There are many men and even some women — some of our friends and blogger compatriots— who don't like using condoms. The most-oft cited reason — if you're not 16 and stupidly too embarrassed to buy them — is that it "feels" better without. But the Kinsey Institute has another question: is your sex life better with a condom?
In a new study, Kinsey researchers asked women utilizing a variety of different birth control methods to rate their overall sexual satisfaction and their sexual enjoyment of particular acts. Women who used both hormonal birth control along with condoms reported the highest level of satisfaction with their sex lives, but were more likely to report decreased sexual enjoyment — almost like, despite being happy with it, they thought they ought to be enjoying it more.
When considering overall sexual satisfaction, which goes beyond the immediate sexual moment and includes factors such as sexual self-esteem and relationship satisfaction, women who used both condoms and hormonal methods reported the highest levels of sexual satisfaction.
On the other hand, when asked directly about the effect of contraceptive methods on sexual enjoyment, women who used condoms, either alone or with hormonal methods, were far more likely to report decreased pleasure, suggesting women feel condoms make sex less pleasurable. Those who used only hormonal methods, such as the birth control pill, were unlikely to associate their method with decreased sexual pleasure.
Women who used only hormonal methods (which offer no protection whatsoever from STIs) reported the lowest level of overall sexual satisfaction of all participants. Furthermore, the study revealed that "Women with no history of a sexually transmitted infection were more than twice as likely to report that their method decreased sexual pleasure." That's quite the strange correlation, unless what you think you're feeling — or should be feeling — with or without a condom has a lot more to do with what's going on upstairs than down.
Related: Dating Drama: No Glove, No Love? Not Always. [The Frisky]