Review: Ansell SKYN Extra Lubricated Non Latex Condoms

My partner and I don’t use condoms on a super regular basis, but we do use them when deemed necessary. If you read my previous post on infertility, then you’ll know that the chances of me falling pregnant are extremely limited and next to nothing, but we like to air on the side of caution anyway. The most common reason for us using condoms is me needing to take a course of antibiotics. These tablets can interfere with my contraceptive pill. I get bad skin flare-ups and end up needing a weeks dose of them a few times a year to clear it up so this is when condoms come in handy. I prefer to avoid latex wherever possible (unless it’s clothing) so when the opportunity arose to try some non latex condoms for Lovehoney I jumped at the chance.

The box of Ansell SKYN Extra Lubricated Non Latex Condoms arrived quickly and the presentation was pleasant. The design is clean, simplistic and the colours used are dark blue and black which makes a nice change from all the garish, bright condom packaging around. The box offers up some information about the condoms such as their nominal width, the material used and basic safety directions. Inside, there was ten individually packaged condoms, a sachet of their Maximum Performance Silicone Lubricant and some standard information such as how to place the condoms on properly and correct disposal methods.

The name may give it away, but these condoms do not contain latex. This makes them a viable option for those who have a suspected or known allergy to natural rubber latex or simply have a preference for other materials. I didn’t have much information prior to the condoms arrival, all I knew was that they were latex free. I wasn’t sure what they would be made from but the packaging later informed me that synthetic polyisoprene was the answer. The brand refers to this material as ‘skynfeel‘ because it’s designed to be soft and comfortable for the wearer, providing a natural fit and feel. I would definitely agree with the natural feeling statement. My partner didn’t lose any sensation during sex and said it felt like he wasn’t wearing anything. He has only ever experienced this with one or two other condoms before with the least noticeable being the Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms. It must be something to do with the absence of latex.

Ansell SKYN Exta Lubricated Non Latex Condoms

Ansell SKYN Exta Lubricated Non Latex CondomsAnsell SKYN Exta Lubricated Non Latex CondomsAnsell SKYN Exta Lubricated Non Latex Condoms

 

 

 

 

In terms of fit, my partner is on the larger side (in both girth and in length) but he didn’t find any issues with stretching these condoms to accommodate himself. He did mention that they are a smidge shorter than other condoms that we’ve used, but he managed to make the fit work there too. He said that these condoms feel tight enough to be secure and stay put, but not so tight that they become uncomfortable or painful.

These condoms are extra lubricated and I’m not sure whether this aided the natural feeling alongside the thin material, but I like it. There have been more times than I’d like to remember when my partner has worn a condom and I have felt some friction that won’t disperse without masses of lube, so I’m extremely pleased to have found some that solve that problem. We thought that insertion of his penis was much easier and more comfortable for me with these than most other brands and we didn’t need to add any additional lube during our sessions. If your partner lasts longer than an hour you may need to make use of the provided sachet, but as PIV tends to be about half that time for us we had no need to.

Are there any downsides to these condoms? Unfortunately, yes. I thought everything was going smoothly until I caught a quick sniff as I placed it on my partner. We have never used polyisoprene condoms before so I don’t know whether this is to be expected or not, but it wasn’t particularly pleasant. I’d liken it to ‘wet dog’ or something similar although it’s only noticeable when putting the condom on or removing it. As I can’t detect the odour when the condom is in use this is not a deal breaker for me. I would of course prefer it to be absent, but I can get over it.

You can purchase the Ansell SKYN Extra Lubricated Non Latex Condoms ($19.95 AUD/£11.95) from Lovehoney.

We received this product free of charge in return for our honest review. This in no way changes our opinion of the item. All views are our own and based on our experiences. No affiliate links have been used within this post.

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Review: Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms

My partner and I have used condoms in the past out of necessity, but we don’t use them on a regular basis. If you read my post on infertility, you’ll know that the chances of me ever falling pregnant are very, very limited but I like to use condoms when needed just to be on the safe side. Recently,  I’ve needed a couple of doses of antibiotics, which can interfere with the contraceptive pill during the surrounding weeks, so I’ve needed a back-up barrier to feel comfortable. We’ve had to do this in the past and resorted to non-vegan condoms as they seem to be most readily available, but I do prefer to use vegetarian or vegan essentials where possible, so I was really grateful to get the chance to try these out.

The Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms arrived quickly and I was pleased with their presentation. It’s a nice change to see a company use a clean simplistic design with minimal colouring on their condom packaging as most brands seem to opt for garish colours and graphics that scream contraception. The box offers up the necessary information regarding Fairtrade as well as basic facts such as how the condoms should be stored. There’s a leaflet inside with further information about how to place the condoms on properly and how to dispose after use.

Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms

Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms

Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms

 

 

 

 

I’ve had reactions to Durex (probably because of the lube used on them) and Mates condoms in the past, so if needed, we’d use Skins Condoms. Now that we’ve tried these by Fair Squared, we won’t be going back to any of those brands. Not only are these vegan friendly (yay, no animal cruelty or casein) and Fairtrade (woo, fair working/trading conditions) they also have a few practical things going for them. For starters, these do not have the strong scent of rubber that I’ve become accustomed to from Durex and Mates, but rather a pleasant odour that’s reminiscent of sweet vanilla.

Secondly, the fit is great. My partner is on the larger side but he found no issues with stretching the latex to accommodate himself. He said that the condom felt tight enough to be secure, but not so tight that it was digging into his skin or restricting the blood flow. I think he will try out the XL version at some point though, just to see how much of a difference there is and which feels better for him. He mentioned that these are well-lubricated which aided application for him and penetration for me. We generally have to add some of our own lube to condoms to be comfortable but haven’t needed to do that with these Ultra Thins yet.

And finally, they are durable. Some of the extra thin condoms that we have encountered during the past couple of years have torn easily or felt as though they might, but these Ultra Thins are robust. I haven’t been worried about them breaking during use and it seems that I don’t need to, as we haven’t had one break out of the pack at all. If my partner and I ever needed to use condoms frequently as our reliable method of contraception then I would be comfortable using these, although I think that the bigger pack of 100 would be better value in that scenario.

You can purchase the Fair Squared Ultra Thin Vegan Condoms (£7.99) from Lovehoney.

We received this product free of charge in return for our honest review. This in no way changes our opinion of the item. All views are our own and based on our experiences. Some affiliate links have been used within this post.

Review: Miss On The Go Kegel Exerciser

Miss On The GoUnderstanding a companies ethics, morals and back story can play a huge part in understanding the products that they make, so before I tried the Miss On The Go, I had some great conversations with its creator, the lovely Miss VV. Her dedication to this product astounded me and after trying it, I believe all of her hard work has paid off. It took her almost three years to achieve it, as she aimed for high-quality and didn’t want to release a substandard product, which I applaud. You can tell just from speaking to her that she is truly passionate about her product and the industry, which just shows how much love, research, time and effort has been put into making the Miss On The Go what it is today.

I think the most important thing that I have taken from my conversations with her, was her message. Confidence IS sexy. It’s not all about the way that you look, it’s about your attitude. Don’t let other people control your decisions. It’s up to you and you should trust yourself to make those choices. Trust your instincts, but don’t be afraid to try new things, or explore your body. Be respectful in your manner, but don’t tolerate those things that go against your values. Ultimately, just be you and allow yourself to have a happy, healthy sex life.

Moving onto the product itself – I really liked the classy packaging. It arrived in a small tube, that’s stylish in appearance and made from eco-friendly materials. It comes with two sets of instructions, one set in English and another in French. It also comes with the necessary charging cable and a small storage pouch to keep it in. It needs to be charged completely for three hours before use, but this gives around 2.5 hours of use on full speed, which is a great charge to play time ratio. It will flash every two seconds to indicate the charge is taking place, which turns to a steady glow once complete.

It’s made from medical-grade silicone, which is of course free from latex and phthalates. It’s also hypoallergenic, non-toxic and odourless. Silicone is completely body-safe, but it does have some drag to it that other materials don’t have. It’s not so bad in this case, but I would advise using some water-based lubricant to remove the minor amount of friction it has and aid insertion. It attracts an unobjectionable amount of lint, as most silicone products do, but this can be removed easily with a quick rinse. It’s waterproof up to 1 meter, so rinsing is not an issue and is recommended for cleaning. The instructions also recommend using antibacterial cleaner.

