How She Made a Condom Hater a Condom Lover

limp on condomsThe folks at Condom Monologues share an all too familiar story: You’re in the heat of the moment. Amazing sex is about to begin. So you reach for a condom. But just as you’re about to strap it on your man, he goes limp. The lustful moment swiftly plummets to awkwardness. What do you do?

We’ve all heard the excuse not to use condoms because they ruin sex. Many of us have experienced partners who hate condoms to the point that there is a real physical reaction against them.

But there are ways to overcome condom hate and have even better safer sex.

Condom Monologues demonstrate how a condom hater can be converted to a condom lover. The storyteller explains how she used this opportunity to teach her partner about proper condom fit and offers to explore new types and sizes with him.

After all, if someone doesn’t like condoms it’s likely because they haven’t found the right one yet.

So what at first seems like a date gone wrong can actually transform into a wild journey of sexual exploration!

This post was originally published at Condom Monologues.  

BY CONDOM MONOLOGUES | CondomMonologues.com

A one night stand of fun, no-strings-attached sex was exactly what I needed. Undesired, however, was a man who went limp at the sight of condoms.

We quickly hooked up. Hot, passionate kissing that evolved into a scene of heavy lust. Before we gravitated to the bedroom I asked him if he had condoms on him as I was unprepared- guilty as charged. Pleased that he did, we confidently carried on without inhibition.

He was over 40 years old. To me that signaled “experienced”. Plus being an amazing kisser, I was so excited to share me body with him.

He handed me a Lifestyles KYNG. Up pops the first warning sign. I thought to myself, “This guy doesn’t need a large size condom.” He was perfectly average. But this wasn’t the right time to bust his misplaced ego. However, the wrong fit could put us at risk of malfunction, so I planned that if the condom seemed too loose I’d simply ask if he had a different stock of rubbers.

But a greater malfunction occurred.

I peeled open the condom. As I rolled it on him, his shaft instantaneously went soft, softer. Limp. “Urgh, I hate condoms!” He exhaled. “I never had to use them in my last relationship. I’m not use to them.”

Guess this 40 year old wasn’t as experienced as I imagined.

My story isn’t rare. I’ve encountered different versions by my friends and peers that, even in clear non-monogamous scenarios, men will complain that condoms dull sex- as if sex is not worth it if it involves a condom! This puts the other person in an incredibly confusing situation. I would go so far to say it’s an act of disrespect for the person’s well-being to complain and try to adverse protection.

Speaking from my own experience, it felt implied that the problem was I wanted to use protection. This guy wasn’t just complaining. There was a real physical disdain against the condom.

An initial wave of pity ran through me- how embarrassed he must feel for this involuntary action- followed by a flash of insecurity in myself.

Feelings of doubt were brief. Doubts in my own sexual worth and worry that this man is now going to feel we can’t have great sex because I insist on condoms. I consciously had to fight these powerless thoughts and remind myself that condoms to me equal hot, worry free sex. It’s hot because it’s a gesture of taking care of each other and of being socially responsible. Intelligence is sexy.

Besides, a man who doesn’t like condoms and obviously doesn’t know how a condom should fit is another warning sign that he likely has had unprotected sex before and might have an STI.

My response: I told him that we can keep trying. And we did, manually. Two condoms later, no improvement in his stamina. So, penetration was out, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying each other in different ways. He was respectful in that way.

Our relationship is left with my offer to help him find the right condom that’s perfect for him. This of course means plenty of trial and exploration ahead. So this may become a tale of a condom hater converted to condom lover. We shall see.

Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own.

 

Unsure what size

condom-monologuesCONDOM MONOLOGUES Affirming safer sex and sexuality one story at a time… Condom Monologues dispel harmful myths about safe sex and sexual stereotypes that permeate our ways of understanding what is “healthy sexuality”. They accomplish this through sex-positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality that affirm the diversity of people- genders, sexualities, kinks and relationships.
Find them on twitter @CondomMonologue

A Guy’s Guide to Condoms

When it comes to the condom, it will always be a friend you can depend on, especially if you use it right.

“When it comes to the condom, it will always be a friend you can depend on, especially if you use it right.”

Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly and consistently. However, most people don’t use it perfectly every time. So the folks at Bedsider have created a fun two and a half minute video made specifically for young men about condoms and condom use.

We think it’s a great video because it focuses on pleasure and reviews facts about condom size (something often overlooked in sex education). And this vidoe skips the fear-based messages entirely. We know that scaring people doesn’t prevent unwanted sexual outcomes. Instead we want to educate folks into doing it safely and enjoyably!

Here is an honest and hilarious guy’s guide to condoms:

  • Condoms are the only contraceptive that protects against both STIs and accidental pregnancy.
  • With correct and consistent use, condoms are 98% effective.
  • Don’t store condoms in your wallet. See how to correctly care for condoms here.
  • Always leave room at the tip of the condom. Pinch it with your fingers to keep air from getting trapped.
  • If you don’t like the condom you used, simply try a different one. Not all condoms are made equal. There is a variety of condom sizes and types. Read this guide to finding the right condom for you.

Note: If you want to skip all the creative condom euphemisms, just skip to 0:45 seconds and get straight to the point.

This video was originally published on Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Guy Nottadadi has a few key points you’ll want to hear about your best bro, the condom (a.k.a. sleave it to beaver, groin cloth, rain jacket, love glove, etc).

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Smaller Package, Better Lover?

david statue

While a larger penis doesn’t imbue a man with greater sexual skill, men can feel great pressure to have an “ideal” body, especially one with an “ideal” (i.e., larger)  penis.  What are the effects of this very narrow notion of ideal penis size? Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, looks at the impact of media’s “bigger-is-better” messaging on men, their partners and the condom industry at large.

This article addresses the impact of media on male body image and addresses the condom industry’s failure to serve men of all sizes.

Here are some main points to take away:

  • Only 55% of men report satisfaction with their penis. Meanwhile 85% of women report satisfaction with their partner’s penis.
  • Only 50% of men worldwide have an “average” size penis and require what is known as an “average” or a “regular” condom.
  • 35% of men require a more tailored or smaller condom, which several companies do not offer.
  • Only 15% of men require larger condoms. However, 85% of marketing attention is given to this category.
  • 85% of the condom-buying population is marginalized.
  • Men whose self-worth is tied to penis size can suffer lower self esteem, while men who are comfortable with their penises report feeling more confident and happy.

