Jan 292014
 

Unique CondomJust as I am not a lube connoisseur, I am also not a condom connoisseur. I haven’t tried a ton of them and don’t feel strongly about any particular brand.

So when I was contacted by Unique Condom, I thought it would be best if I enlisted the help of friends, fellow bloggers, and brave souls who follow me on Twitter. Plus, it would create a sample size of humans that would be hard to discount. Yep — on this one, you can’t just blame my picky vagina (although I know how much you guys love my vagina).

The Unique Condom is a non-latex (synthetic polyethylene resin) condom that comes in a credit card sized package. It’s $7.99 for the 3-pack, or about $2.66 per condom, making it more expensive than most condoms but not quite as expensive as internal condoms. The Unique Condom claims to be thinner and stronger than a latex condom, with easier application due to its pull tabs (that are supposed to pop off once you finish unrolling).

One of my friends gave me their leftover Unique Condom to try, but it wouldn’t unroll — it was tangled in itself, and my boyfriend made this horrible yet sadly familiar wincing face as I attempted to apply it to his penis. I think fate was trying to tell me something. Also, the condom literally looks like a curled Q-tip wrapped in saran wrap. This does nothing to assuage my fears about effectiveness, which is not mentioned anywhere on Unique’s website.

But don’t let me sway you! The following people did much more thorough testing than I, and we are forever indebted to them and their heroism. Please enjoy, and for those keeping track on your scorecards…

People who enjoyed the condom: 25%

People who likened the condom to a plastic bag or saran wrap: 75%

People who used the word “crinkly”: 44%

People who complained that the pull tabs make it hard to apply when drunk: 13%

People who felt that the existence of this condom proved that the universe and/or a deity hates them: 13%

LET’S DO THIS.

Wyatt Riot

Glob of vaseline on Unique Condom — photo by Wyatt RiottThe only thing I could think of when I saw the condom after I unrolled it (with their weird plastic-wrap-like tabs on the condom) was that there was a GLOB OF VASELINE on it! As if that was an adequate personal lubricant — I don’t want any petroleum jelly in my genitals, nor does my partner. Where did that leave us? NOT FUCKED. No thanks, UNIQUE CONDOMS.

[Note from Epiphora: I’ve been told that Unique will be swapping out the vaseline for silicone lube.]

Heather (@FiberistaFiles)

Unique Condoms are definitely different, if by “different” one means odd and awkward.

To begin with, the material they are made from, Synthetic Resin AT-10, is essentially plastic wrap. It sounds and feels exactly like the shrink wrap you have in your kitchen cupboards. Secondly, three condoms are packaged in a plastic harness with sticker pull tabs that are nearly impossible to get a hold of. Once you get the package open, there’s the condom, squished into the shape of a q-tip with pull tabs. It opens into a round shape easily, but then you have to use the tabs like the plastic pieces that cover the sticky parts of a band-aid. This requires coordination, lest the tabs’ shrink-wrappiness grab hold of any and all short hairs in the vicinity.

Which brings me to the last, and most salient point — Unique condoms completely deaden all sensation, for both partners. Not joking — neither I nor my husband could feel anything. We had to visually ascertain that we had even achieved penetration.

Lucas Brooks (@Top2Bottom)

First off, I want to say that putting on a condom has never been so fun. I dare say putting this thing on was almost as enjoyable as popping bubble wrap, and that’s something serious. I had concerns about how crinkly it was, but I found the condom to be perfectly fine in terms of comfort. The thinness wasn’t mindblowingly noticeable, but it felt good. It wasn’t until after I used it that I discovered it was lubricated with Vaseline, which for sex educators is a serious no-no (the human body doesn’t shed oil-based products when used internally, which can lead to infection.) This is a problem that can be easily remedied, however, and I hope Unique will consider a water- or silicone-based alternative.

Navigator (@FS_Navigator)

Unique Condom on Vixen Johnny — photo by NavigatorThe first one got stuck and wouldn’t go down past the head no matter what we tried. When we got the second one on, my partner looked semi-disgusted and said “oh my god, it feels like a sandwich bag.” Intercourse was attempted for about forty-five seconds before I was actually wincing and my partner stopped and said, “okay, I will do literally anything if you will just take this fucking thing off me.” The feeling was mutual.

This thing takes me back to my younger days when I covered my toys in saran wrap, and the scraped walls of my vagina are glad to be rid of it. It’s loose, nowhere near adequately lubricated, and… crinkly. To top the whole thing off, it’s also short, and won’t cover the last half inch of my partner’s equipment (6 1/2″).

Sarah at Marvelous-Darling.com (@marvydarling)

I have some choice words about these Unique Condoms.

Who seriously thought it was a good idea to manufacture condoms that apparently require a full page of illustrated instructions? I read the instructions, but I still was slightly puzzled and second guessing myself when I actually opened the package.

After reading the justifications for the shenanigans Unique Condoms was about to put me through, I was skeptical. First, there’s the thinness issue. It’s supposed to be exceptionally thin and “more sensitive than latex.” I hate that claim. Everyone makes that claim. Sure, it’s pretty thin, but it certainly did not enable us to get lost in the moment. It made crackling sounds inside my vagina. My vagina is not full of Pop Rocks, nor is it a festive Christmas fire over which I’m roasting chestnuts, so it really ought not crackle. Ever. It’s a little distracting, and caused such bad chafing that I had to throw in the towel.

