Keep this in mind the next time you hear a guy say that sex is better without a condom: Both men and women enjoy sex just as much with condoms as they do without, according to a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
To gather the between-the-sheets details, researchers looked at data from the 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. What they found: Basically, both men and women rated sex in general pretty high (no surprise there), and their sexual pleasure ratings were also consistently high.
That said, wearing a condom might make a difference when it comes to arousalÃ¢â‚¬”to a guy, at least. Men reported being more aroused when they had sex without using condoms or lube than men who used a condom and no lube. But that may not necessarily be because of the condom itself, according to Michael Reece, PhD, MPH, of the School of Public Health-Bloomington, Indiana University, and co-author of the study. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Arousal can be inhibited and affected by certain situations, but it can also have to do with who your partner was, issues with alcohol and drugs, and other physiological and psychological issues,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says.
One of these issues? The long-held belief that condoms make men lose an erection. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had generation after generation of men that have been told that sex with a condom doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel as good as sex without, and in survey after survey you pick up that social myth,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Reece. Until now, that is: Ã¢â‚¬Å“People say that sex with a condom is just as good as sex without a condomÃ¢â‚¬”that throws everything that men grew up learning out the window,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says.
The bottom line: You probably canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame the condom for whether or not youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re turned on when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting it on, according to Reece. In fact, many condoms, because of new, pleasure-enhancing innovations, might actually make sex better for both parties. TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s condoms are made with special features, like enhanced textures or a coating of premium lubes, both of which could add some serious spine-tingling benefits to your next sack session.
Hit up the condom aisle to check out 5 of our favorite condom recommendations:
TrojanÃ‚Â® Her PleasureÃ¢â€žÂ¢ EcstasyÃ¢â€žÂ¢ This condom boasts the best of both worlds: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coated with lubeÃ¢â‚¬”both inside and out, and has special ridges thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll rub you just the right way. And, according to the manufacturer, this rubberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s barely-there design Ã¢â‚¬Å“lets you feel the pleasure, not the condom!Ã¢â‚¬Â ($10 for 10, drugstore.com)
Durex Performax The inside tip of a Performax rubber is coated with a body heat-activated lube that contains Benzocaine, which reduces skin sensitivity (yes, it's the same stuff you'd put on a bug bite). With a slightly numbed penis, your guy is less likely to hit his peak before you do. ($9 for 12, drugstore.com)
Kimono Micro Thin Aqua Lube It's not as barely-there as lambskin gets, but a Kimono is the next best thing for couples who want a condom with STD protection and minimal material between their privates. According to the manufacturer, this baby is 20 percent thinner than competitors' "thinÃ¢â‚¬Â models but still strong enough to pass vigorous testing. ($13 for 12, drugstore.com)
Durex Pleasuremax Tingling Certain situations make a better-tasting condom a godsend, and this jimmy jacket's spearmint flavor is as refreshing as a dab of Colgate. Even if taste isn't an issue, this one's worth buying for its pleasant scent and strategically placed ribs and studs. ($11 for 12, drugstore.com)
Naturalamb TrojanÃ‚Â® With its powder-fresh aroma, you'd never guess this condom is made from natural animal membranes. (Does PETA know about this?) The latex-free condom is so thin and flexible, it feels like a second skinÃ¢â‚¬”which is pretty much what it is. It's best for committed couples, since it offers no protection against STDs. ($30 for 12, drugstore.com)
Additional reporting by Women's Health editors
photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock More from WH:
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