The original article was published on the Huffington Post

BY MELISSA WHITE | CEO of LuckyBloke.com

It truly is all about the size of the package — but not in the way that you might think.

It’s time to take a stand: regarding penis size, and what it means to be a sexually desirable man. A large penis doesn’t make a man a great kisser, fill him with sensuality and passion, make his partner feel loved or safe – nor guarantee that he is a remotely competent lover.

It’s often ignored that the largest sex organ we have is our brain. The brain, which it happens, is also bombarded with distorted messaging on what makes a man, a man.

And it starts at an increasingly early age. The way men and their bodies are portrayed in mass media deeply affects their lives.

There are over a million men in the U.S. with serious eating disorders. Perhaps more revealing, is a figure from a recent UK study, which found 1 out of 3 men would sacrifice a year of their life in exchange for their ideal body.

I began speaking to men in my circle, as well as to Lucky Bloke customers, about these findings, and then took it to Facebook:

“Gentlemen, how many years would you be willing to sacrifice, in exchange for your ideal body? How many for your ideal penis?”

The responses given indicated that men’s levels of success, attractiveness, or intelligence, seemed disconnected from whether they were comfortable about their bodies.

One in particular was very clear. “My ideal penis? I think you mean women’s idea of an ideal penis!” And it just so happens he was willing to sacrifice more years than any other participant.

And that’s saying a lot. Most who responded stated they’d sacrifice at least 10 years of their life in exchange for their ideal body — especially if it included their ideal penis.

Wow. Am I alone in preferring the men in my life live an extra 10 years, just the way they are?

Seeking further insight regarding body perceptions, I turned to Elle Chase — aka Lady Cheeky, one of my favorite Sex Educators (and moderator for: Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality at CatalystCon in Los Angeles).

Elle summed it up:

“There’s a pervasive meme out there that men’s bodies need to be hairless or they need to be a certain height and, of course, the old wives’ tale about having to have a big penis to properly satisfy a partner. In reality, it’s our diversity that makes us who we are and comparing ourselves to what we see in magazines is futile. The fact is, we all have to stop beating ourselves up because we don’t meet a perceived ideal. Especially, when it comes to penis size… I’ve always said “it’s not the size of the pencil, it’s how you sign your name. “

Are Elle and I the only women who feel this way?

Not according to a comprehensive study which showed that 85 percent of women are satisfied with their partner’s penis. However, it also revealed that only 55 percent of men find their own size satisfactory.

Women appreciating their lovers is great news.

The bad news is men’s sense of self-worth is sabotaged long before they couple up.

So what exactly are the messages society is sending young boys and men? Mass media narratives insinuate that a man is only popular with the ladies if he’s well hung, and has the stamina of a superhero.

These days, many of the condom conversations I have touch on the topic of penis size. That’s how I know that even smart, sexually active people have yet to learn that condoms come in three basic sizes.

This critical information is rarely a component of Sex Ed. Even more elusive are conversations about what a condom should feel like when it’s on. Not to mention pleasure as a barometer for condom fit. I mean, who would want to have to acknowledge pleasure as part of Sex-Ed? Outrageous!

The facts are simple: when a condom is too small for a man he feels discomfort, loses his erection, and at worst, the condom breaks (clearly, he’d benefit from a larger condom).

If, on the other hand, a condom is too large, it slips and slides, leaks easily, and sooner or later falls off.

A condom that is too big or too small leads the man wearing it to focus on his discomfort. Thus both pleasure and safety are severely compromised (typically for both partners).

Fun fact: Most free condoms distributed promulgate the myth that one size fits all.

However, it’s estimated only 50 percent of men worldwide have an “average” size penis and require what is known as an “average” or standard condom.

A whopping 35 percent of men, globally, require a more tailored or smaller condom, while a larger condom is required for 15 percent of men.

Due to the media obsession with endowment, 85 percent of marketing attention is given to that final 15 percent of the population. As a direct result, a staggering 85 percent of men — the vast and silent majority, are marginalized. They’re essentially being told they shouldn’t exist.

Sadly, many condom manufacturers are complicit in this absurdly lopsided marketing.

Trojan has created explosively popular branding with their Magnum franchise. Yet there is obviously a glaring discrepancy between Magnum’s mass appeal and the fact that, for 85 percent of men, it simply isn’t the right fit.

Perhaps even worse is Trojan failing to offer any small-sized condom option. Many brands have followed suit, ignoring 35 percent of the population entirely. What kind of message is this sending to sexually active men?

Obviously, when a man’s self-image is deeply, even subconsciously, tied to the size of his penis societal influences, including marketplace messaging, can cause serious harm to his self-esteem.

And conversely, it comes as no surprise that men who are comfortable with their penises report feeling generally happier and more confident. Which brings me to my favorite response from that informal body-image survey:

“…Regarding the ‘perfect body’ — I wouldn’t trade any years. I love my body. And, I’m super happy with my penis. I feel blessed there too. Now this is not to say I am by any means perfect in either department, but I do feel really lucky. Yes, keeping very healthy and taking care of myself is probably a big factor resulting in a strong body, but good genes also play a def [sic] part. There’s also [my partner’s] loving adoration. I think feeling good about myself and feeling very loved by my partner — knowing that I turn her on, and knowing how much she ignites the same desires in me, is also a big part.”

I know I would want any man I love to feel this way.

And, perhaps, that’s where we begin. Considering the most relevant questions: When you think of a good lover where does your mind go? What really turns you on?

Wanted: Men Who’d Benefit From a Snug Condom

Photo credit: Chris Beckett

Photo credit: Chris Beckett

Tired of condoms that slip and slide? Lucky Bloke can help!

If you find condoms bought at the local drugstore too loose or baggy and often slip around, you are likely part of the 35% of men who require a smaller condom. This statistic may surprise you, but the fact is only 15% of men need large condoms. Lucky Bloke suspects that mainstream condom companies are reluctant to put the word “small” on packages because customers would hesitate or be embarrassed to purchase them.  Condom marketers know that the male ego plays a powerful role at the checkout stand and in the bedroom due to smaller penis stigma.  As a result, men and women buying condoms aren’t aware of smaller condom options.

This means that many people are wearing the wrong condom size which has serious consequences. Condoms that fit baggy and loose not only debilitate pleasure, but also causes condom malfunction, thus increasing the risk of STI transmission and accidental pregnancy.

