Welcome back to Guysourcing, where a panel of helpful gentlemen answer your questions! This week's question was the following: "how do you feel about condoms? Do you like them, hate them, feel neutral? Do you strongly prefer sex without them, or not so much? Do you have a favorite type or brand, and if so why? And have your feelings about condoms changed over time?" Read on for our guysourced answers.
My favorite condoms are the ones that don't make anyone pregnant.
Yes, they make sex less awesome for everyone involved. But holy shit, when I was in college, I would never have had sex without a condom — whether or not the pill or some other form of birth control were involved. Oh, and yeah, there's also the protecting they do against STDs. That's great, but they're even better for not making me a dad.
Generally, I find condoms to be a fairly unreliable method of birth control, but I am in favor of them for STI risk reduction reasons. If I'm with a brand new partner or a fling I think it's a good idea to either use condoms or stick to manual or oral sex. To be honest, in an ideal world with a new partner or fling I think that sticking to manual or oral sex is the best idea, but I do understand that penetration is important to many women and if not having penetrative sex is going to ruin the experience for her I'd rather glove up. That said, so many, many things — alcohol, pretty much any antidepressant or anti-anxiety pill, stress, particularly vigorous sex, stopping sex for a bit to make out, etc... — can lead to condom failures of one type of another that I see them as the birth control of absolute last resort. With a long term partner that you trust withdrawal is much more reliable. I might not always notice when a condom breaks or if variations in the strength of my erection cause condom leakage, but I can be damn sure that I pull out way before I ejaculate. To be honest I've never had one single friend get pregnant because of withdrawal but I've had many get pregnant from condom fuck ups. (And a few from fuck ups with the pill as well.) This is not to say that they should not be used at all. If you don't know the status of your partner some protection is better than none. I know that some women say that they can't trust their partner to pull out. But if you can't trust him to do that, how can you really trust him not to slip the condom off during doggy style or some other position that you might not notice? [...] As to sensation — I've never figured out why so many dudes bitch about it so much. Unless you are using really cheap or free condoms that are super thick there is not that much difference and it's certainly better than masturbation.
Birth control for dudes
I view condoms as one way I can practice contraception. Of course, condoms can also be used to reduce STD transmission. But viewing them through the pregnancy lens, so much of the responsibility for birth control is placed on women; there's no pill for guys, no IUD, at least not yet. It's usually framed as "what can women do not to get pregnant," not "what can men do to keep women from getting pregnant," and that isn't fair. If my girlfriend finds that hormonal birth control methods really affect her mood on a constant basis, then why should I be able to complain that condoms reduce how good sex feels (and I don't find the ones we use make sex unpleasurable)?
Even if she's on birth control, condoms add an extra step of protection and I'd want to use them as long as I'm not ready to have kids. But it's also not a decision made completely in a vacuum — ie, spermicidal lubricants might be irritating. Basically, I'm neutral toward them. I've always used them and think they have their place in healthy sexual relationships. But when I'm thinking about them, I'm not judging them based primarily upon how they affect my penis sensation.
On shopping, the proper fit is key. No Trojans. They smell funny. Durex pinches and their sensitivity isn't great. The Lifestyles Skyn is OK. Kimono makes a great condom in larger sizes, but are tough to find outside of a sexy shop. Vivid also makes a comfy bigger condom. There's no worse feeling than wearing a too-tight condom. Not only does it impair sensitivity, but you run the risk of breakage. We use a little lube — JO water-based for women works well — and that greatly helps with action and feeling. A drop inside the rubber before I suit up helps me too. But, hell, when you're in the moment, the difference in feel becomes smaller as you get closer to the reason you're wearing the condom. I've had as many great orgasms with condoms than without, but that's more about what's between the partners than a piece of latex rubber.
The only time I ever liked condoms was the first time I had sex. And that was purely because I thought needing to buy condoms was cool. I didn't actually enjoy using them and that hasn't changed in the years since. Obviously sex with a condom on is less enjoyable than without, but I also hate how the need for condoms can inhibit spontaneity to a degree. No matter what, if you're using them there always has to be a pause in the proceedings to get one out, put it on, etc. In terms of brand, my unscientific research has revealed that only Trojan seems to make condoms that don't feel like your penis is wrapped in a towel. That should be their motto.
Since neither my girlfriend nor I am ready to have a child, I use condoms. I think it also goes back to when I was a kid and our health teacher scared me in to wearing condoms all the time by showing us pictures of herpes, anal warts and syphilis. The NYC condoms are pretty great, but when I have to buy condoms, I generally buy Trojan-enz because they fit. I once mistakenly bought a thirty pack of Trojan Ultra Thins sight unseen, only to discover that they were terrible and way too small. So I would say I generally feel neutral about condoms, but I always feel better about sex with them on.
I spent five years in a monogamous relationship, and we stopped using condoms after the first year or so. Sex without them is clearly better, both physically and emotionally. Sex without a condom feels like complete nakedness and openness with each other. And the whole process of pausing to put on a condom can be an irritating disruption at the peak of excitement. But now that I'm single again, condoms are a fact of life, I expect they will be for quite a while, and that's fine. And really — having to use a condom is like watching a pigeon shit on your Ferrari. Annoying, but...you still have a Ferrari.
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