You don’t need to have the misfortune of being raised in an abstinence-only state to get fed a lot of mythologies about condoms. Kids can hear all kinds of sex ed fictions from their peers that unfortunately don’t get rectified in the classroom — or anywhere else. But the old one about sex with condoms limiting physical pleasure, one even I hear as an adult woman from other adults, is apparently just an amplified schoolyard myth.
TODAY Health reports that Debby Herbenick, a sex researcher at Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, reviewed some data from 2009 to create a “representative sampling of the United States.” She and colleagues “teased out information” from 1,645 men and women ages 18 to 59 who had recently had sex. They came across the following:
…the fascinating finding was that the reports of sexual arousal, ease of erection, overall pleasure and orgasm weren’t much different in those folks than in people who went bareback.
In other words, people liked sex just fine with or without condoms.
However, the study was financed by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., the company that makes the widely known Trojan condoms. In response to that detail, the head researcher maintains that there was no funny business going on:
But Herbenick insisted that “the data is the data” and that the company did not influence the research in any way. “We are free to publish anything we want,” she said.
Yet, there was one detail, in addition to sex with condoms being hot, that could stand to work its way into our sex education. Lubricant 101:
..men who didn’t use condoms or lubricant had significantly higher arousal ratings than men who used condoms without lubricant, Herbenick said.
But the group that used no condom and no lubricant had about the same arousal level as men who used a condom with a lubricant and men who used a lubricant without a condom. Got that?
Brian Alexander, NBC News Contributor, writes that this blind spot, “illustrates a need for better communication about sexual preferences, in part to make safe sex more desirable.” According to Herbenick, we tend to not be too chatty about the “types of products” we use in our sex life. And that allows tendencies like these to flourish:
For instance, she said — and the data showed — that most people who use a lubricant apply it to the outside of the condom. But adding a small amount at the inside tip can enhance the experience for the man. More enjoyment, she suggested, could mean that men will be happier to use them, increasing safety.
Safety! The end goal for parents everywhere. So who all is for adding a week to sex education exclusively on “Lubricant Tips”? Anyone? It may save you a teen pregnancy or two.