Lucky Bloke is putting the spotlight on smaller condoms with the first ever international Small Condom Review to raise awareness about proper condom fit and help you find the best condoms for you.

What Is Project Sure Fit?

This month, Lucky Bloke launches the international Small Condom Review, the first and most comprehensive condom review ever conducted specifically for men requiring a smaller, narrower condom than standard size condoms.

Project Sure Fit – the latest Global Condom Review & Safe Sex Initiative presented by Lucky Bloke invites you to sample offerings from top brands featuring smaller condom size styles such as GLYDE, Caution Wear, Atlas, Sustain, Lifestyles, RFSU, Beyond Seven, and the FC2 (Female) internal condom.

How It Works?

Once you’ve initially applied online and are eligible, you will receive free premium condom samplers to try with the partner of your choice in the comfort and privacy of your home (or wherever you may choose). You will then complete your reviews via easy, completely anonymous online questionnaires.

Participating in this review will be the best thing you’ve done for your sex life.

To date, of the 5600+ reviewers (in 28 countries) who’ve participated in Lucky Bloke’s ongoing global condom reviews: 96% state the review experience greatly improved their relationship with condoms.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who requires smaller condoms! All you need is:

  • the love of great sex and a refusal to compromise on safety,
  • the desire to share your opinions to make future condoms better,
  • the need for a smaller-than-average-condom.

A wide range of opinions are desired, so your participation is wanted regardless of how experienced you are to safer sex and condom use.

You can use Lucky Bloke’s easy condom size chart to determine if you qualify.

Where To Apply?

Condom users can apply online here.  Applicant’s identities will be held in the strictest confidence.

If you or your partner have ever experienced a condom that slips and slides, or feels too baggy, this is a great opportunity for you!

condom ad condoms too loose

 

Condom Love: Find Out How Amazing Safer Sex Can Be…

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You’ve probably been told how to use a condom but have you ever been told how to choose a condom? It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are sizes, shapes, materials, flavors, lubes- oh my!

Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, to the rescue! She explains everything you need to know, from size to shape, from flavor to lube, so that you can find the perfect prophylactic for you!

This article is meant to help you to navigate the condom market, understand the options available to you and ultimately, make the best decision for your body and pleasure.

Here are some main points to take away:

  • Condoms are available in three basic size categories: Smaller condoms fit 35% of men, standard condoms fit 50% of men and larger condoms fit 15% of men.
  • If you’re unsure on size, try Melissa’s sizing tip or test out a sampler.
  • Condom samplers are a great way to try out premium condoms without committing to an entire box.
  • Non-latex condoms are great for those with allergies, though lambskin condoms are not effective against STIs.
  • Study showed that men who used lube with condoms became more aroused.
  • Don’t miss the discount code for Bedsider readers!

Read the full post at Bedsider.

BY MELISSA WHITE | CEO of LuckyBloke.com

1. Condoms aren’t one-size-fits-all.

Little-known fact: condom size is the most critical factor in increasing safety and pleasure with condoms.

Have you ever worn a bra that didn’t fit right? Whether you endured straps digging into your shoulders, relentless underwire stabbings, or cups that bunched up, you understand that an ill-fitting bra is at best distracting and at worst downright painful.

Just like a perfect-fitting bra, a well-fitting condom will take your (and your partner’s) mind off of the condom and onto giving and receiving pleasure.

Condoms are available in three basic sizes.

Smaller condoms are the best option for 35% of men. If you have ever had sex and the condom slipped around or came off inside of you (and yes, that does happen)—or if your partner’s chief complaint is that wearing condoms feels like a paper bag–that partner probably should switch to using a smaller-than-standard condom.

PRO-TIP: If your partner would benefit from a slightly-smaller-than-standard condom yet doesn’t need a true “small condom,” there are a few excellent Japanese condoms that are simply narrower than standard condoms. These include some of the thinnest condoms on the market–so there will be very little getting between you and your partner.

Standard condoms are the best option for 50% of men. If your partner is in this category, you’ll have a wealth of condoms from around the world to choose from. That includes lots of premium options that are likely superior to anything you’ve tried before.

Larger condoms are the best option for 15% of men. If your partner has a history of broken condoms and serious discomfort when it comes to wearing condoms, he has likely been wearing condoms that are too small for him and needs a larger condom. Female condoms are another option worth exploring, especially if your partner finds even larger condoms uncomfortable.

PRO-TIP: It’s good to be aware that there are also a number of between-size condom options available—for example Kimono Microthin Large—that bridge the gap between “standard” and “large” size condoms.

Here’s a trick to determine the best condom size for your partner. If you’re still at a loss regarding your partner’s perfect condom size, or if you have multiple partners or just want to stock up on a variety of sizes, Lucky Bloke has a “Not Sure What Size Condom to Buy” Sampler.

2. Shapes, and materials, and flavors…Oh my!

Getting a general idea on what condom size you need to buy is just the beginning. Just as not every bra in your size is equally comfortable, not all condoms in the same size range will feel the same. And while you may have a go-to bra for when you want comfort and something sexier for a night out, I hear from lots of condom users who switch up shape, texture, and flavor to match their mood.

My best advice (once you’ve determined the best size to use) to those committed to improving their sex with condoms is to get ready to explore a variety of condoms. And I often find that with condoms, as with so many things, you get what you pay for. Nothing against free or low-priced condoms, but high quality condoms are often worth the price. Premium condom samplers provide an inexpensive way to start exploring. (Lucky Bloke’s samplers include top-rated condoms in categories like Ultrathin, Flavored, and Textured.) Not only will you get a great condom variety, you will do so without having to buy entire boxes of twelve identical condoms in order to find the condoms that work best for you and your partner.

Non-latex condoms might be worth investigating even if you’re not allergic to latex. (And naturally we have a condom sampler for that, too) The non-latex options in our sampler* protect from STIs and pregnancy and offer amazing sensitivity, heightened feeling, and heat transfer.

*Note: Lambskin condoms, while in the non-latex category, aren’t included in the samplers since they’re not ideal for everyone. While they do prevent pregnancy, they will not protect you or your partner from contracting HIV or other STIs.

3. Lube Matters. (And how!)

The truth is that most everyone’s sex life can benefit greatly from some high-quality lubrication. However, there are many lube myths that may be keeping it out of your bedroom.

Do you think you need to be a certain age to use lube? You don’t! Are you afraid that using lube might mean that there’s something wrong with your sex life? Really, nothing could be further from the truth!

