Study: Condoms don't ruin sex. Really

Researchers say consensual sex is pretty much always going to feel good. Because it is sex

Published January 24, 2013 6:29PM (EST)

Impressionable young people and other sex novices, gather round! There is no longer any reason to let someone pressure you into having sex without a condom. So no more falling for "it just feels better" at the last minute, you hear?

Sex with condoms is totally the same as sex without condoms. Science says so.

A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that within a nationally representative study of American men and women, sex was rated as "highly arousing and pleasurable" whether or not condoms were used. Translation: Consensual sex is pretty much always going to feel good. Because it is sex.

Researchers from the School of Public Health at Indiana University reviewed how men and women ages 18-59 rated their last sexual experience and found that the "results showed that men and women consistently rate sex as highly arousing and pleasurable with few differences based on condom or lubricant use," according to the study.

And there was no significant difference found in how easily men reported getting erections while using condoms, either.

"The U.S. continues to grapple with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and unintended pregnancies," said lead researcher Dr. Debby Herbenick. "We need to understand how people make choices about the products they use (or avoid using) and how these products contribute to the safety and pleasurable aspects of their sexual experiences. This is particularly important as the products themselves evolve and become more mainstream in American society. We also need to understand what men and women know, or don't know, about the products they use so that we can better target public health education messages to individuals and groups."

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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