When I made my partner pull out, he took one look at his Unique-clad penis and exclaimed, “It’s like a plastic bag!” Indeed, there was a visible seam running along the head, which was made more apparent by how much air had somehow entered the condom and puffed it up. Final verdict? Unique, yes, but not in a good way.

Everyone else who had to try this monstrosity has my sympathy. Maybe we should form a support group.

(Read Sarah’s more in-depth review here.)

Kara_Sutra (@Kara_Sutra)

What’s worse than having sex with crinkly dried out saran wrap fitted over a dick lubed with Vaseline? Having sex with a Unique condom.

In all my years using protection (17 to be exact) these were THE WORST condoms I’ve ever tried. Sure, the ‘pull tabs’ make putting them on quick but doing so in the dark, while intoxicated, was a futile attempt. If I didn’t know better I’d think the universe was punishing me for something.

Also, the pull tab concept is not ‘new’; Sensis did them way back in 2009, and way better. These tabs are like someone got a little crafty with plastic bags cut into strips, a label maker, and clear drying self adhesives. I swear there’s an Etsy for this shit.

All things considered, I get what they’re trying to do and I appreciate the effort, but I’d happily spend a little more (less in most cases) for non-latex condoms made by ANYBODY else. At $7.99 for 3, Unique just isn’t worth the time or hassle.

Amie

Unique Condom packaging — photo by AmieI (cis-female) arrived at my (cis-male) boyfriend’s house after returning from a short holiday interstate. Souvenirs were dispensed, clothes were removed, got down to business. We both squinted at the credit card-shaped package for a minute. Happily, it was easily applied by me, one who frequently struggles with foreskins and latex condoms. It lubed up fine, tasted of nothing.

Soon we were distracted, but when we’d finished, I asked him what he thought. “It was weird. But not ‘bad weird.’” Those were my thoughts too. Outside of me, it felt a little crinkly, like a mixture of cellophane and cling wrap. But inside my vagina, it felt fine: more like slightly wrinkled skin than the rubbery feel of latex.

Warning: Boyfriend didn’t pull out as soon as he came, contrary to the condom’s instructions. His penis was getting soft when he pulled out, and the condom slipped off more easily than a latex one would. Overall, for me, more pleasant than latex. For him, perhaps a little more sensation. We will use them again!

Alyssa (@alyssalene)

I liked the concept of this condom, but it missed the mark. We tested this condom during blowjobs, missionary, girl on top, and doggy style.

The positives: The condoms are tasteless, nearly odorless, stay put during vigorous intercourse, and contain semen very well. My partner reported that sensation was comparable to other condoms.

The negatives: Application is reminiscent of of that of a band-aid and cannot be easily accomplished in some common fucking circumstances, such as in the dark or while drunk. The pull tabs pissed me off with their unnecessary existence and the four resulting tinyclingysticky pieces of trash per condom. A thick circular seam around the reservoir hits the back of my throat and vulva uncomfortably and my partner reported reduced sensation in tip of the penis. Blowing this is like deep throating a ziploc bag. During vaginal sex, even with lots of Sliquid lube reapplied frequently, I was too distracted to be able to orgasm and was sore afterward. This condom will not be getting anywhere near my butt.

Overall, it is not comfortable to be fucked with this condom. The only sexy feature is the slick packaging design.

JoEllen Notte, The Redhead Bedhead (@bedheadtweeting)

I’ve been hearing everyone bitching about hating these and frankly I can’t relate at all — I freaking LOVE Unique condoms and so does my partner. Why? They feel like you aren’t using a condom at all. They kind of shrink wrap the penis (and according to my partner take a minute to warm up) so you really feel it rather than the condom. The strips made application super-easy (I have shaky hands) and pop right off. I adore these and want many, many more.

Notes:

  • They are different than other condoms so if your inclination is to look at anything different and immediate mock it and/or seethe with rage, these aren’t for you. You will have to be willing to, you know, try something new.
  • It is important to apply them to a DRY penis. We used one after an enthusiastic blow job and noticed it slipping down.
  • They do have vaseline on them. I used first them and read later. I’m not loving that fact. Seriously, why vaseline?
  • The website is terrible. Like, really bad.

Catherine (formerly @Queeraschino)

Crunchwrap Supreme — photo by Queeraschino CherryIf you’ve said to yourself, “God, I wish I could shrink wrap my dick in Saran Wrap so me and my partner will not get off at all,” then blessed be this product. The ugliest fucking thing I’ve put in me since prom. And in case you like your awful sex with a side of burning infection, Unique comes coated in VASELINE. It’s bad enough the bike tassels that hang off the sides didn’t pull off the first time I used it. Oh yeah it also sounds crunchy. It’s like fucking a hard shell taco for 20 minutes.

Just what I need: a burning, shriveled, Crunchwrap Supreme of a condom, complete with little curly sideburns like an Orthodox Jew. When I see products like these, I can only wonder: Why does God hate us? Why?

