Thursday 15 March 2012

Review: Mates Skyn Condoms

A quick note for our international readers (we mean you girl/guy from Kuwait!). These condoms are sold under the Mates brand in the UK, but are exactly the same condoms which are sold under the Lifestyles brand (as Lifestyles Skyn) in other parts of the world.

She Says:
After years of chopping and changing between pills as a result of experiencing almost every combination of side-effects possible, the time came when I begrudgingly decided to ditch the hormones and go back to condoms. This was almost 4 years ago now, and that's when our search began to find the best condom on the market. After trying various different makes and styles we finally came across Mates Skyn Condoms - an innovative new latex-free product.

Mates Skyn Condoms are made from a material called polyisoprene. They're very thin, but appear to be strong - we've not had one break on us yet (and we have been through a lot!). One of the best things about them from my perspective is that they don't smell like condoms, in fact they are pretty odourless which is a pleasant change. They don't really taste of much either, so if you wanted to use contraception for oral sex these would be pretty good if you didn't want to go for some disgustingly flavoured thing - but to be honest it's not something I make I habit of (with condoms I mean!  Not oral sex in general!). I don't think I have a latex allergy per se,  more like a sensitivity, as I do find myself getting dry and slightly irritated after a long session with latex - neither sensations I get with Skyn's.

As for cost, they're very similar to other premium brand condoms coming in at about £12-13 for a pack of 12 from most retailers. However, we have been doing our research... after recently discovering that you can buy Tabasco hot sauce in bulk on Amazon (Alex eats A LOT of it), I began to think what else we use a lot of  - and did a quick search for these. Low and behold you can buy Skyn Condoms on Amazon - we got 144 from this seller for just £54... working out at 37.5p each, rather than about a quid.  So that should keep us going for a while.

Last year a couple of my housemates were also having issues with their contraception methods, I gave them both a couple of these to try, and they've both been using them ever since.

Overall a great product, and very much an essential in our household.  Let's just hope they don't stop making them.

He says:
You may have seen these, there was certainly a strong advertising and promotional push when they were first launched in the UK. They are a non-latex condom made of a polymer called polyisoprene. This actually has the same basic chemical structure as the polymer part of natural latex, but without the additional plant proteins responsible for allergic reactions and sensitisation. I am a scientist in real life, and have actually made this stuff in my lab! By using this synthetic rubber, Mates are able to fine-tune the physical properties of these e.g. thickness, strength, elasticity, etc.

What this means in practise is that these condoms are fucking awesome. In science we talk about different types of change. Evolutionary versus revolutionary. Quantitative (i.e. numerically different) versus qualitative (conceptually different). And these condoms have I think actually shifted my worldview slightly. I am being entirely serious about this. Don't get me wrong: you can still tell you are wearing a condom. The sensation is not the same as unsheathed sex. But it is hugely better than any latex condom I have ever used, or any non-latex condom for that matter. It is probably better to list the benefits frankly so we are not here all week:

They have virtually no smell or taste.

They feel substantially thinner than any other condom I have ever experienced (with the possible exception of the Pasante Unique, but these have other massive problems).

They fit like a glove. Actually, I have always wondered about this phrase. Most gloves fit quite badly and make it difficult to do stuff. Except the gloves I wear in the lab, where the gloves fit well as dropping things is generally a bad idea if you want to stay fertile and alive. Correction: they fit like medium purple nitrile lab gloves.

They feel strong (I have never had one of these break on me, nor a wrapper accidentally rip for that matter).

They conduct the heat better than otehr condoms I have used.

The packaging looks classier than most in my view.

They are cheaper than many other non-latex condoms.

On this last point they are, however, appreciably more expensive than your average latex condom. I honestly don't care about this. I would genuinely happily pay triple what these cost. And part of that cost has to come from economies of scale, right? So once everyone in the world starts buying these the price comes down. Hopefully.

The only other complaint I could possibly have come up with about these in the past is that they are not generously sized (they fit me perfectly, but if my cock was a flat it would be described as cozy by an estate agent) and they stretch a bit less than a latex condom. But then they went and launched a large version, so no worries guys.

As you will have gathered , I cannot recommend these more highly for all condom users, whether you suffer from a latex allergy or not.


  1. Took your advice, gave these a go. I've basically worked my way through the Durex range, and thought I'd try these. I really agree - these are much, much better. Definitely getting more in future!

    It's good to get advice on these things, so keep up the blog :D

  2. Try Crown Skinless Skin. I like them much better, personally, and they seem to stretch to fit larger sizes better than most. I don't have a latex allergy but do tend to dry out after awhile with most condoms.

  3. Thanks for the information. Mates Condoms are safe and comfortable. There is no need to sacrifice fun and comparability over safety.