Condoms that Actually Feel Good?!
Ok folks, I am predicting that Origami Condoms will revolutionize safe sex. Currently, Danny Resnic, has conducted four clinical trials through NIH-funded grants as well as support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to test three types of condoms: a male condom, a female condom and a specialized anal condom which, if it passes, will be the first condom approved for anal sex by the US Food and Drug Administration. What else makes these condoms different? They are made of silicone instead of latex, which means they are better at resisting viruses and bacteria and they provide more pleasurable sensation (1)! Why does that matter? News flash: Research indicates that men do not like to use condoms, mostly because it feels better to have sex without one (2). Among men who do use condoms, many remove the condom before they orgasm (3), often due to a reduction in sensation and loss of an erection (4). The experience of a loss of an erection is very embarrassing (5), and what do we do when we get embarrassed? Avoid every possibility that embarrassment will happen again. Thus, reducing the likelihood of using a condom again.
Many men also describe feeling annoyed when a partner insists on using a condom because of the reduction of pleasure (6). In heterosexual couples, this annoyance often makes the female partner decline her assertion to use a condom because women (being the nurturers of the relationship) often feel the obligation to rescue their partners from embarrassment or dysfunction. This negotiation can put both partners at risk. Heterosexual women also report dislike for the use of male condoms because of annoyances “in putting it on in time” (2). Therefore, the use of a female condom can provide a safe alternative because they are inserted before intercourse and therefore do not disrupt intimacy because they do not have to be rolled onto a penis mid-way through sexual activity.
Origami’s condom that has been designed exclusively for receptive anal sex can also be inserted prior to anal intercourse. This is a major breakthrough in sexual safety. There are rising concerns about the popularity of barebacking among gay men, which is the act of intentional unprotected anal sex(7). Currently, people use male or female condoms during anal sex (both of which are notorious for not staying put) or they don’t use a condom at all during anal sex. It is really important to use a condom during anal penetration regardless of your sexual orientation. Even if you are in a committed relationship and are not using condoms for vaginal sex (when applicable) because both partners are STI-free and you are using a different form of pregnancy prevention (when applicable), you should always use a condom during anal sex.
Despite the popularity of ATM (inserting a penis in the anus and then in the mouth) or ATV (inserting a penis in the anus and then in the vagina) in pornography (8), these acts are a huge bacterial no-no because the rectum is a huge bacterial nightmare. You do not want the bacteria that live in the rectum anywhere near the vagina or mouth. If you are a woman who is having sex with another woman and using toys to penetrate the anus, a condom for the toy can also be a good solution to prevent the spread of bacteria after anal play. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with anal penetration, there are just extra efforts that need to be taken in order to engage in anal penetration without spreading bacteria to the mouth or vagina. That being said, I do encounter a lot of heterosexual women and girls in my workshops who feel pressure to engage in anal sex when they do not want to. If you don’t have any interest in anal sex, don’t do it. The majority of pleasure that comes from anal stimulation among women comes from the anus itself, not from penetration of the rectum, because women do not have a prostate gland. Therefore, simply applying pressure to the anus with a finger will provide maximum pleasure without the risk of rectal tearing and stretching-which can lead to problems over time.
Now, this next statement is a stretch: I also think these condoms, if they really do increase pleasure, could potentially combat unhealthy norms of masculine sexuality. Through the lens of heteronormativity, heterosexual men are more sexually privileged than heterosexual women and therefore can insist on experiencing pleasure and passion over responsibility, whereas women bear the responsibilities of unwanted pregnancy and negative sexual stereotyping, making their sexual choices more burdensome (9,10). Since the invention of hormonal birth control in the 1960s, the responsibility for contraception has predominately been delegated to women, which consequently excluded contraception from masculinity norms (11). From this perspective, a man choosing to not use a condom would be a symbol of masculine power and sexual agency because he would be emphasizing pleasure over responsibility. Therefore a condom that increases pleasure for the man or can be used by a receptive partner during penetrative sex, could help to reduce the risk associated with masculinity-induced unprotected sex.
Whatever type of penetrative sex you are into, these new condoms may be of interest to you. Unfortunately, due to FCC restrictions, Origami can’t show their condoms on television or talk about the appropriate anatomy to demonstrate how they work in radio. So, I’m asking you to check ‘em out and pass the word along so that Origami can get the funding they need to bring these revolutionary condoms to market ASAP!
1. Krakauer, H. (2013). See ya, latex: reinventing the condom. New Scientist, 217(2900), 37-39.
2. Brook (2005). The choreography of condom use: how, not just if, young people use condoms. Research conducted by the University of Southampton. Available online at: www.brooks.org.uk (accessed 12 August 2013).
3. Crosby, R. A., Sanders, S. A., Yaber, W. K., Graham, A. C. & Dodge, B. (2000) Condom use: errors and problems among college men, Sexually Transmitted Disease, 29, 552–557.
4. Measor (2006). Condom use: A culture of resistance. Sex Education, 6 (4), 393-402.
5. Wood, A. (1998) Sex education for boys. Health Education, 3, 95–99.
6. Vittellone, N. (2002) Condoms and the making of sexual difference, Body and Society, 8(3), 71–94.
7. Crossley, M. L. (2004). Making sense of ‘barebacking’: Gay men's narratives, unsafe sex and the ‘resistance habitus’. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43(2), 225-244.
8. Jensen, R. (2007). Getting off: Pornography and the end of masculinity. Cambridge: South End Press.
9. Tolman, D. L., & Diamond, L. M. (2001). Desegregating sexuality research: Cultural and biological perspectives on gender and desire. Annual Review of Sex Research, 12, 33-74.
10. Tolman, D. L., Striepe, M. I., & Harmon, T. (2003). Gender matters: Constructing a model of adolescent sexual health. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 4-12.
11. Oudshoorn, N. (2004). “Astronauts in the sperm world”: The renegotiation of masculine identities in discourses on male contraceptives. Men and Masculinities, 6, 349-367.
Photo Source: Origami Condoms
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I'm here to help us discuss sexuality, gender, and media by integrating information from academic and mainstream sources. I hope this resource produces more sexually competent people who raise sexually competent kids.