For condom users, extra lube has some major benefits. Simply put, exposing your most delicate parts to latex will dry you up—no matter how excited you may be. A study that looked at people’s arousal levels with and without condoms found that men who used a condom without lube were slightly less aroused than those who didn’t use a condom or lube. The kicker? The men who used a condom with lube got as aroused as those who didn’t use a condom at all! And provided you are using a high quality, condom-compatible lubricant, your condom is less likely to break during intercourse.

It’s time to declare your days of suffering through mediocre experiences with condoms officially over. Your sex life will thank you. Guaranteed.

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

How To Avoid 6 Common Condom Problems

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

Condom trouble? First, don’t give up. Second, make sure you’re using the right condoms the right way.

Condoms are incredible little devices. They are one of the most effective forms of birth control and the only form of protection against many STIs. With correct and consistent use, condom are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, taking into account common misuses of condoms, researchers estimate that with “typical use” condoms are 85% effective.

In the article below, Bedsider and Melissa White team up to explain what exactly are those common condom mistakes that reduce condom effectiveness. Turns out, much of it has to do with condom size and people wearing the wrong condom.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of condom malfunction. The first step is to be aware of those common mistakes:

  • Condoms breaking? Check the expiry date. Store them properly. Did you leave room at the tip? Are they too small? Are you using lube?
  • Condom leaking? Are you pulling out and removing the condom promptly after ejaculation? Is the condom too big?
  • Condom slipped off inside you or your partner? It’s probably the wrong size condom.
  • Lost the erection? Sounds like you need a more tailored condom. Or you might need to add some sexy tips to your condom repertoire.
  • Itchy and irritated? You may be sensitive to latex.
  • And please, never use anything (like a plastic bag) to substitute a certified condom.

This article was originally published here.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

We’ve all been there. Things are heating up and you both know exactly what you want to happen next. One of you whispers those five crucial words: “Do you have a condom?” and the other produces one (or, better still, several) triumphantly. You’re happily getting it on when you realize the condom tore or slipped off…

Condoms are easy, cheap, and offer protection against STIs and accidental pregnancy. Here’s the thing—they only work if you use them the right way. To help you do that, we’ve teamed up with Melissa White, CEO and founder of Lucky Bloke, to tell you how to avoid the six most common condom problems.

1. Help—the condom broke!

The good news is there are many ways to reduce the chance of a condom breaking. If you find yourself dealing with a broken condom situation, here’s what to do.

What now? If you realize right away (before anyone has gotten close to climaxing) that the condom broke, you can throw out the broken condom and try another one. Before you start again though you should make sure there isn’t something wrong with your condoms. Are the packages intact? Are your condoms expired? Were they exposed to extreme heat or cold? If not, you can use a new condom and just watch out for breakage.

If there’s a possibility of preejaculate or ejaculate, the safest thing to do is take emergency contraception (EC). You can take EC up to five days after you have unprotected sex but most kinds work better the sooner you take them. Here’s how to get some. You may also want to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you’re not sure of your partner’s status. (And remember, you definitely can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking!)

So it doesn’t happen again: Condoms can work very well when you use them right. If you’ve had a condom break, here are a few things to check to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Size. When someone repeatedly has experiences with condoms breaking, it may mean the condom is too small. This doesn’t always mean a guy requires a large condom, though. A different kind of standard (or medium) size may work.
  • Lube. Using lube can make using a condom a lot more pleasurable. Pro-tip—apply a small amount of lube to the penis before applying the condom. (If you are using the proper size condom, this should not cause the condom to slip.) Use a generous application of lube to the outside.
  • Packaging. It’s important to make sure you’re opening the condom package carefully. We know you may be tempted to rip it open or use your teeth to get things going asap, but opening the package the wrong way can tear the condom.
  • Putting it on. To make sure you put the condom on correctly, be sure to pinch the tip while rolling it on. It’s important to leave room room for the finale!

2. Uh oh…looks like the condom leaked.

If you notice semen anywhere outside the condom during sex or after, it’s time to take extra steps to make sure you don’t get pregnant.

What now? Again, taking EC as soon as possible is the best way to reduce your risk of accidental pregnancy. Getting tested for STIs is a good idea if you don’t know your partner’s status.

So it doesn’t happen again: If a condom is leaking from the base it’s probably too big. This happens more often than one might think, as 35% of men require a smaller than standard condoms. Smaller condoms are rarely available at your local store but you can get them through websites like Lucky Bloke, Condomania, and Condom Jungle. By simply switching to a condom that fits properly you will avoid this situation in the future. If you’re using a standard condom, try small. If you’re using a large condom, try standard.

If the condom is leaking from the top or the middle, it could have a tear—see the section above on broken condoms.

3. The condom fell off…and got stuck!

This one can be scary, especially if you have trouble finding and retrieving the condom. Don’t panic.

What now? If the condom falls off, once again it’s time to take EC and go for STI testing. If it gets stuck inside you or your partner, here’s Cosmo’s advice: “lie back, relax, and insert one or two fingers inside of you and try to pull it out”. Don’t panic if you have trouble getting the condom out—hopefully it will come out on its own after a bit. If it doesn’t, head to your health care provider to remove it.

So it doesn’t happen again: This is another situation where the condom is probably too big—try a smaller size.

4. The condom doesn’t feel good and he can’t get hard.

If a condom is too tight or uncomfortable, he can lose his erection. It’s not you, it’s the condom, so don’t feel embarrassed—you can still save the night!

What now? There’s always the classic midnight condom run to get a different kind of condom, but if that’s not an option, opt for a cuddle and a movie and next time you hang out, come prepared.

So it doesn’t happen again: Again, it’s all about the fit. Even if a condom is not too tight, sometimes the fit is just uncomfortable. A good way to avoid this is to try out different kinds of condoms. (We like the sound of that!) Lucky Bloke has a “Not Sure What Size to Buy” condom sampler if you think size could be the issue. They also offer lots of other samplers if you just want to explore your options. You can also get variety packs through a bunch of other online retailers like Amazon, Condom Jungle, Sustain, and Condomania.

5. I think we’re allergic to condoms…

If you’re getting down and dirty and one of you starts getting itchy and irritated, it may be an allergic reaction to the condom you’re using.

What now? Give it a rest for the time-being and ditch the condom you’re using—no one wants to feel irritated! Go see your health care provider to find out what’s going on down there.

