There is simply no art to putting on a condom. You go through the rigmarole of searching through your drawer for one. Then you fumble in the dark for a bit before finally giving in and turning on the bedside lamp, giving your partner that weak, eyebrows-raised smile as they watch patiently for you to get one on.
But we need not remind you that they are the only contraceptive capable of both preventing pregnancy and protecting against STDs – condoms aren't much fun, but they're extremely necessary.
So what happens if your Hinge hook-up thinks otherwise? The date’s gone alright, and you’re back at yours, fucking. Just when it’s finally getting good, they stop and hit you with an “actually, it’s quite difficult for most men to come with a condom on, so can we just, you know, not use one?” You, a sane and normal person, want to use protection. But their eyes are filled with disappointment, and the condom begins to unfurl off their now flaccid dick.
To save you from having to navigate the argument that will inevitably follow, I called Dr. Jeff Foster, a men’s health specialist, to dispel the myth that some men can't finish while wearing a condom, and find out how the condom-averse can overcome their psychological barriers and enjoy better, safer sex.
VICE: Hi Dr. Jeff. If a patient says it’s impossible for them to finish while wearing a condom, what do you do?
Dr. Jeff Foster: You would want to see if the problem is physical or whether there’s a psychological barrier. But I would say that almost all of the problems with condoms seem to be psychologically based, rather than physically.
Okay, so what are the potential physical problems with condoms?
There’s the aspect of increased heat because they cause friction. Other times, they can have a drying effect which could irritate both parties. However, newer condoms don’t have that problem as much.
So, are condoms being the cause of lack of sensitivity a myth?
Twenty years ago, there was evidence that condoms did reduce sensitivity and that was down to the product itself. Condoms were much thicker because the technology wasn’t as good as it is today. Now that there’s better technology, the evidence isn’t there so much.
If there is too much friction, what can you do instead?
You can use water-based lubricants on the outside and sometimes on the inside of the condom, which will reduce some of the friction and dryness, making them feel like they’re losing some of the sensitivity.
What are the psychological aspects of being condom-averse?
As they’re designed to prevent STDs and the mental association with that destroys any of the romance around having sex for some.
What about having a posh wank to get your body used to condoms. Does that really help?
I can honestly say that having been qualified for 15 years, no one has ever medically defined the term "posh wank".
Ah, sorry. Masturbating with a condom on.
Well, it’s not something we focused on in neurological teaching, surprisingly. But from a practical perspective, the issue is going to be when you’re with a partner. Practising wouldn’t do any damage and it might get you more slick at using them. If you’re spending ten minutes faffing around, getting it on you’re not gonna stay erect for long and by that time, the other person’s asleep. You want the process of applying the condom to be as labour-free as possible so it doesn't get in the way of having sex. Once you do that, you’re basically fine.
What tips do you usually give to patients who say they don't like condoms?
The first thing that I would do is ask the patient to try a different brand – that’s a major key. That’s why they produce different ones. You’ve got to practice until you find the one for you
Thanks, Dr. Jeff!
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.