Justin Alves (@Princelymatters)

The Unique condom was aptly named, it has a different application process than “traditional condoms,” using an applicator tab, or as they refer to it, a pull system. Since it’s made of synthetic resin the Unique condom was ultra thin and allowed for a lot of sensation. I will say that I actually found the condom to be a bit loud while being used, and there was definitely a bit of a learning curve with putting it on.

That being said, I do have two concerns about this product: how the condom is being applied and its lubricant. Since you are using both hands to pull the condom on you don’t have a free had to pinch the reservoir tip. This could lead to increased risk of the condom being ineffective since if/when there is ejaculation there is nowhere for it to go. The condom also comes lubricated with vaseline, which could make folks more susceptible to internal infections.

Overall, the Unique condom does what it set out to do: be a thin condom with a different application process. It’s definitely a great choice for anyone who has a latex allergy or someone who wants something they can safely carry in their wallet.

Elena Kate at RadSexPDX.com (@RadSexPDX)

So, here’s the thing. Once you get over the fact that the thing that is about to enter your body is shrink-wrapped like the tofu kielbasas in the back of your fridge, it’s not so bad. Once you get over the fact that it crinkles like the wrappers of those mysterious red candies your grammy used to give you, it’s not so bad. Once you’ve been treated for the yeast infection that the petroleum jelly lubricant gave you, it’s not so bad. Am I willing to go through ANY of those things for sex that is “not so bad”? Absolutely not.

Oh and by the way, the Unique Condom must be applied to a DRY penis, so say goodbye to foreplay, or at least keep a designated saliva/lube/vag juice washcloth by the bed for some sultry dick-wiping.

Septimus (@SeptimusReviews)

Unique Condom on Vixen Leo — photo by SeptimusOh, I wanted to like the Unique Condoms, I really did. My husband and I were both very impressed with how easy these things are to use. We didn’t bother to read the page of instructions that came with them, and still managed to figure out how they worked (in the heat of the moment no less).

Now while I have to applaud anyone who’s out there working on how to make having safe sex the easy and simple thing to do, I cannot endorse these condoms. They are just too damn crinkly. I’ve never really noticed a condom during sex before, but when we used the Unique Condoms it just felt like there was a plastic bag moving around inside me. Not really pleasant or even slightly romantic. And the size seems to be all wrong too. My husband’s an averagely endowed guy, and the condom was clearly too big on him. Even on my Vixen Leo, it’s pretty baggy.

So, while I love the concept, I hate the execution. Sorry Unique, but keep trying!

He@ArousedDuo (@ArousedDuo)

With a name like “Unique,” 2 pages of instructions, and hyperbolic claims about not being able to see or feel it, this condom had a lot to live up to. For me, it didn’t. Feel it? Oh yes. See it? Absolutely. Also, while it may be “so thin” it sure didn’t feel that way.

The good: the condoms are packaged in, essentially, a credit card and putting one on using the applicator strips was like watching a magic trick up-close. The bad: the condoms come with nuclear launch code-like instructions for putting them on, they felt “crinkly”, didn’t stretch (too small), were thicker than other thin condoms I test drove, and it’s likely (happened to me) that removing one condom will open the covering of the adjacent one. Kudos for making condoms easier to carry, but I personally wouldn’t buy any.

Girly Juice (@Girly_Juice)

Pulling on the condoms with the newfangled tabs has a slight learning curve, but it’s easy once you know how. As with most non-latex condoms, these are noisier than latex but also don’t have that awful balloon smell.

It really “seals to a dry penis” like the marketing copy says, which is good for heat transfer and sensitivity (more sensation than Kimono Microthin, not quite as much as Crown Skinless Skin) but becomes a problem at removal time: my partner found it painful to peel the condom off his penis after sex.

The crinkly material creates a texture that feels friction-y for me, no matter how much lube we use. About 5 minutes of penetration produces so much vaginal rug-burn that we have to stop. Maybe there’s a way to master a perfectly smooth application for friction-free sex, but if we couldn’t do it, I don’t think most people could.

Anonomyss (@Anonomysstake)

I appreciated the easy mode of application, and I feel like this is a new breed of condoms that accommodate for multiple different sizes of penises (specifically in terms of girth) that doesn’t sensationalize big penises, which is really exciting. The material itself was a little iffy, it kind of felt like that new and improved plastic wrap that Glad came out with like 10 years ago, by which I mean that the texture was a little rough. The condom hugged my penis snugly, and felt comfortable during use, except I never really got used to this new texture. I think if I continued use I would though. Either way, I enjoyed the condom and want this company to continue building on this idea and upgrading it.

———

What about you? Would you try this condom of the future? There’s a 75% chance it will feel like fucking a Crunchwrap Supreme and sound like Pop Rocks, but there’s also a 25% chance that you’ll love applying it and it won’t feel like much at all. Me, I’ve learned a thing or two about statistics over the years, and seeing as there is no information about the Unique Condom’s effectiveness save for a money-back guarantee, I’ll pass. $7.99 doesn’t exactly cover an abortion.

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