So it doesn’t happen again: If you’re allergic to latex, there are some great alternatives out there that protect from STIs and pregnancy and offer amazing sensitivity, heightened feeling, and heat transfer. Note that lambskin condoms, while in the non-latex category, are not ideal for everyone since they protect against pregnancy but not against STIs like HIV. Other non-latex condoms provide dual protection from pregnancy and STIs.

6. But won’t this cling wrap do the same thing?

Everybody knows someone who knows someone who used a plastic bag that one time. This is not a good idea. It seems like a no-brainer, but if you are turned on and can’t find a condom anywhere, cling wrap starts to sound more appealing. If you find yourself facing a spontaneous decision about whether to use anything for a condom other than a real condom, here’s what to do.

What now: Stop right there. Any material other than an actual condom will not work to prevent pregnancy and protect you from STIs. Go on a spontaneous condom run—you’d be surprised where you can find condoms!

So it doesn’t happen again: Your best bet for preventing this problem in the future is to carry condoms with you. They’re easy to tuck away into pockets and purses and it’s sexy to be prepared. Just make sure you don’t keep them too long in a pocket or purse or expose them to extreme temperatures.

What we’ve learned…

Most of these mishaps could be avoided by using the proper size condom. If your partner needs a snugger-fit condom, you might feel uncomfortable about approaching the subject. “I’d always suggest focusing on the pleasure aspect—you both will benefit.” says Melissa. “If you are using a condom that fits, your focus will be on each other and not on the condom.”

If you are having condom woes, a better fit condom—or a higher-quality condom—is going to be the solution in most cases. And if you’re looking to explore your condom options, Lucky Bloke is offering a 25% discount for all their products with the coupon code BEDSIDER.

Unsure what size

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Condoms Breaking? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

#93 - The Accident

Photo credit: John O’Nolen

National Condom Week 2015 is here! From Feb. 14th to Feb. 21st, we are celebrating by providing a new article every day by prominent sexual health advocates focused on condom use and education.

Here is Heather Corinna, sex educator and founder of Scarleteen, discussing the common reasons why condoms break. The truth is that condom malfunction is very rare. So if you are experiencing a series of rips and slips, it’s more likely the error is caused by you and your partner, not the condom.

Here are the main culprits of condom breakage. Read more below for a comprehensive guide. 

  • An expired condom.
  • A damaged condom due to improper storage (e.g., in your wallet).
  • Not leaving enough room at the tip of the condom.
  • Not enough lubrication.
  • Using more than one condom at the same time.
  • Not removing or changing the condom after ejaculation.
  • Tearing the condom with teeth when opening the package or during oral sex.
  • Using the wrong size condom.

BY HEATHER CORINNA | Scarleteen

As we’ve explained in the past, like here, with proper use, condoms actually break very rarely. The common mythology that condoms are flimsy and break all the time is just that: mythology, not reality. Different studies on latex condom breakage tend to reflect a breakage rate of around .4%, or only 4 breaks in every 1,000 uses. So, if you’re having condoms break often, especially before you’ve even used them a few hundred times, it’s not likely something is wrong with condoms, but that something is wrong with the way you’re using them. That’s not surprising, since a lot of people don’t get good information about how to use condoms correctly, or ever see clear, slow demonstrations of proper use where they also get the chance to ask questions.

Since we’ve been having some users lately reporting patterns of breakage, we thought we’d take a few minutes to walk you through a review of some common issues that tend to make breakage more likely, so that those of you using condoms can avoid breaks and have them provide you the high level of effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and STIs you are using them for.

Have you checked the expiration date? Condoms past their expiry date are much more likely to break, because the latex can start to break down. If they’re past the expiry date, they also may have been shuffled around for a long time. The expiry date put on a condom — which you can always find right on the package of every individual condom — is usually for around five years after it’s been manufactured, so you’ve got a pretty good time window. Our advice? Make sure a condom is not only within its expiry date, but around six months ahead of it, the time when a lot of condom resellers dump a batch instead of continuing to sell them. Don’t use condoms past their expiry dates: toss them out and get yourself new ones.

Are you or your partners storing them properly? Sometimes people carry around what we’ll call the “wishful thinking” condom. That one condom they keep in their wallet from the dawn of time, thinking if they have that one condom, they’ll be more likely to have an opportunity for sex. Or maybe you just think that will assure you’ll never be without a condom when you need one, which would be great if the condom you had had been stored properly.

Condoms need to be stored somewhere that doesn’t get too hot or cold, where they’re not directly exposed to sun or fluorescent light, and where they don’t get bumped around a lot. Back pockets, wallets, the bottom of a purse or inside a car dashboard compartment are not sound places to store condoms. If you want to carry a condom or two around with you, find something you can put them in that protects them, like a pencil case, or in the box they came in if you bought a whole box. There are also cases made expressly for storing condoms, and sometimes when you buy condoms, you might find some already specially packaged in a storage case.

Condom storage is also something to think about before you even have the condom yourself. Some places that sell or dispense condoms don’t store them properly, potentially screwing them up before you even get them. That’s why machines that dispense them aren’t such a great place to get them, nor are places like gas stations, which often keep them near the front windows, where it can get hot or sunny. When purchasing condoms, look for them to be in a spot where temperatures are moderate and they’re not in direct sunlight. You also want to avoid hand-me-down condoms, too, however well-intentioned the person who gave them to you may be. Who knows how that person stored them.

Leaving room in the tip? You don’t put condoms on like you put on a sock or stocking, where you pull them all the way on so that they’re snug at the tip. Instead, we need to leave a little bit of room — around a half inch or so, or the width of two fingers, if that’s easier — at the tip for ejaculate and so the condom can move around a little bit. That makes them feel more comfortable, too.

Using enough lubricant? Plenty of condoms come pre-lubricated, but that’s only a smidgen of lube. More times than not, especially for intercourse that goes on for a while — and more so with anal intercourse than vaginal, since the anus doesn’t produce its own lubricant — you’ll need some extra lube right from the start, or to add lube during sex. Even with vaginal intercourse, while the vagina often produces its own lubrication when the person with the vagina is aroused, lube is often still needed. It’s pretty common for younger people to feel nervous or have issues with arousal, so not being as lubed up on your own as you might be otherwise is typical. Too, if you’re using a hormonal birth control method like the pill, one common side effect is a drier vagina. While we don’t endorse mixing sex with drugs or booze, being wasted also tends to impact lubrication, especially with alcohol. By all means, drinking impairs our judgment no matter what, making it a lot harder to use condoms at all, let alone properly, but it also often inhibits parts of the sexual response cycle. Whatever the reason, chances are awfully good that you need more lube than a condom itself offers. Plus, putting a drop or two of lube inside the condom, as well as more liberally on the outside, makes condoms feel a lot better, too.

