Sex talk
Coping with Condoms

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

Sure, if there's even a remote possibility of STDs being passed, you should use protection when you fuck. Not only do condoms prevent HIV transmission, but even HIV-positive guys benefit from staying safe from other nasty stuff.

But if the dictionary had an illustration of the phrase "a necessary evil," it would probably portray a dude unrolling a love glove on his dick. At the beginning of the HIV epidemic, AIDS prevention groups took the stance that using condoms was fun, even sexy. But such pleasant penile pronouncements soon came up against hard realities. "Except for latex fetishists and guys doing lapsed-Catholic role-plays," says one longtime HIV-prevention volunteer, "just about everybody finds using rubbers is a pain in the ass. No pun intended."

There are several downsides to using rubbers. First, there's the lust-killing rigmarole of locating one of those little packets, getting the damn thing open, positioning the condom over the dickhead, and getting it unrolled over your enormous member. Though that may not be rocket science, it does cause a pause in the porking process. But a bit of preplanning can keep the love train on track. One voracious-but-foresighted bottom says, "When I bring a guy home, I'll set out a couple of condoms on the bedside table, and even tear open one ahead of time."

If you're a relative newcomer to the joy of sex, remember that penile practice makes perfect´┐Żor close enough. If you're at all insecure about condoms, try solo safe sex first. Laying in a supply of rubbers to use for jacking off will get you familiar with the ins and outs of latex – and make things less messy, too.

Condoms can be not just inconvenient, but, for some men, positively deflationary. Complains one otherwise game gay guy in his 40s, "It gets harder to keep it up as you age, anyway. Adding latex to the mix is a recipe for disaster."

Even experienced willie-wrappers come up against a sad-but-true reality: latex cuts down on the sensations of sex. For guys who tend to come too soon, that can be a blessing, but for the rest of us it can be an erection-wrecking curse.

Fortunately, there are some strategies that can lessen the "showering in a raincoat" problem. First off, remember that not all prophylactics are created equal, and what feels great to one guy may not to another. Rubbers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses. There are extra-large models – which provide an ego boost as well as additional room – and smaller, tighter jobbies. Some jimmy hats balloon out at the tip, providing extra friction at the head. There are rubbers with ribs or studs, but be cautious – though they might please the top, they can really irritate a bottom's bottom. And there are "extra thin" or "extra sensitive" models with less of a latex layer between you and your lay-mate. It's important to remember, though, that the thinner ones tend to be less strong, so using sufficient lube is especially important – as is not just plunging in, but carefully coaxing the bottom to relax his inviting little rosebud.

If you opt for condoms while sucking dick, try thin, nonlubricated ones. There are even flavored ones, should you want a sausage to taste like banana.

Lube makes a difference, too. When using latex condoms, water-based lubes are the rule, as anything else can rapidly break down the rubber. But the stuff comes in various consistencies, from gratifyingly goopy to silky thin, resulting in differing sensations for both parties concerned. Regardless, you should never use lube containing nonoxynol-9 for buttsex. That can inflame the anal lining, making infection more likely.

One penis-pleasing trick is putting a dab of lube inside the tip of the condom prior to putting it on. And remember that water-based lubes dry out in short order, requiring either reapplication or a sprinkling of water to keep things nice and slick.

If you want to try out nonlatex condoms, avoid the "natural," or "lambskin" ones – they may have pores that let HIV through. Instead, opt for polyurethane ones. Though they cost more than latex and are tougher to find, they increase sensitivity, conduct heat better, and are safe to use with all sorts of lubrication.

If you try those tactics and things still keep going limp, there are other possible fixes, too, whether mechanical – a properly adjusted cockring to keep things erotically aloft – or, under your doctor's supervision, pharmaceutical solutions.

All these weenie work-arounds may get wearying. But, as one man who's had plenty of sex says, "When the alternatives are either risking disease or not fucking at all, I'll opt for rubbers every time."

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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