Condoms: This way lies madness!

A Scottish researcher makes the scientific argument for bareback

Topics: Broadsheet, Health, Love and Sex,

How would you describe a couple who insist on using condoms each and every time they have sex? According to researcher Stuart Brody, the words you might be looking for are “depressed,” possibly “suicidal” and definitely “emotionally immature.” Because nothing says “Hey, baby, I care about our future like riding bareback, right?

The problem with condoms, says Brody in an article in today’s Telegraph, is that they interfere with something he calls “evolutionarily relevant sex.” Ah yes, we’re back to Darwin! Apparently, mingling bodily fluids is good for us, and not doing so is, well, bad. Or as he puts it: Condoms interfere with the “benefits of penile-vaginal intercourse” by “blocking the anti-depressant and immunological agents in semen and genital secretions” causing “reduced sexual satisfaction and intimacy.”

Most of us, of either gender, will grant you that having sex with condoms isn’t quite as much fun, which is why we are subjected to so many campaigns reminding us that herpes and syphilis and unplanned pregnancy are even less fun. It even makes a certain amount of sense to me that, as several studies have shown, all the bio-fluids circulating when one partakes in an act originally designed to perpetuate the species might actually have some health benefits of their own. (This recent article from MSNBC claims that absorbing semen through one’s vagina can help prevent depression and that swallowing during oral sex may help pregnant women prevent preeclampsia. Somehow, I am not surprised to discover that somewhere some researcher thought it would be a genius idea to study the health benefits of swallowing semen). And while those of us living in our modern times might also consider hormonal forms of birth control, they are not without their drawbacks, and we somehow have found the ability to come to the entirely reasonable conclusion that, as Natika Halil of the Family Planning Association tells the paper: “The male condom is only one of two methods — the other is sterilization — which men can use to take charge of their own fertility.”

To state the obvious: If we’re so keen on proliferating the species at all costs, why did any member of our species think it might be a good idea to invent birth control? I find it absurd each time some evolutionary biologist trots out a theory based about our alleged ingrained drive to spread our seed far and wide, while ignoring that the vast majority of human societies have evolved, if you will, in the entirely opposite direction — toward delayed child-rearing, and having fewer children in whom they invest more of their resources.

Brody claims that he’s just about the science: “I don’t want to let anything get in the way, whether it’s political correctness or religion.” But, as the Telegraph points out, his last controversial study claimed that straight sex was the only good sex when it came to improving “psychological and physiological function” — a conclusion that was “flatly contradicted” by a much more thorough study by Masters and Johnson. That sounds pretty political to me. I can’t speak for all the thousands of years of evolution that have brought me here, but for now, I have wrested control of my lizard brain to come to the conclusion that my higher reasoning finds this totally fucking dubious.

Amy Benfer is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>