Feeling funny about using lube? Don’t, seriously. People have used lubricants for as far back as we know, and if you ask us, beautifully engineered, clean lube in a bottle or tube is a serious improvement over animal guts or blubber, something we know people way back in the day used as lube. The idea that a body creating enough lubricant on its own gives a person some kind of sexual status, and that not being lubed up enough on your own means something is terribly wrong, are both really problematic ideas. Lube makes things feel better most of the time, and it helps condoms be more effective. We can probably agree that there’s no status in sex feeling less than as good as it can, or in a condom failure.

Remember, what you use as lube with latex condoms matters a lot. When buying lube, look for the tube bottle or packet to make clear a lube can be used with condoms. Oil-based lubes or oils, lotions or vaseline are NOT okay to use with latex condoms.

One condom per customer. If you have the idea that two condoms at a time are better than one, ditch it, and fast. That only increases friction, which increases the possibility of breakage. Only use one condom at a time.

Same goes for thinking thinner condoms will be more likely to break: that’s not true. Thinner condoms often feel better and are just as effective as thicker ones.

 

Does the condom fit? Condoms really aren’t one size fits all. Sure, most brands will fit a lot of people just fine. But some brands or styles don’t work for plenty of folks. So, if a condom is really tough to get on or off, hard to roll down, won’t roll down all the way, or feels uncomfortable, try out some different sizes or brands. If we have to struggle with condoms, we’re more likely to put them on wrong or just ditch them altogether. And with so many options in condoms, there’s no reason anyone should have to use a size or style that doesn’t work for them. The right condom usually feels great and works just as well. Even if you’re getting condoms for free from a clinic or school, you’ll often have more than one option, so snag a few different ones when you can.

Carrying condoms when you’re not the one wearing them? If so, see if you can buy variety packs, so you have more than one style or size around in case another just doesn’t work out. Most condom manufacturers sell combination boxes of a couple different styles or fits, sold right where you can get boxes of only one style or size. If you feel funny about having a variety and worry about judgment from a partner, remember that what you’re doing is having an assortment so they’re most likely to have a condom that feels good for them. Every partner is going to appreciate that.

Unsure what size

Are you or your partner hanging around after ejaculation or starting intercourse again without changing condoms? Male condoms are manufactured and designed for a single use: in other words, for only one session of intercourse or one ejaculation. After ejaculation happens, it’s really important the person wearing the condom withdraws pretty immediately. If you want to continue that sexual activity or start again, you need to put on a new condom.

Breaking during oral sex use? That’s even more unusual than breaks during intercourse, but if it’s happening, we’ve got one word for you: teeth. You’ve got’em, and they’re sharper than you think (just ask your lunch). If condoms are breaking during oral sex, and they were put on properly, stored properly, and are within the expiry date, teeth are probably the issue here. Remember that during oral sex, you’ve got to watch those little sharpies, both for a partner’s comfort, but also when using condoms.

While we’re talking about teeth, don’t forget that they’re not what you want to use to open a condom. That can easily rip or tear the condom. You want to use your hands to open a condom, not your mouth.

Practice makes perfect. So does patience. If you’re racing around in a big hurry to put a condom on, it’s a lot easier to make mistakes. And when everyone is turned on, they can be a lot tougher to notice. So, if you aren’t already an expert with putting condoms on — whether you’re the person who wears them or not — practice. If you are the person wearing them, practice during masturbation, where you don’t have the pressures we can all feel when there’s a partner there. If you aren’t the person wearing them, get some condoms and find something suitable to practice on: the age-old banana is always an option, and one of our users today said she practiced using a deodorant can.

Remember that it’s ideal for everyone involved with condom use to know the right way to use them and how to put them on. Not only can putting them on for a partner make condoms feel like part of sexual activity, rather than an interruption, we all have different levels of experience and skill with condoms, as well as different levels of condom education. So, if both people know how, and one person is doing something wrong, rather than finding out the hard way, the other person can easily make a correction so condoms work as well as you want them to, every time.

Don’t forget about the female condom! If no matter what you do, male condoms (and we know, this female/male language doesn’t make a lot of sense, and certainly isn’t very inclusive, but it’s what they’re called right now) don’t seem to work out for you, try a female condom to see if that works better. Female condoms are non-latex, and far roomier at the base and through the shaft than male condoms are, and they can also be inserted well in advance of intercourse to help you avoid game-time fumbles. As well, if you or a partner prefer not to withdraw soon after intercourse, that’s okay with female condoms in a way it isn’t with male condoms, which are more likely to break or slip off when withdrawal doesn’t happen soon, or if intercourse is something you continue after ejaculation. Female condoms can be a bit tougher to find, so if you want to try them and are having a hard time finding them, check in with your local sexual health or family planning clinic.

Have questions or want someone to walk you through all the steps of proper condom use so you can be sure you’re doing it right? We’ve got your back: come on over to the message boards, or use our text service. We’re happy to talk with you one-on-one.

P.S. We just got a helpful addition to this list from Scarleteen reader and peer sex educator Katarina Albrecht. She said, “Another important point: Do NOT poke your finger carelessly into the tip to correct the direction for rolling them off! We teach people to blow into the tip to change the direction or be reeeally careful with their nails. We’ve been seeing so. many. girls (and boys) do this with their long, sharp, nicely manicured fingernails.” Thanks, Katarina!

heatherHEATHER CORINNA is an activist, artist, author and the director of Scarleteen, the inclusive online resource for teen and young adult sex education and information. She is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and was a contributor to the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She’s received the The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism (2007), The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region’s, Public Service Award (2009), the Our Bodies, Ourselves’ Women’s Health Heroes Award (2009), The Joan Helmich Educator of the Year Award (2012), and The Woodhull Foundation’s Vicki Award(2013).

scarleteenSCARLETEEN is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through the majority of its tenure.
Find Scarleteen on twitter @Scarleteen

Teaching Teens About Condom Size

measuring tapeNational Condom Week 2015 is here!  From Feb. 14th to Feb. 21st, we are celebrating by providing a new article every day about condom use and education, written by prominent sexual health advocates.

