A new study reveals sex to be pleasurable with or without use of a condom or lubricant.
American men and women rated sex as highly arousing and pleasurable regardless of whether condoms and/or lubricants were used, according to a study by Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington researchers.
The researchers reviewed a nationally representative study of men and women ages 18 to 59 to assess characteristics of condom and lubricant use during participants' most recent sexual event, and the relationship of their condom and lubricant use to their ratings of sexual quality.
"There's this commonly held belief that condom use makes sex feel less natural or pleasurable," said study lead author Debby Herbenick, associate research scientist and co-director for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. "But when people use them, sex happens to be great."
No significant differences were found in regard to men's ratings of the ease of their erections based on condom and lubricant use.
Misperceptions Can Raise Risk for STDs, HIV and Unintended Pregnancy
"The U.S. continues to grapple with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unintended pregnancies," Herbenick said. "We need to understand how people make choices about the products they use, or avoid using, and how these products contribute to the safety and pleasurable aspects of their sexual experiences. This is particularly important as the products themselves evolve and become more mainstream in American society. We also need to understand what men and women know, or don't know, about the products they use so that we can better target public health education messages to individuals and groups."
Lubricants also related to Pleasure and Excitement
Lubricants are underestimated for their ability to improve sex, said Herbenick. And women of any age may misinterpret the need to use a lubricant as an indication of non-arousal. "I knew a 26-year-old woman who said she dreaded pulling out lubricant," said Herbenick. "She said there needs to be a website that says, 'Younger women need lubricant, too.'"
Women who experience vaginal dryness after menopause can also feel frustrated, seeing the need for a lubricant as a sad sign of aging.
The above story is based on the January 23, 2013 news release by Indiana University.
The study is published online January 24, 2013 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine:
Herbenick, D., Schick, V., Reece, M., Sanders, S. A., Smith, N., Dodge, B. and Fortenberry, J. D. (2013), Characteristics of Condom and Lubricant Use among a Nationally Representative Probability Sample of Adults Ages 18–59 in the United States. J Sex Med, 10: 474–483. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12021
Learn how condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.