all things condoms

Pleasure Pushing

Posted by Condomologist on March 4, 2009

Kathleen Reeves over at RhRealityCheck recognizes that a failure to incorporate issues of pleasure into safer sex messages may very well prevent us from reaching young and old alike. The folks over the The Pleasure Project have been pushing this message since 2004, with a very clear message that since most people have sex for the pursuit of pleasure, what we must do is “sex education…with the emphasis on sex.” The work they do has created waves across the globe, eroticizing sex by consulting on condom use in porn, publishing important pleasure-based research in respected journals Reproductive Health Matters and The Lancet, and compiling an extensive (though by no means comprehensive) look at pleasure-based safer sex initiatives around the globe. Definitely worth taking a look.


4 Responses to “Pleasure Pushing”

  1. Jenny said

    Just had an advance copy of How Sex Works sent to me and found out about different pleasure based safer-sex initiatives. On a different not… any suggestion I’m have a latex allergy and itch when we use nonlatex condoms, are there any other materials out there one can use?

    • Jonathan said

      I’ll definitely have to check it out and would love to hear more about your thoughts on particular initiatives or any tidbits of info that you found particularly interesting. As for your question, I have a few suggestions, but I’d say follow-up with a clinician if the itching persists or if nothing works from trying out different condoms. And I should be clear that I’m no medical professional, just as the necessary disclaimer. I’ve got a lot of experience in sexual health, but often a doctor is far better than advice on the internet. While I think I know more than most, I also know that most advice on the web is crap, and I don’t want readers taking my word as the final say on anything.

      First off, have you always had itching when using condoms? I ask just because it’s possible that it’s unrelated to the condoms and is actually something else going on that is simply exacerbated by sex. But as for trying other non-latex condoms, have you tried all the different brands on the market? Trojan makes the Supra, Durex makes the Avanti — both of which are made of polyurethane — and Lifestyles makes the Skyn, which is made of polyisoprene. I don’t know how much one would make a difference over another, but it’s worth a shot. The other thing I’ll just put out there to keep in mind is that there are other substances added to the base material in condoms, and then there’s the lube that’s already on there as well. Women have different reactions to different kinds of lube, and I don’t know what lubes are used on which condoms and how the make-up of those lubricants could cause itching.

      The other options are the female condom, also made of polyurethane, which might be worth a shot as far as comfort/friction is concerned. And then there’s the Naturalamb condom, made of lamb intestines. I should be clear that all the research will tell you that they cannot guarantee that the Naturalamb condoms will prevent against fluid-based STDs, but they’re regarded as highly effective in preventing against pregnancy. But I’m a risk reduction guy, so if STDs are a concern and you still want to have sex and these are the only thing that works for you, you still have protection, just that lab studies show HIV can pass through a lambskin condom. There’s nothing to show HIV transmission has occurred in real-life and I can’t speak to chlamydia or gonorrhea, but I just don’t want someone to say I didn’t cover all my bases. Both the female condom and Naturalamb are expensive, but they’re definitely both options. I know you said you’ve used non-latex condoms, but I wanted to provide all this info in the event that you hadn’t tried all of them.

      Those are the options of condoms you’ll get just about anywhere you look. If you’re just looking to prevent pregnancy and don’t want to use hormonal methods of contraception, keep in mind that the Mirena IUD is a long-term option, withdrawal is an option, rhythm methods work well when practiced properly, and diaphragms/cervical caps are there for you as well. Each has its benefits and its disadvantages, and if you’d like to explore any of those options, I’d be happy to point you to further information or answer any more questions you have.

    • Jonathan said

      My bad on my first post. I meant to say the Paragard IUD is the one with copper and that does not contain hormones. NOT the Mirena. I shouldn’t give advice after midnight.

  2. Dare said

    Jenny- The sponge is also back on the market and available in pharmacies. The effectiveness is not stellar so I would combine it with another method as a backup… It contains no hormones, but does contain spermicide, which some people can be sensitive to.

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