I have encountered a few people in my time who really don’t want to have sex using condoms. “I can’t orgasm when I wear a condom” or “I won’t have sex with a condom” or “All condoms feel terrible” are pretty common refrains coming from people who have penises, and there are a lot of reasons for this. But it doesn't have to be this way, both because condoms don't have to be uncomfortable and penetrative, penis-in-orifice sex is not the be-all-end-all. Really, there are other things you can do with your time, and still get off.

 

Say it with me: stigma with safer sex


There is a huge cultural stigma against wearing condoms. It’s everywhere in our media and in the attitudes people have around them – that they’re uncomfortable, that they decrease intimacy, and that they don’t actually work. In my years working in adult retail I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say disparaging things about condoms. Anti-condom propaganda has infiltrated our culture. It is my firm belief that a lot of the reason people dislike condoms and have issues experiencing pleasure with them is a placebo effect from this mentality – there is such a high expectancy for it to be unpleasant that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

You’re probably doing safer sex it wrong


The reason most people experience condom failure – breakage, slipping, etc – is because they’re either wearing the wrong condom or using it incorrectly. There are directions in the box for a reason, but very few people take the time to practice proper use of the things.

safer sex - yes condoms are that important

 

If you want to make it more comfortable you can put a drop or two of silicone or water-based lube in the tip before putting it on – pinch the tip and unroll down the shaft. There are videos on the internet that will give you the correct technique, and there are even some sexier ways to put condoms on to make it more fun.

The next most common issue is that you’re wearing the wrong size or fit. There are a ton of different shapes and sizes out there and chances are, one will work really great for you. Because of the size olympics that are our ideas about how masculine based on the size of their phallus (let me remind you that the Ancient Greeks thought large dicks were funny and incorporated large-phallus’d fauns into their plays as comedic relief accordingly), people often buy large condoms even when that is not the proper size for them to be wearing.

There’s nothing wrong with not wearing SUPER BIG DICK LATEX CONDOMS, and it’s detrimental to proper use to wear those that aren’t the right size for you. There are great services like Lucky Bloke, which have a lot of condom reviews on site and will let you buy singles to figure out which one is the one for you, which is so invaluable.

It’s also important to note that different shapes and different materials feel different – there are far too many to go over here, but Lucky Bloke can help you there too.

 

When all else fails, try the FC2


The FC2 or the ‘female condom’ which I like to refer to as the internal or receiving condom is just that – it goes into the receiving orifice rather than around the penis, so the wearer is in control of their contraception and you don’t need to worry about slippage or sizing. They can take a little practice to get used to and are a little bit pricier, but they’re non-latex nitrile and they’re amazing. You can read one ringing endorsement here.

 

Condoms are important for safer sex


Birth control and STI prevention are really important! I’m not the first person to tell you this and I certainly will not be the last. Fluid bonding with a partner is a really serious commitment that needs to be negotiated, and can get more complicated if you’re non-monogamous. We need to stop being so nonchalant about something that is so important in this day and age – and we need to realize that for a variety of reasons, safer sex is more important than a slight increase in pleasure.

safer sex - yes condoms are that important

 

Why is it all about orgasms?


Seriously - goal oriented sex is so out of style. Sex doesn’t have to be all about penetration, and it doesn’t have to be all about orgasms.

Different people experience different levels of orgasmability and experience pleasure differently. Some people don’t like how orgasms feel, and that’s totally normal. So it’s about time that we stop prioritizing orgasms above everything else – there are so many other pleasurable experiences we can have that have nothing to do with genitalia or the involuntary convulsion if our pelvic floor muscles.

Don’t get me wrong – orgasms can be great. But prioritizing them above all other forms of pleasurable stimulation is unfair to the endless possibilities of feeling and experiencing. Our largest organ, the skin, is literally a giant receptor for sensation. We can taste, smell, see, and hear pleasurable things.

Wear condoms when you’re having sex with people as a default, even if the other person is using a form of birth control. Be up front about your testing history, your STI status, and realize that fluid bonding with someone is a huge deal and a big commitment that should be negotiated when you’re not in the heat of things. Discuss what makes you feel good, explore different barrier kinds and styles, experiment. This is all really conducive to a healthy sex life.

Caitlin is a writer, sex educator, consultant, and product reviewer who focuses primarily on issues of sex toy and accessory safety, pleasure, sexuality, gender, and more. You can learn more, or ask any questions, at their website- www.sex-ational.com.

 

 

Images by Courtney Walker and Ton Rulkens and Steven Cateris via Flickr with CC BY 2.0 license

 


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