Wondering which condoms to buy? Science has the answer
Debby Herbenick knows how you feel about condoms. You know you need them, but you just want to go into the drugstore, get them, and get the hell out of there. (This is basically why they invented those self-service checkout things: As embarrassing as it is to buy condoms, imagine being the person on the other end of the transaction, thinking, “God, even this person is getting some?”)
Herbenick thinks about condoms so you don’t have to, and she knows exactly which condom you should buy:
Through scientific research that I conduct with my team at Indiana University about condoms, lubricants, and other sexual enhancement products, I’ve had amazing opportunities to learn more about the condoms that work well for people, that are linked to more pleasurable, satisfying sex, and — when relevant — safer outcomes.
Safer and, we would add, less likely to involve producing a whole new human being that will consume untold amounts of resources over the course of its long, hopefully healthy life.
Interestingly, Herbenick and her team rely more on men’s condom preferences than women. This is not just sexism! She has a good, science-based reason:
I haven’t yet found consistent patterns about women’s perceptions related to condom use with one exception: women more often dislike condoms with warming/cooling properties to the lube … Thus far, I haven’t seen a consistent pattern to much else … That plus the fact that most conforms are lubricated (and lube reduces friction) means that most women’s vaginas won’t pick up subtle differences in condom style/fit. They more often notice lubricating properties of condoms.
This is the point where we should note that the only study Herbenick specifically cites is a survey of 30 couples that she performed for Men’s Health magazine, a magazine for terrible people. That said, it’s probably more carefully designed research than you’ve done, especially if you tend to just grab a box of whatever and book it.
So which condom does Herbenick think you should buy? Trojan Ecstasy Ultra Ribbed. Wait, really? Well, all right, if science says so, I guess.
- The Wirecutter , Best Condoms