Today is a short and pithy piece by sex educator Melanie Davis. She argues that it is important to teach our teens about condom size and fit sooner rather than later. All too often that first experience is with the wrong size condom leaving many young people frustrated and quickly conclude that condoms either don’t feel good or simply are not made in their size.

We can overcome the myth that condoms are one-size-fits-all by informing young people about the variety of sizes, shapes and types of condoms available. Also, explaining how to gauge one’s condom size and encouraging experimentation with sample packs is important. This should be part of basic sex education, argues Melanie.

 This article was originally published here

BY MELANIE DAVIS, PhD | MelanieDavisPhD.com

Kudos to you, if you’ve talked to your teens (of any gender) about using condoms during oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse. I’d like to encourage you to take another step that may be more awkward but is just as important: Talk about condom sizes and shapes.

Condoms can enhance sexual enjoyment or limit it, and getting the right fit can affect whether people will use condoms consistently. Penises come in many sizes, and condoms that are too short or too long can, respectively, slip off or create an uncomfortably tight roll at the base of the penis. Pleasure is another factor, as some new condom shapes allow more movement within the condom, which increases a natural feel — especially when a small amount of lubricant is dripped into the condom prior to it being placed on the erect penis. Some partners enjoy different sensations from textured condoms.

Dr. Paul Joannides, author of “The Guide to Getting It On,” posted a terrific video that explains the whys and wherefores of new condom shapes and sizes (however, this video is no longer available online). But I encourage you and your teen to read his book.

I recently spoke to a parent who encouraged his 13-year-old to keep condoms in his backpack at all times — even though he wasn’t yet sexually active. The dad’s rationale? It takes a long time to build up a habit, and he wants his son to be comfortable carrying condoms by the time he needs them. He also bought condoms in bulk and, when his son asked to practice with them, encouraged his son to use them during masturbation. This is a clever idea because it will link sexual pleasure to a potentially life-saving practice of consistent condom use.

Unsure what size

melanie_davisMELANIE DAVIS, PHD, consults with individuals and couples to help them build sexual knowledge, comfort, and pleasure through the New Jersey Center for Sexual Wellness. Through her firm Honest Exchange LLC, she provides professional development in sexuality. She’s a popular speaker on self-esteem and body image, and the sexual impact of cancer, menopause and aging. She’s an AASECT-Certified Sexuality Educator. On Twitter @DrMelanieDavis

Reacquainting With Condoms After 11 Years On The Pill

Switching to condoms as one’s only birth control at 30 years old can be a dramatic shift in mindset from the comfort of quick-fix Pills to latexy shopping adventures with a partner. Here, Rose Crompton from the Condom Monologues collective shares her dramatic contraceptive story that spans over a decade, told in 1000 words.

Here are some things she’s learned along the way:

  • Throughout life, every person should take the time to reflect and re-evaluate their contraceptive choices as their body changes.
  • There is important knowledge about condoms that’s not taught in sex education, such as the importance of fitting and experimenting with different brands and types. There are condom sampler packs to guide your discovery of the best condoms for you and your partner(s).
  • If there is an opportunity to shop for condoms with your partner then you should. It can be like an extension of foreplay!
  • Shopping online provides way better selection and price.

This piece is originally published here.

BY ROSE CROMPTOM at CONDOM MONOLOGUES | CondomMonologues.com

“Which ones should we get?” I asked my boyfriend. Well, he’s a man and he’s the one that has to wear them, so naturally I assumed he’d know best. “I dunno,” was the mumbled response. I’d not been “hat” shopping in over a decade. For nearly 11 years I was on the Pill and in three monogamous relationships, for the majority of that time, so ‘safe’ meant not getting pregnant.

Standing there, facing a wall of johnnies, there were three main changes I noticed: the packaging of condoms 11 years on was nicer, there were brands other than Durex available, and the price was higher. No wonder the supermarket kept them in security boxes. Ten quid ($16) for 10 condoms, so a pound a fuck essentially, and me and my boyfriend fuck a lot. Giving up the Pill was apparently going to cost me in more ways than I expected!

That said, coming off the pill four months ago was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’d like to state that this was what was right for me, not what every woman should do, although I do think every woman should take the time to stop and re-evaluate their contraceptive method as their body changes.

The biggest question I’ve faced since is what contraception should my partner and I use instead?

Long term, that’s still a frustrating debate I’m having with myself, my partner and sexual health advisers. For now though, my chap and I are only using condoms and that is how I found myself: Standing in Tesco adding ‘condoms’ to our weekly, big shop shopping list.

Just call me Goldilocks

After much deliberation we went for the clichéd ribs and dots for her pleasure style. You have to start somewhere. They were good, but not quite right. If we’re being honest (and I think we can be here) too much dotting and ribbing can lead to chaffing.

Thankfully, there’s more to safe sex-life than that one style and so the hunt began online to try something new. Scouring the sites we found a ridiculous number of options. Without wanting to sound too Disney about it, there was a whole new world opening up before my eyes. Previously my experience of condoms had been whatever was free and easy to grab from the GP or sexual health clinic as they were only ever used briefly when there was a Pill glitch.FlyingCarpetCondomsAnim

Now though, scouring the various sex e-tailers, there was this whole exotic, rubbery, latex fantasticness that had the potential to be a lot of fun. Maybe shopping for condoms would be a great, new, sexy part to our foreplay?

We came across an American brand called One and they had an interesting pack called Tantric with tattoo style patterns and extra lubrication. Oh, they sound fancy and you can never have too much lube, so we ordered some.

It wasn’t long before the boyfriend and I found ourselves back online, looking for something different the next time. We “um-ed” and “ah-ed” over the various boxes, brands, descriptions, shapes and textures for nearly as long as we’d spend trying to pick a nice bottle of wine to go with dinner.

Obviously, sex is a shared experience and if there is the opportunity to choose together, then you should. Like with any aspect of sex you should both get enjoyment out of what you’re using. There aren’t very many things that we put on our bodies that are as intimate as condoms. It’s going on his most sensitive area and in hers, so when it comes to condom shopping it’s important to find some rubbers that you’re both gonna’ love. Generally, that means experimenting.

Getting comfy with condoms

Through shopping around, I’ve learnt more about condoms in the last four months than I ever learnt at school, or was bothered to listen to after that, because they just weren’t relevant to my life. It’s a bad attitude to have, I know. It’s shocking how the “fit and forget” or pill-popping culture we have today means it’s easy to overlook the humble condom. Especially when you’re in a relationship that uses one of the aforementioned methods.

