Product Type: Durex in Personal Hygiene
Newest Review: ... boyfriend saw these we decided to try them. The idea is that these extra safe condoms are, well, extra safe. They are a bit thicker so no... more
Risk Management For Dummies
Durex Extra Safe
Member Name: plipplop
Durex Extra Safe
Date: 19/04/09, updated on 19/04/09 (5321 review reads)
Advantages: The strongest in the range, resilient (to an extent) and reasonably comfortable
Disadvantages: Not flavoured, still not 'easy' to put on and expensive.
Frankly, it amazes me these days that things like condoms are still considered to be something naughty, something never to be discussed. It's no surprise that the UK has an alarming rate of unwanted teenaged pregnancies when you consider the limited public awareness of something as simple as the condom. Whether the Pope likes it or not, condoms save lives - literally. Society can either bury its head in the sand or accept the world's sexuality and manage it appropriately. I don't know about you, but I'm all for the latter.
Don't get me wrong. Like most men I know, I hate condoms, really I do. I think they're impractical, unwieldy and about as conducive to passionate sex as a pair of grandma's tights. But, the fact remains that condoms are a vital part of anybody's sexual health agenda. Durex condoms are, and as far as I am aware, always have been the market leader in the UK. Indeed in the same way that vacuum cleaners are now generally referred to as 'Hoovers', many lads will refer to a condom as a 'Durex', as though the c-word just cannot be mentioned in public.
'Durex' produces a number of different condoms, tailored to individual requirements. It's really important to understand that it's not the case that "any old condom will do'. A man's choice of condom should reflect both his physiology and his preferred sexual activities combined with an element of personal preference. Remember that everyone is different, and that's why (personally) I'm surprised that men sometimes rely on women to carry the condoms because one size does not fit all.
'Durex Extra Safe' is the current incarnation of the most robust condom produced by the company. There are myths about extra safe condoms. Some people believe that they contain a stronger spermicide. Some people believe that you can use them more than once. Neither of these things is true. Extra safe condoms are safer (with the emphasis on that last 'r') due to the physical design of the condom but they aren't foolproof. There isn't a single condom that is and there is always an element of risk. Extra safe condoms won't guarantee your safety, but the only time I caught something 'nasty' was because I had unprotected sex. Fortunately, it wasn't something life threatening - but it doesn't half make you think!
So why would you choose 'Extra Safe' condoms? Extra Safe condoms are targeted at a number of different types of user. The obvious customers are men who engage in anal sex. Clearly, anal sex is more demanding on a condom. Your anus does not lubricate itself and one of the reasons that many men enjoy anal sex (gay or straight) is that the anal passage can be far tighter than the vagina. As such, the condom needs to be more resilient to a greater level of friction. Other users tend to be men who enjoy very vigorous sex (similar issues with friction and damage) or for use when it is known that the partner has the maximum risk of becoming pregnant (and thus minimising the risk of this happening.) There's also a perception that men who have many sexual partners would be better off using Extra Safe condoms. This is a rather flawed concept because the risk is the same with each partner and doesn't increase just because the number of partners does. Men don't normally choose an Extra Safe condom for use during oral sex either (though of course you could.) The sheath is not flavoured and the thickness of the latex might inhibit some of the sensation. That aside, oral sex should still be considered a risky occupation and there's nothing that says that Extra Safe condoms aren't appropriate. It wouldn't be a bad thing to introduce a flavoured one (although flavoured condoms are still pretty rotten tasting anyway.)
Durex Extra Safe is now shaped to be 'Easy On'. I'm not entirely convinced that this makes much of a difference. I think that putting a condom on will always be a bit of trial and error, and is something that improves with practice. I would say that the Durex Extra Safe is marginally easier to put on than other condoms, notably if you are putting them on someone else as opposed to yourself. The real benefit of the 'Easy On' shape, however, is the overall fit. The tip of the condom is shaped in a more anatomically correct manner, which means that you are less aware of the condom during sex and the fit is definitely much better.
So are they very strong? Well, the rubber latex from Extra Safe condoms is the thickest of the Durex range. They're 7% thicker than the Close Range condoms (the next thickest) but the ribbed condoms are just as thick. Importantly, however, they are some 35% thicker than the Fetherlite condoms, intended for those who want as close to a natural feeling as possible. Needless to say, Fetherlite condoms are the weakest and most prone to being damaged. Remember that the risk of damage occurs both before and during actual sex. It's extremely easy to rip a condom in those feverish moments when you first put one on. I have never been aware that one of these condoms has ripped, either before or during sex but this may not be something that you would be immediately aware of anyway, particularly if the tear is very small.
The fit will depend entirely on the size and shape of your penis. Sorry, I know that sounds brutal, but it's true. The overall length (ignoring the very tip, which is there simply to collect the ejaculate) is 205mm from base to tip. This is probably sufficient for a good proportion of the population. If your penis is longer but not particularly fat, you can still get away with this provided only a very small part of the base is uncovered (but it's still increasing the risk.) For men who are very well endowed, the only larger condom that Durex produces is the Comfort XL, which is another centimetre longer. There are specialist brands and products for men with extremely large penises. Generally, the problems occur when the circumference of your penis goes beyond a point, rather than the length.
They're reasonably comfortable. I can't say that I've ever found a condom that was really, really comfortable or that you couldn't detect at all but they are a necessary evil and once you get going, these ones are good. The Extra Safe is supposed to be extra lubricated too, but I've not noticed a massive difference between them and other products. As far as anal sex is concerned, the really important thing is to apply loads and loads of exterior lubricant yourself so the condom alone is never going to be enough anyway. With vaginal sex, this will depend entirely on the partner, of course, as everyone's needs are different. Unlike some cheaper brands, they do seem to stay in place from start to finish, although the likelihood is that if your condom is slipping up your shaft at any time, you may not have it on properly or it may be the wrong size. I've never had an allergic reaction to them and I've not heard of this in anyone else I know either.
It's difficult to comment on the contraceptive qualities of this condom. Clearly it contains the appropriate spermicide to do the job but there are no published statistics on the success rate - how would you track it after all? Suffice it to say that with reduced risk of leakage through damage or through being too small, this is going to further reduce the risk of pregnancy.
They're the most expensive latex condoms that you can buy. They're £6.29 for 12 in Boots although they have a lot of Buy One Get One Free or Buy Two for £10 offers that are worth looking out for me. Generally, the price of condoms in this country is a disgrace (and an issue all in itself). You can, of course, get condoms free from the family planning or sexual health clinic, but you are more likely to get extra strong ones from the latter.
If you practice anal or very vigorous sex, these are the most suitable condoms. I've not knowingly had one break on me and (from experience) both you and your partner can definitely enjoy sensual and pleasurable sex whilst using them. Of course, you can't put a price on safety, but the cost still means that it's a begrudging recommendation overall.
Summary: Don't be silly (you know the rest).