Monday, July 11, 2011

LifeStyles SKYN

I found out shortly after losing my virginity, that I was allergic to latex.  Um... ouch!  Not a fun way to learn about a skin sensitivity.  After that I began using birth control pills, and didn't worry about condoms for years (note, I have only ever had one sexual partner: my husband).  Eventually after years of not liking the way I felt on the birth control pills (no sex drive=no fun) I finally decided to stop them.  I track my cycles the best I can for someone who has PCOS and irregular cycles.  I love NFP when we are actively trying to expand our family, but when we aren't, I like to keep condoms on hand (err, by the bedside). 

My go-to brand is LifeStyles, for their SKYN variety.  They were introduced in 2008, and I have been using these for about two years (well, my husband has, but, you know...).  I have tried the (few) other non-latex brands/options out there, and these are typically the least expensive.

LifeStyles SKYN male condoms are made of Polyisoprone Material, and state that they do not contain natural rubber latex (woohoo for latex sensitive peeps!).  In doing a bit of reading, I have found that polyisoprone is actually the same type of rubber as latex, it just doesn't contain the natural proteins that lead to most people's allergies and sensitivities.  While there are no condoms currently on the market that have guaranteed 100 percent birth control effectiveness, the polyisoprene condom has been tested to show improved strength and less openings in the condom material itself.  In all of our uses of the SKYN condoms, we've never had a breakage.  I must note that we have never used these for STD protection (never had a need for this), only pregnancy.

This material is very thin, and it feels soft to the touch.  Visually, they are a see through soft white...I would almost say clear, but not quite.  The material is more form fitting than latex, and we have never experienced any slipping during use.  They look quite snug and tight to me when worn (especially width-wise), but I have never heard a complaint from my husband.  LifeStyles did recently introduce SKYN Large, which I think I will purchase in the near future to see if maybe he's just too big for the standard size and the Large fits better.  We'll see.

Measurements are:

Length- 7.48"
Width- 2.08"
Thickness- 0.0027"

These are lightly lubricated.  Feel free to add more of the water based lubricant of your choice if you like (oil based lubricants can decrease effectiveness).  There isn't much of a taste to these (just very slightly bitter, in my opinion from the lubricant) and no smell at all. The lubricant is water based. 

The slogan for these is "Closest Thing To Wearing Nothing," and while I think they are thinner than your average latex condom (at least from what I can remember), I would hardly say they feel like nothing.  I much prefer the feeling of real skin-to-skin contact, but I believe in safe sex and family planning... and since there just isn't much on the market for latex sensitive people, I'm glad these exist.

There's really not a whole lot to say about these other than they are a fantastic alternative to latex condoms for those with sensitivities, or for those who would like a thinner condom that feels probably as close as you're going to get to skin while still using a condom.

When you open the box, you will find information about effectiveness, storage (room temperature, and preferably not in your back pocket or wallet, please!), and usage in both English and Spanish.  The condoms themselves are wrapped individually in easy to open, gold foil packs with the LifeStyles and SKYN name in black.

You can purchase these at most grocery and drugstores, in packs of three or twelve, but at the moment EdenFantasys carries only a three-pack for $4.99.  I do wish they carried the larger boxes.  And while we're at it, I wish that there were more "fun" condoms available in non-latex materials.  I mean, don't get me wrong I'm thankful to even have these, but it would be fun to have a little more variety.

product picture
Male condom by Ansell
Material: Polyisoprene


  1. I'm allergic to latex too, I apparently just developed the allergy before Christmas. That was an unpleasant surprise.

    Anyway, these are all we use. I love them.

  2. Oooh, not a pleasant surprise at ALL!

    Though thinking about it, I probably should have known earlier than I did...visits to the dentist usually resulted in my face being crazy irritated for a couple days...latex gloves, duh. I never made the connection until after I had trouble with latex condoms.