New Study Reveals Sex to be Pleasurable With or Without Use of a Condom or Lubricant

Article ID: 598126

Released: 16-Jan-2013 10:00 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Indiana University

  • Credit: Indiana University

    Dr. Debby Herbenick

Newswise — A new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that within a nationally representative study of American men and women, sex was rated as highly arousing and pleasurable whether or not condoms and/or lubricants were used. Condoms and lubricants are commonly used by both women and men when they have sex.

Led by Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH and Michael Reece, PhD, MPH, of the School of Public Health-Bloomington at Indiana University, researchers reviewed a nationally representative study of men and women in the United States ages 18-59 to assess characteristics of condom and lubricant use during participants' most recent sexual event, and the relationship of their condom and lubricant use to their ratings of sexual quality.

Data were from the 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, which involved the administration of an online questionnaire to a nationally representative probability sample of the U.S. adults. Results showed that men and women consistently rate sex as highly arousing and pleasurable with few differences based on condom or lubricant use. More than twice as many women were unsure whether the condom was lubricated (26.6% vs. 11.4%) or from what material it was made (23.6% vs. 8.9%).

“This may be because men are more likely than women to purchase condoms and to apply condoms,” said Dr. Herbenick. “However, it's important for more women to become familiar with the condoms they use with their partner so that they can make choices that enhance the safety and pleasure of their sexual experiences.”

Additionally, no significant differences were found in regard to men's ratings of the ease of their erections based on condom and lubricant use.

"The U.S. continues to grapple with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and unintended pregnancies," Dr. Herbenick notes. "We need to understand how people make choices about the products they use (or avoid using) and how these products contribute to the safety and pleasurable aspects of their sexual experiences. This is particularly important as the products themselves evolve and become more mainstream in American society. We also need to understand what men and women know, or don't know, about the products they use so that we can better target public health education messages to individuals and groups."

“The epidemiologic studies assessing human sexual function and behavior in the US that were started 60 years ago by Kinsey are continued now by Herbenick and Reece. Gathering sexual data regarding condom use is highly relevant,” explained Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. “Understanding current condom use offers health care providers an opportunity to educate those people uncomfortable with condoms but for whom lack of use may lead to significant sexually transmitted infection health risk.”________________________________________This study is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact or if you have a login to the Wiley Press Room, you can access it here. (To request a login, click here).

About the Author: Dr. Herbenick and Dr. Reece are affiliated with the School of Public Health-Bloomington and co-directors of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University.To arrange an interview with the author, please contact Tracy James, IU Communications, at

Media Contacts for the journal:Amy Molnar (US) +1 201-748-8844Ben Norman (UK) +44 (0) 1243

This study was funded by Church & Dwight, Inc., the maker of Trojan Brand condoms and vibrators.

Full citation: Herbenick et al. “Characteristics of Condom and Lubricant Use among a Nationally Representative Probability Sample of Adults Ages 18-59 In the United States”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine 2013. DOI: 10.1111/jsm.12021URL Upon publication:

About the Journal:The Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM) is a peer-reviewed publication founded in 2004 and is an official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, its five regional affiliated societies and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. It publishes multidisciplinary basic science and clinical research to define and understand the scientific basis of male, female, and couple’s sexual function and dysfunction and carries an Impact Factor of 3.957. For more information, please visit

Download The JSM mobile app for free to your smartphone or iPad to keep up with the latest research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) was founded in 1982 for the purpose of promoting, throughout the international scientific community, research and knowledge in sexual medicine, considered as the subspecialty area of medicine that embraces the study, diagnosis and treatment of the sexual health concerns of men and women. The society has over 2,100 members worldwide, with five regional societies that are affiliated with ISSM: the Asia Pacific Society for Sexual Medicine, European Society for Sexual Medicine, Latin American Society for Sexual Medicine, the Middle East Society for Sexual Medicine, and Sexual Medicine Society of North America. For more information please visit

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