see more of my willing co-tester than with a standard johnny. It freaked us out a bit if we’re honest. Although we knew there was a condom on there (we’d just spent a minute getting it on, so had become well acquainted), because it was a lot less visible there was that moment of panic as we thought: ‘is this going to be strong enough?’
We’re happy to report that none of the condoms broke or fell off during testing. The more we used them, the more comfortable we became with the appearance. How thin they looked was actually a bit of a turn on in the end, because you’re still getting the visual stimulation associated with not using a sheath. Whether the companies use a lighter colour latex, or not, whatever they do to it the Mates, Trojan and One thin condoms certainly have a great look that’s more appealing than standard rubbers.
Both the Zero and the Trojan BareSkin’s are straight shape. Width wise, the Zero is 52mm up and down and the BareSkin 53mm. One Zero condoms have got a little more space due to a flared design at the tip measuring 56mm, which narrows in the middle to 52mm for a secure fit and then 53mm at the base. Although all three were comfortable once on, my willing co-tester reported that in terms of comfort of fit, the Trojan Sensitive BareSkin condoms edged it because, “they were a decent length and didn’t feel like they would ride up.” A look at length and they measure up as follows: Trojan at 7.9 inches, Mates Zero at 6 inches and One Zero at 7.5 inches.
As a woman, the lubricant on condoms is a big consideration. Dryness mid-coitus because of a condom is not an option. Luckily this wasn’t a problem encountered with any of the ultra thin condoms that we tested. All were suitably lubricated in the foil, but not so much that it made them too slippery during application.
One thing I wish is that manufacturers made the type of lubricant they’re using a little clearer on the packaging. All of them simply said “lubricated” or “premium lubricant”. What does that mean?! It’s no good if you want to use a condom with your designer sex toy (to add texture, or for allergy reasons for example) only to find out that it’s coated with a silicone lubricant that’s going to damage it. One Zero clearly states that they use a “premium silicone”. Great. For the purpose of this review I contacted Trojan and they replied to clarify that “premium” does indeed mean silicone. Why not just put that somewhere on the packaging then? With Mates Zero I have been unable to find full clarification as to what lubricant they use.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
All three boxes retail for £10.99 from Lovehoney. There are eight foils in Mates Zero, 10 in the Trojan BareSkin and a satisfying 12 in the One Zero pack. Bear in mind what was noted at first: how tricky they can be to roll on at times. Wasting them when you’ve spent over a pound-a-go in some cases could leave you feeling frustrated.
Although all of them technically did the trick, it’s hard not to have a personal preference in these things. For my willing co-tester and I it would have to be the Trojan’s. The extra length suited him and made them more comfortable, which in turn had an effect on how confident we felt using them. Having said that, I am starting to become a bit of a sucker for the One brand: they look good, feel good and the lubricant used is easily one of the best I’ve experienced so far.
Disclaimer: I was provided with Mates Zero Extra Thin Condoms and Trojan Sensitivity BareSkin Condoms for free, in exchange for my honest review.