Let’s face it, condoms have a reputation for killing good sex. Yet, many people, including monogamous couples, still choose to use them. According to the largest sexual health study in 20 years conducted by Indiana University in 2010, 1 in 4 acts of vaginal intercourse, and 1 in 3 among singles, are condom protected. These numbers are even higher for casual encounters. Why are they so popular? Because they are an excellent method of birth control and the best method out there to protect against STDs (sometimes called STIs for sexually transmitted infections).
We have come a long way since the tire magnate, Charles Goodyear, patented the first rubber condom in 1844. Centuries before that, your choices would have been condoms made of fish skin, leather, silk, linen, and animal intestines. But now with so many people choosing condoms for safer sex (it’s not referred to as “safe sex” as it is not completely “safe” with no risk), condom companies invest billions of dollars to successfully design better condoms that lead to a better sexual experience. Those same companies are jumping on the lube wagon too, joining others in designing lube better, safer, and with more sensations.
Condoms are Easy to Get
These are all readily available. I went to my local drugstore and counted 28 different kinds of condoms on the shelves and 11 different kinds of lube. Better yet at the local Walmart, they had 48 different kinds of condoms and 21 kinds of lube! It was like a rainbow of colors, textures, and scents. I saw thinner, larger, ribbed, studded, vibrating, red, green, cherry flavored, tingling, warming, and on and on. And let’s not forget about female condoms, which can give women more control over their own sexual health. Made of polyurethane instead of latex, they are a smart choice for those with a latex allergy.
Do different condoms and lubricants really make a difference in sensitivity? Yes, they do. According to Indiana University’s sex study, there was little difference in sexual arousal, orgasm, and pleasure between people who used condoms and those who did not. Researchers attributed this to better fitting, thinner, and textured condoms and good lubrication.
So, if you already use condoms and like them, share your outlook with others. If you are unhappy with condoms or what to give them another try, open yourself up to experimentation with all the different choices. Not only can you find the ones that are enjoyable for you and your partner, but they can lead to many interesting sexual experiences too.
If you find yourself wanting to use condoms, either with a new partner or in an established relationship, negotiating this can sometimes be tricky. It is always best to discuss this beforehand and not at the moment you need them when you and your partner’s blood flow is below the belt instead of to your head. Your partner may be in total agreement or may question your intentions and wonder if you are hiding an STD/STI or assuming they have one.
There may be a trust issue with monogamy. Or maybe your partner doesn’t want to use them simply because of decreased sensation. At this point, you can cite the Indiana University study. That should stop that excuse dead in its tracks or kill the mood. Either way, it’s being addressed.
Whether any of these are true or not you have the right to request your partner wear a condom, and the right to walk out if they won’t. And many will agree when I say hitting the sexway is better than hitting the highway anytime.
What else might you need?
- Check out this video showing the exact steps of using a male condom by the University of California Santa Barbara’s Department of Health and Wellness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRUIoelzlPs
- For more information about condom effectiveness, go to http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/docs/condomfactsheetinbrief.pdf
- And steps to using a female condom from National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRZH5ASO-eM
- 2010 study by Indiana University Center for Sexual Health Promotionhttp://www.nationalsexstudy.indiana.edu/