I decided to try the Miss On The Go out manually first, just to get a feel for the shape, size and vibrations that it has to offer. I noticed then that there wasn’t any flex to the material whatsoever, which is not a deal-breaker, but it would be nice to have a slight squish in the tip for extra comfortable long-term wear. I would have also liked there to be a bit of extra room between the two balls, as I usually insert one at a time as I find this easier, but with this product, I have to do both at more or less the same time. Again, I’m not going to avoid this exerciser because of those things, but they are minor preferences of mine and would be preferred.

Miss On The GoTo turn on, simply press the power button for three seconds. The light will then flash every five seconds until the product is turned off. Press again to cycle through the modes, of which there are five. Three constant speeds and two patterns. If you’re using it without the app, find the setting you want prior to inserting it, as you won’t be able to access the button once it’s in position. If you’re using it with the app, then you can control the vibration modes from there, or turn them off if you wish. I have found its most comfortable to insert in a standing position and removed when squatting.

The Miss On The Go weighs 65g, which I’d define as standard for these types of products. I think it’s within the weight range that many people exploring Kegel exercisers for the first time try out. My first pair was just below this at 59g, so I’m quite comfortable with similar weights now. I can use more advanced pairs, but with added stimulation from vibrations and numerous uses to investigate, this weight suited me well. It would be great to see an advanced version over 100g in the future though. I’d quite like the challenge of that.

I love that this product doesn’t have a set-time frame for each use, as similar products that I’ve tried in the past have requested a specific amount of time each day. I like being able to go at my own pace, use it when I want to and for however long I want to. Consistency is a key part of working out your PC muscles, but the amount of time done for is dependent on the person doing so. I would advise just listening to your body, as you would with any other toy, and go from there. I personally like around 20-30 minutes in the morning whilst I move around and get ready for my day, but occasionally I’ll go for longer or shorter periods, depending on my mood and schedule. It’s important that kegels don’t become a chore – or something you want to put off. The Miss On The Go should be fun to use as-well as being beneficial to your health and sex life.

In regards to the app, I simply downloaded it and was asked to set up a profile. This consists of username, password, gender, age and email address. It gives you a set profile photo – so everybody has the same, the only differences are gender-based. Men are given the image of a shirt and tie, whilst the ladies have a heeled photo. I would love these to be less stereotypical representations of gender and I’d also love an option for non-binary people to have profiles. It would be great to see the app be more inclusive in the future to those who aren’t feminine women or masculine men.

Miss On The GoConnecting Miss On The Go to the App is simple. Just power the product on, turn the bluetooth on your phone and it should find it and connect. You then enter a code which is listed within the instruction booklet and you’re good to go. There are three options to explore on the App: My Own Pleasure, Strong is the New Sexy and Let the Game Begin. The first two can be used solo, one for exploring the vibrations and the other for strengthening your PC muscles. The final option can be used with a partner by searching for the person you’re looking for and inviting them to join you. If they accept, then you can both exchange pictures and texts.

In conclusion, I think the app has been well-designed. It is definitely one of the better apps that I’ve used, although I would make a couple of changes as mentioned above. I’d definitely like it to be more inclusive in regards to the profiles and photos, but the functionality to remain the same. I had no problems getting it to work or trying to connect the product to it, unlike previous app-controlled vibrators that I’ve used. It’s easy to understand, fun to use and has added a splash of interest to my daily pelvic floor routine. As for the balls themselves, I encountered very few things that troubled me. I personally would have given them a small amount of squish for comfort reasons and perhaps more room between them, but apart from that, I am quite satisfied with them.

I received the Miss On The Go ($169/£136.98) from MissVV’sMystery in exchange for my review. Thank you! Affiliate links have been used in this post.

Let’s Talk: Infertility

Before I get started on this post, I want to tell you that it’s ok not to read this if it’s a post that might upset you. I understand that infertility is not a soft subject and it can be difficult for many people, but I really need to put these feelings out there and vent about some of the comments I’ve been receiving.

