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If you ask most people, they would say, “Yes, it feels different with a condom”—but you’d get a range of descriptions. Some think it feels better. Some think it feels worse, and some think it just feels different.
Some people say that sex feels better with condoms because they can relax and not worry about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And others like using condoms because they can feel different sensations while using them.
A common complaint about condoms is that they make it so that you “can’t feel anything.” But some people love using condoms because they can “last longer” or they like the sensations of ribbed condoms. Some people might say they feel distanced from their partners when they use condoms. But condoms protect you and your partner, so that can also make you feel closer.
There are lots of brands and kinds of condoms out there. If you’re worried about a different sensation or a condom ruining the experience, you might think about polyurethane condoms. Polyurethane conducts body heat better and can feel more “sheer.” You can also try thin latex condoms, such as Trojan UltraThin. If you are uncircumcised and experience pain when you put on the condom, you may have adhesions between your glans and shaft, which can be easily remedied at a doctor’s office.
If you are someone who experiences less pleasure when your partner uses a condom for oral, vaginal or anal sex, you can add lubricant (both on the penis before you put the condom on as well as on the condom after it’s on) to help decrease friction between your skin and the condom. You can add lubricant to a condom that is already lubricated or one that is not. You can also make sure your partner is using a condom that fits well. There are different shapes and sizes of condoms, so read each label to find out what might work best for you and your partner. Try different ones until you find one that works for both of you—kind of like an adventure! Flavored or unlubricated condoms can be used for oral sex.
And finally, even when it feels a little different when you use a condom, just remember that only condoms can protect you from most STDs, such as HIV. For heterosexual couples, they also do “double duty” by backing up your birth control, like the Pill, Patch or Shot, to protect you from an unplanned pregnancy or they may serve as your sole method of effective pregnancy prevention.
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My partner is pressuring me to take drugs or get drunk before we have sex. What should I do? What should I say?
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