Do condoms reduce sexual pleasure? Malaysian expert weighs in on how to boost sensation

Condoms are predominantly used to reduce the probability of pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections. — Picture from
Condoms are predominantly used to reduce the probability of pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections. — Picture from

KUALA LUMPUR, October 4 — The question of whether sex is better with or without condoms remains increasingly common among most couples.

There have been various opinions on whether the sheath-shaped barrier can transform sexual lives for the better or otherwise.

According to consultant urologist Professor Dr George Lee Eng Geap, condoms are utilised during sexual intercourse with the purpose of preventing pregnancy and risk reduction of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

However, he agreed that many opponents of the male condom reckon there is a “raincoat” phenomenon with the reduction of natural touch.

“Many argue condom usage blocks the erogenous sensation in both partners, compared to barrier-free intercourse,” said Dr Lee.

Scientifically, he added, a condom is held tightly to the penile skin and diminishes the delivery of stimulation of friction during intimacy.

Citing a recent study from Indiana University, Dr Lee said the research claims having sex with condoms can have the potential in the benefit of making sex last longer, with diminished sensation especially in men with premature ejaculation.

“In reality, condoms do provide a physical barrier between partners, diminishing what is normally highly sensual and intimate feel of the genitalia,” he said.

Dr Lee also agreed that some couples find the interruption of sex for the purpose of putting on the condoms cumbersome and off-putting.

“For men with erectile dysfunction, the interruption may even result in the loss of rigidity.

“Some couples find the extra-safe thicker condom causing dull sensation that is undesirable,” he said.

He added that condoms that are too tight may result in pain during intercourse while those with allergy may end up with allergic symptoms and skin irritations.

“In fact, for latex allergic individuals, the effects can even be life threatening.”

Choosing the right condom

As penile sizes vary between countries and individuals, condoms comes in various sizes to accommodate the users’ needs.

Ideally, Dr Lee said the condoms should snug comfortably on the penile shaft without the risk of slippage.

According to him, most studies agree larger penis utilising smaller condoms have lesser slippage, but risk breakage.

“On the other hand, smaller penis using larger condoms slips easily with minimal risk of breakage.

“Condoms that snug perfectly will achieve maximum comfort and protection,” he said.

Is condom necessary for oral sex?

Although certain STIs can be passed through oral sex, Dr Lee said the use of condoms may not be the fool-proof protection.

“Incorrect use in oral cavity and the risk of breakage with tooth contacts can potentially cause the spread of bacteria and virus through oral sex despite the use of condoms,” he said.

He added that giving or receiving oral sex with condoms can be “weird” and “non-pleasurable”.

“Needless to say, the taste can also be off-putting, especially pre-lubricated condoms that can be unpleasant.

“Although edible and flavoured condoms and lubrications are available in the market, the compatibility of barrier material and edibility needs to be ensured,” said Dr Lee.

How to pick and use a condom properly?

Dr Lee pointed out that the thinner the condom, the more sensual the experience will be.

“Some even advocate lambskin condom that is thinner than synthetic ones.

“But such products may compromise on the STI protection,” he said.

He also highlighted that some variation of condoms may have the enhancing protrusion near the head to enhance the G spot (the erogenous area of the vagina) stimulation, while other have internal ribbings that may be pleasurable for men and women.

“There are some that may be studded condoms to enhance the frictional contacts for stimulations.

“Playful condoms such as flavoured, coloured and even luminous condoms may not serve the purposes of preventing pregnancy and protections for couple, they certainly will add some degree of fun and games in the bedrooms,” he added.

Dr Lee also advised that when condoms are rolled onto an erect penis, it’s important to have the space left in the tip to collect semen, preventing spillage to the base of the penis.

“Avoid using very thick or extra thin condoms as they are less effective.”

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