Condom Use and Sexual Performance

The Condom and Lube Dance: It's a Good Thing

My roommate breezed through the living room the other night, freshly showered and heady with man-scent, stopping short at my desk. I looked up.

“So,” he asked, “as a- a professional sex educator, do you…uh, do you get free condoms? Condoms that you might have lying around?”

His cologne made sudden sense. I guessed his current lady friend was in town and smiled. “Yeah. I’ll go find some. What size?” He stared at me. I laughed and he finally responded with his hands spaced apart.

After a few moments rummaging around in my various sex supply drawers I put together a little safe sex bag for him. I pointed out the different condoms as well as the packets of lube samples. “Lube is very important when you use condoms. Use it on the inside as well as the outside.”

He eyed the sample packs. “Well, not if you keep things wet enough on your own.”

[Cue internal sex educator alarm] “No! Latex messes with natural lubrication so over time the friction can become irritating as hell. Haven’t you ever noticed that with condoms woman becomes less wet as time goes on?”

He thought about it for a moment. “Oh. I never realized that.”

Few people do. And when I suggest lube to anyone they put on their most knowing face and imply that their skills are too fly to need lube with condoms. They stay wet, they perform, they don’t need any additives.

We live in a culture that stresses success, leaving very little room for mistakes or failure without criticism. This bleeds into our sexual psyche and we want to be all we can be in the bedroom: sexy, virile, continuous, desirable, and skilled but never hesitant, unsure, fumbling, dry or flaccid.

All of these things can happen with sex. All of them can happen in the same night during the same sexual encounter. Don’t feel bad. Most people have these sexual experiences.

Here’s a personal story about condoms, lube and failed sexual prowess.

After weeks of tension-laden make-out sessions, a cute hipster and I stumbled from the movies back to my place. I psyched myself up: “Yes. Sex. Tonight. We’re gonna do it. Fuck yes.”

Everything was going according to plan. Hands up thighs, pulling down skirts, fingers and tongues in mouths, heavy breathing, rough motions tempered with soft caresses. I grabbed a condom but didn’t see my lube anywhere. I shrugged it off figuring I was wet enough from the oral sex. We put the condom on, he slid in…

A few moments later and I felt irritated. I wanted to ignore the mounting, unpleasant friction but it became too much. “Stop. I need to stop.” He pulled out and asked if I was OK.

I was not OK. The first time I had sex after a work-induced dry spell and the lubeless condom friction killed my mojo when I wanted it most. All because part of me didn’t want to interrupt the sexual flow.

In case you’re wondering: this happened 6 months ago. We all have sexually frustrating moments, even the so-called sexperts. If you need to take a moment and pause during sex, the world will not fall apart. If you go flaccid while putting on the condom, nothing is ruined. If you need to reapply lube when someone’s condom-clad penis is inside of you, do it. One moment of detraction is worth a night of more pleasurable sexual interaction.

6 thoughts on “Condom Use and Sexual Performance”

  1. HI!

    Very interesting! I had notices this myself, but thought it was me rather than latex. Why does that happen? Is it different if you use other materials (polyurethane, etc)?


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