It’s been a re-education: I’m aware now about the importance of fit and how that effects sensation and minimises the risk of breakage, the safest way to take them off to avoid any ‘accidents’ and I’ll admit that I’m still perfecting my roll on method (anything billed as ultra thin is definitely the trickiest).

The biggest adjustment (and I don’t reckon I’m the only woman who’s come off the Pill to feel this) is becoming confident with the idea that condoms can keep me safe. Not from STDs as that’s not an issue in my relationship, but of pregnancy. A lot of people my age and a bit older seem keen to use Fertility Awareness Methods and the pull-out method, but for many of them pregnancy wouldn’t be so much of a disaster. For me and my boyfriend, it certainly would be.

Making the move from the pill to condoms is scary. Anything you get fitted, implanted or swallow every morning has a success rate of approximately 99 percent. Sure, there are some side effects, but you’re willing to put up with them because it’s a shared ideology that now we have these methods, why bother with condoms that have a slightly lower success rate at all if your aim is to not get pregnant?

Living with that mentality for over a decade, then changing what you use and your body changes too, is a lot to get your head around, but it is doable. On the plus side, not only has it led me to take another look at the whole contraceptive menu – not just what the GP would prefer me to use – but it’s made me and my partner look again at correct condom use and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for any couple to do that no matter how long they’ve been together.

This monologue was written by Rose Crompton (@RoseC_Liec). Monologues are independent stories. The opinions shared are the author’s own. Go here for more monologues.

 

condom-monologuesCONDOM MONOLOGUES Affirming safer sex and sexuality one story at a time… Condom Monologues dispel harmful myths about safe sex and sexual stereotypes that permeate our ways of understanding what is “healthy sexuality”. They accomplish this through sex-positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality that affirm the diversity of people- genders, sexualities, kinks and relationships.
Find them on twitter @CondomMonologue. Share your story

Study Finds Men Who Use Condoms Can Still Enjoy Sex

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Studies in the past have falsely argued that male sexual health and condom use are incompatible.

Researchers from the Section of Adolescent Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion noticed that these studies simply compared “pleasure” reported by test subjects with and without condoms with no consideration for the other circumstances of their sexual encounters.  They proposed a different kind of study. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health takes a look at their results.

Here are the important findings from the Indiana University study:

  • Earlier studies ignored other behaviors involved when using condoms— what sex acts men engage in, how they feel about the sex they have, their demographic characteristics, etc.
  • A number of factors in the span of a sexual event shape whether or not the experience itself is pleasurable.
  • Lower levels of sexual pleasure were associated with erection difficulty, perception of partner discomfort during sex and perception of penis width and hardness.
  • One limitation of the study is that it does not allow for any comparison between the beliefs, behaviors or reported pleasure levels between men who do and do not use condoms.

This original article is published on The CSPH website.

BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org

Researchers from the Section of Adolescent Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University noticed that there was a void in the current sexual health literature on condom usage with regards to sexual pleasure. In general, studies tend to just compare the pleasure reported by men who either do or do not use condoms, and often wind up with results claiming that condom usage is not compatible with male sexual enjoyment. However, these studies ignore the other components of sexual pleasure or the various other characteristics and behaviors of men who use condoms, such as what sex acts they engage in, how they feel about the sex that they have, or their demographic characteristics. To combat this deficiency in data, the investigators of this study proposed this research to examine the association between condom use and sexual pleasure when all participants use condoms consistently, correctly, and completely, allowing for an understanding of the range of factors that affect sexual pleasure and enjoyment.

Participants were enrolled as a subsample of heterosexual-identified men from a larger US-based study of event-level condom behavior (a phrase used to indicate condom usage for one act of intercourse), with representatives from all fifty states. Of the 1,599 participants, 83% were white; about half had received some college or technical education; about a quarter were married, with 30% partnered and 41% single; and the average age was 26 years old. Diary reports of sexual behaviors and condom use were requested of participants, and then “complete condom events,” where the condom was applied prior to intercourse, used for the duration of intercourse, and removed only after intercourse had ended, were analyzed according to measures of subjective rating of sexual pleasure and a number of predictor variables. Some of the important considered variables included: partner type (casual/main); sexual-situational factors like intercourse duration, intensity, and lubricant use; physiological factors including perceived penis width, length, and hardness; ejaculation; and perception of condom comfort.

A number of factors were found to be correlated with higher reports of sexual pleasure during complete condom use. Ejaculation had the strongest association, with a four-fold increase in reported sexual pleasure. Other strong correlations with sexual pleasure included higher intercourse intensity (41%), longer intercourse duration (40%), performing oral sex on a partner (34%), receiving oral sex from a partner (21%), and receiving genital stimulation (13%), as well as a modest increased association with older age (4%). Additionally, lower levels of sexual pleasure were strongly associated with erection difficulty (75% reduction) and perception of partner discomfort during sex (72% reduction), while perception of lower penis width and hardness were also linked to lower sexual pleasure.

The results of this study indicate that sexual pleasure is not simply something that cannot coexist with condom usage; instead, it is a fact that can still be very much a part of these men’s sexual encounters. As the authors of the study address in their discussion, what this data shows is that there are a number of factors in the span of a sexual event—how a man feels about his genitals, how his partner reacts, what acts other than vaginal penetration occur—that shape whether or not the experience itself is pleasurable. It is important not to permit or perpetuate the stereotype that just removing the condoms would make intercourse better. Rather, the authors of this study believe there are better solutions to decrease the negative factors linked with lower sexual pleasure, such as visiting a doctor to take care of erectile difficulties or ensuring that one’s partner is equally comfortable and pleased with the sex.

Unfortunately, this study was somewhat limited, in that by only focusing on condom use, it does not allow for any comparison between the beliefs, behaviors, or reported pleasure levels between men who do and do not use condoms. Additionally, heterosexual men are not the only individuals who could benefit from research into the pleasurable associations of safer sex. However, work like this is so important because it not only advances the importance of pleasure and safer sex, but it also shows how the two can work together. Safer sex devices like condoms are so clearly important in limiting potentially negative consequences like pregnancy and STIs, and knowing how to make such things sexy and fun—really, one of the majors draws of any sex play—is key in making sure people are willing to do what they need to do in order to keep themselves safe and healthy.

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.