Do textured condoms heighten sexual pleasure?

Originally Published: February 16, 2001 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: September 6, 2007
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Dear Alice,

Do ribbed condoms affect the pleasures of sex?

Dear Reader,

Ribbed, studded, and other textured condoms are intended to heighten sexual pleasure. Some condoms have these "extras" layering the inner surface for the wearer to feel; others have them covering the exterior for the partner's enjoyment. Plus, condoms are now available as shaped or contoured, or have a baggier tip, mainly to increase the wearer's sensation, comfort, and confidence (for a better fit so that they won't slip off). In any case, these condoms have the potential to enhance sensitivity during vaginal or anal sex. For some people, using these specialty condoms during intercourse does increase pleasure; others may think they help boost sensation, and therefore they do; and yet others find the added features too subtle to notice.

Textured latex and polyurethane condoms, usually more pricey than your standard sheath, are as effective against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as regular condoms made of the same material. Contraceptive Technology and other sources affirm that condoms are effective when used consistently and correctly.

Since each individual is turned on by different sensations or thoughts, test driving a variety of condoms to find one(s) that feels good, fits comfortably, and satisfies you and your partner may be helpful, and fun, too. If you decide to use ribbed or other specialty condoms, beware of "novelty" items. Glow in the dark and other "novelty" condoms can make great "gag" gifts, but they are not intended to be used for oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Only one glowing condom is FDA approved for pregnancy and STI protection — the Night Light brand; aside from this one, you're best off leaving the novelty condoms for gag gifts, and using FDA-approved condoms for your rolls in the hay.

For more information, read, Four kinds of condoms: A guide for consumers in Alice's Sexual Health archive.

Alice