So, I’ll guess I’ll start by saying that I am infertile. If you’ve seen my recent tweets, then you’ll already know this as I did post some of my frustration there. I have known this for three to four years now, although I knew it was a possibility for a year before that. The reason for my infertility is not something that I really speak about on my blog or in this community much, which is my eating disorder. I have anorexia and this has ceased my ovulation. I’ve had some fertility tests done in the last couple of years, and despite the possibility of recovery in the future, I was told that it’s not possible for my body to handle a pregnancy due to the other medical problems that I now have.

I feel it’s important to clarify that many womb-owning anorexia recoverers (is that a word?) can go to on to conceive if they are weight restored, have menstruation/ovulate and/or their body has had a period of time to heal. It can take longer for this to happen, but it’s still possible for many people. Whilst this is fantastic news for my friends who suffer, it’s not possible for everyone. I’m one of these people who it’s not possible for.

As I have known since the age of sixteen that it was likely, I have kind of made peace with it. I have accepted it, but it seems that others around me haven’t. I feel like this is lifes way of telling me that it’s just not in the cards for me and honestly, I’m ok with that. I now feel that it’s better if I can’t, because I don’t think I’d be able to deal with it if I bought a child into this world and passed some of my problems onto them. I don’t think it’s fair and I couldn’t bring someone into this world for them to just be miserable. Maybe I am saying things like this to make the news easier to deal with or maybe I actually feel this way, but regardless of whichever it is, I shouldn’t have to deal with the comments, especially from those that I care about, that I am fending off on a regular basis.

Here are just a few of the comments I have received from people, some of which include my family or those who know me offline and are aware of my situation:

  • “What will you do with your life now that can’t have kids?”
  • “Real women can have kids.”
  • “It’s your own fault, if you didn’t do this to yourself, you’d be able to have kids.” (this one is particularly upsetting to me – Anorexia is not something I “did” to myself. It’s something that the mental illness did to me.)
  • “Are you going to adopt? Foster? Get a surrogate? You do want children, right?”
  • “It’s your duty as a girlfriend/wife to give your partner a child.” (Are we still in the sixties?)
  • “Why is he with you if you can’t give him a family?”

I’ll start with the less offensive of these and work through them. The questions regarding wanting children and other methods of fertility. I know many people who can’t have children would love them, so I see why these questions are asked, but it’s the way that these people ask the questions. It’s like they are expecting me to say yes, simply because I’m a woman, and what sort of monster woman doesn’t want them? Well, me. If I can’t have them, then I won’t. I support others who do have children and that’s fantastic for them, but what’s right for them, isn’t right for me and I’m not going to bring a child into this world through some other measure just because society says that I should.

“It’s your duty/why is he with you?” Personally, I think these questions are extremely insensitive and rude. I am actually disgusted by these comments, but I don’t think people realise how hurtful these types of sentences can be. Family is not the be all and end all of a relationship. We can be a family without a child and as long as I satisfy him and he’s happy – why should you care whether a child is involved or not? We are now in 2016, so I really shouldn’t have to defend myself for not having children.

As for the I’ve brought it on my myself and other disgusting comments regarding my mental illness, I have lots to say about that and none of it is pleasant, so I’ll keep those thoughts to myself. Like you should. If you’re a person who’s ever said this to me, I hope you understand how inappropriate and disgusting these comments are. If I didn’t feel bad enough about myself already, I have people like this coming in and making things worse. It’s almost like if it was for any other reason, other than Anorexia, they’d shut up and say nothing. I think that’s what makes this so upsetting to me. If it wasn’t for a mental health reason, they’d just accept it.

Why should I be made to feel bad about not being able to have a child and not wanting to go through other methods to have one? Motherhood is not for everybody and it seems that it’s just not meant to be for me. I find it extremely rude that people suggest I’m less of a woman for not being able to have a child. I am actually a real woman, because I’m a woman. I have thoughts and feelings too and it seems to me that some people forget that and just look at me as though all I am is a womb.

It seems to be a very common thing for people to comment on others fertility and family size throughout a relationship. It starts with “so, when are you getting married?” and leads to “when are we having a grandchild?” – I really believe that people need to stop this. You don’t know the ins and outs of someones relationship, health and life, so you have no idea what these questions stir up in people. If my partner knew about this before our relationship started and he loves me regardless, then why can’t others just leave it alone?