Common bullshit: Wearing a condom makes reaching orgasm impossible for men, and ruins sex. The reason is because the sheath stops men from having the intimate skin-to-skin contact which is imperative for pleasure.
More common bullshit: If you buy the condoms with ribs and dots and swizzles, your lady will really get off because your mighty sword is so fantastically tricked out.
The Honest-to-Dick Truth:
The main reason condoms screw up male pleasure is because— read this carefully:
"tight-fitting condoms bind the glans penis, resulting in restricted sensitivity and loss of stimulation during coitus."
I'm quoting from a current patent fight about condom designs, but their explanation is perfect. The main distress men have with condom use is the friction element going awry.
Furthermore, the color or texture of a condom has always made ZERO difference to women, because— news flash— we can't feel the damn thing in the first place. The vaginal walls do not have sensitive nerve endings. We have no idea which bloody condom your're wearing, and we just pray you have the damn thing secured. If we could "feel" the texture of your condom...holy cow, every woman would die instantly in childbirth, if we had that kind of vagina sensitivity. This is the same reason why the ever-popular bullshit about "vaginal orgasms" is also such a crock.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic, a new condom shape emerged called The Pleasure Plus, that was designed to make men feel pleasure and comfort by changing the silouette of the head. It looks like the letter "P." It doesn't fit tightly on the head of your cock at all— it's more like having an extra foreskin!
I immediately tried it out with my male lovers, and they were shocked. A condom that actually feels different, that honestly affects your arousal and orgasm in a juicy way?— it didn't seem possible.
Condom marketers had been lying for SO LONG, appealing to various macho vanities, but no one had ever made something that truly affected a man's sexual PLEASURE. Chalk another one up to the puritans.
The problem with the Pleasure Plus was that it went in and out of distribution. Today, in Salon.com, Andrew Leonard has uncovered the story of the Indian inventor who created the Pleasure Plus, (and subsequently two other innovative designs) which has led to a condom war between the companies fighting over his various patents.
"Sex expert Susie Bright, the host of "In Bed With Susie Bright" on Audible.com, and a longtime commentator on all things sexual, had never heard of Reddy [the inventor]. But she squeals with delight when told that he had invented the Pleasure Plus.
"I used to hoard them the way Elaine hoarded the Today sponge on Seinfeld, she recalls. "It was the only condom that offered any physical difference whatsoever. I've always said, forget the ribs and colors and all that bullshit. If the point is sensitivity and feeling good, the Pleasure Plus is the only alternative."
Adam Glickman, whose retail store Condomania was the first to sell the Pleasure Plus, recalls Reddy as "a man deeply concerned about condom effectiveness." At the time, Glickman says, "what was so refreshing and different about him was that he wasn't defining effectiveness in terms of safety and reliability, he was defining it in terms of acceptability and pleasure. No one had really defined condom performance so totally under those terms before him."
But despite the great reviews, the Pleasure Plus was hard to find. In fact, almost as soon as it became popular, it disappeared.
"It was a big mystery," Bright says. "We heard all kinds of rumors. It was there and then it was gone."
It turns out the original business went bankrupt. Then Mr. Reddy came out with two other designs that two other companies are marketing, including Trojan, who calls theirs the "Twisted Pleasure." Once Trojan came out with their Reddy-miracle, of course it wiped out the competitive ability of the first two smaller companies.... Trojan is often the only label represented at major drug stores. This is why there's a lawsuit extravaganza in progress.
I have not tried out the "Inspiral" or the "Twisted Pleasure," the children of the original PP. Have you? It's still a variation of the Pouch-Within-A-Pouch design. I think, from the looks of it, I like the original the best, but I'm hardly the one to decide. I like the simplicity; I don't need the thing to look like a roller coaster ride. But men should be the ones to speak up and say what feels the best.
I resent the notion that you have to sell this thing with a "kinky" name, or imply that it's for party animals. Goddammit, this design should be the basic condom profile for every single rubber made! The thing that Andrew told me— and explains in his article— is that all those world health and family-planning organizations that promote birth control around the world are not recommending these condoms because the powers-that-be think they're a hedonistic frill.
The world of STD-prevention is SO FUCKED UP. Condoms should be made as easy, pleasureable, and cost-free as possible, distributed en masse to men the world over. Young men should be given a bagful in the 6th grade and told to go home and masturbate with them until they get as smooth and suave as those soldiers who clean their guns with a blindfold on.
Women should be told point blank that any guy who tells you he can't get off with a condom is either lying, or has never given it so much as a kindergarten try.
Sure, when you initially try one on, you feel like a clumsy fool. We all felt this way when we first kissed, or tried to have sex, and dealt with our profound awkwardness. Getting your braces caught together is a big limp provocation too, but you don't see people railing against orthodontics for ruining their sex life!
There's all kinds of hassles that go into sexual initiation, but we strive for grace because we are MOTIVATED. And condoms need to be part of that motivation, because frankly, this barrier method of preventing pregnancy and disease is excellent. There are no side effects. It just does the job. The day I got off the Pill and onto condoms is one of the best health decisions of my life. Meeting men who know how to use them is an aphrodisiac in itself.
I advise young men who write me, craving the secret to getting laid, to start conversations about how great they think condoms are, how easy they are to use, how relaxing it is to not have to worry about anything, and let your partner just get into sex without fear. Then just start taking names and numbers!
I'm very glad Andrew wrote this story. I'm also pleased to turn you onto Condomania, which has a great web site as well as store in San Francisco. I found this great animated condom fuck film on their web site, which will provide the perfect epilogue to this post!