Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Condoms - fit matters!

A new study published in the journal, Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that a high percentage of men (44.7%) studied reported "ill fitting condoms". All of these folks were in opposite sex relationships.

These same men reported much higher levels of condom dissatisfaction including breakage and difficulty achieving orgasm. A decent chunk of these folks ended up giving up on the condom and went ahead and had vaginal intercourse condom free, with all of the risks associated with unprotected vaginal/penis intercourse.

Which leads me to this.

In public health, we're trained to show folks that condoms can fit on our heads (and they do). I've told jokes about the silliness of a "large" condom. I've told many people that if someone is saying that a condom doesn't fit he's just looking for an excuse to not use a condom.

I was wrong.

The truth is, like any body part, penises come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, with delightfully individual curves and tapers. No one condom is going to be comfortable on everyone. And if it's not comfortable, it's not going to get used.

Frankly, that makes perfect sense. We have sex to enjoy pleasure (among a myriad of other things). The condom should be a part of that, not an uncomfortable distraction.

There is a condom out there for everyone.

How do you find it? Well, first of all, if you like to be sexual with people who put condoms on their body parts ask them what condom they prefer. Don't assume that they'll be happy with the brand that someone else likes. If you have a permanently attached penis of your own, experiment! There are literally hundreds of different kinds of condoms out there. Try different brands, shapes and sizes. Try them when you're jacking off so you're prepared later. Don't worry about what size it says on the box. A "small" condom may be the perfect fit for you. Don't worry, it's not actually small, I promise I can still put it on my head.

Please stay away from condoms with spermicides, they actually increase the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Think about it. Spermicide kills sperm, and sperm are hard to kill, and then you're rubbing that material all of delicate mucus membranes. It causes micro tears and discomfort.

Try condoms that have funky shapes and pouches. Or are latex free. Don't use those lamb skin things unless you and your partner are fluid bonded (lamb skin can prevent pregnancy, but not disease).

Try putting a smidge of water based or silicone lube on the inside.

If your partner tells you that they don't want to use a condom because it's uncomfortable. Listen. They're probably telling the truth. And then find a condom that works for both of you. Because sex is so much hotter when you're protected. And when the condom fits.

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