Do Condoms Kill The Feeling?

Curious if condoms kill the feeling during sex? Discover how wearing a condom affects sensation and tips to improve your condom experience.

Published Feb 09 2024 8 min read

Condoms: the unsung heroes of the bedroom! They've been a go-to method of contraception for years, ensuring safe and responsible sex. They're easily accessible, affordable and come in various sizes, flavors, and textures depending on your preferences or needs. But a common concern is if condoms kill the feeling during sex. Can these little protective sheaths reduce sexual pleasure? This fear has stigmatized condom use and made many people avoid using condoms or use them reluctantly. But do condoms affect sensation? Buckle up as we unwrap the mysteries surrounding condoms and sensation and find out whether it's just a myth or reality.

Do condoms affect sensation?

Condoms – love them or hate them – do affect sexual sensation in some way. A 2008 study found that latex condom use can reduce tactile sensation. This study looked at if condom use affected sexual pleasure during vaginal sex. The results found that both men and women considered unprotected sex to be more pleasurable than protected sex with a condom. Interestingly, men rated unprotected sex higher in pleasure than women did.

The study went further to find out if the way people felt about condom use would affect their experience of pleasure and found a correlation between the two. So, the participants who thought using condoms would reduce sensation rated protected sex as less pleasurable than unprotected sex.

Another study corroborated similar results, finding that the pleasure associated with condom use among heterosexual men was affected by factors like condom perceptions, age, relationship status, and physiology.

Now, there are studies, and then there’s real life. Just look at a Reddit thread and it’s clear that everyone has different feelings about condoms, some more extreme than others like one man comparing condom use to, "eating ice cream with a rubber coating on your tongue."

Other men commented that while condoms reduce sensation, the benefits they provide outweigh the cons:

"Whatever it [a condom] does or doesn't do, it's nothing compared to lack of sleep, crying babies, or child support payments."

Other men are more laissez-faire about condom use saying: "Yes, condoms may reduce sensations, but even if you use them, sex is still amazing."

Do condoms reduce sensation for receiving partners?

According to the studies mentioned above, women and people with vaginas on the receiving end of penetrative sex also notice a difference in sensation with condoms. However, women don’t seem to feel as fervently about condom use as men. The 2008 study found that while both men and women rated unprotected sex as more pleasurable than protected sex, the pleasure difference for women wasn’t as extreme between the two as it was for men.

The comments from women on Reddit threads about condom use read less intensely: "without a condom, every sensation feels a bit more intense and a bit warmer.” And others: "I can tell something's different, but it doesn't change that much for me."

Interestingly, there are even women who enjoy the sensation of condoms or find the act of putting on a condom arousing. For example, one Reddit user said: "We use condoms, and they feel smoother than just skin on skin. I actually enjoy putting it on him; it's kind of arousing. Watching him put them on is also pretty good."

As both studies concluded, while condoms can have an impact on sexual sensation, the experience is subjective and depends on many factors like personal preferences, psychological factors, and even the type of condom you use. Despite personal variations in sensation perception, condoms are a reliable and effective method for practicing safe sex.

Why condoms might reduce sensation

One thing is certain about condoms: different people feel differently about whether condoms reduce sexual feeling. So, here are some potential reasons condoms may reduce sensation.

Condoms may decrease physical sensations

Some people say that using condoms can make sex feel less intimate because they create a physical barrier that might decrease the sensation from friction and the feeling of skin-to-skin contact with their partner.

The condom isn’t the right size

Picking the right condom size is super essential for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. If it's too tight, it can restrict sensations, while a loose one might slip or move during sex and prevent sensation. So, finding the perfect fit is vital for maintaining pleasure during intercourse. Knowing how to choose or how to use a condom correctly may help increase pleasure during sex with a condom.

You may have a latex condom allergy or sensitivity

Most people can use condoms without any problems and won't experience any side effects. However, a few individuals may be allergic or sensitive to latex, which is the most common material used for condoms. In those cases, alternatives to latex condoms are recommended such as polyurethane or lambskin condoms.

You may have a reaction to condom lubrication

Most condoms contain some type of lubrication like nonoxynol-9, a spermicide, and while most people have no problem with this, if someone is sensitive or has a slight allergic reaction, it can make sex uncomfortable or change sensation. Also, there are condoms on the market that come with warming or cooling sensations. While some people find these sensations enjoyable, others may find them distressing or have a similar negative reaction to them.

Ways to improve your condom experience

Condoms offer many benefits such as a simple and safe way to combine pleasure and protection. Condoms prevent pregnancy and the spread of STIs. They can even enhance sexual experiences and prolong activity. So, we strongly recommend considering them! Here are some tips to enhance your condom experience:

1. Have them ready

Keep condoms handy, but also keep them nearby. Removing any logistical issues before getting down to business will make condom use more enjoyable and efficient. And while we’re on the topic of proper preparation - don’t forget to check the date on the wrapper or box to ensure they're not expired.

2. Practice, practice, practice

Knowing how to use and take care of condoms is super important for sexual satisfaction. But many people don't get the proper education on how to put condoms on. With a bit of practice, using condoms becomes a breeze, even in the heat of the moment. Here's a tip: try practicing with a sex toy or on yourself to improve your skills and make it easier to put on and take off. In the end, knowledge and practice make for a fantastic sexual experience.

3. Pick the perfect condom size

Just like there's a range of penis sizes, condoms come in different sizes to ensure a good fit. Finding the right size is essential for comfort and protection. The goal is to find a size that fits perfectly - not too tight, not too loose - for the best comfort and safety during sexual experiences.

4. Choose flavored condoms for oral sex

Many people don't like using condoms for oral sex because of the taste, but flavored condoms can amp up the fun. Try different flavors like strawberry, banana, mint, and chocolate can make things more enjoyable for the partner giving oral sex. Safety doesn't have to mean boring. Use flavored condoms to stay protected and spice up those intimate moments.

5. Opt for thin condoms

For those who say that condoms reduce sensation, go for thin and extra-thin condoms to give you the closest sensation to wearing no condom at all. If you're curious about trying out ultra-thin condoms to improve sensations in your sex life, try Champ ultra-thin condoms. You may be surprised at how they feel during sex.

6. Try a different condom material

Diversity is the spice of life, and so try different condom materials to see which feels and works best for you. Try different condom brands, latex-free alternatives like polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lambskin. Some people even switch to polyisoprene condoms for increased sensation, even if they don't have a latex condom allergy. Non-latex condoms are widely available, and experimenting with various types of condoms can enhance your experience. Latex and plastic condoms protect against pregnancy and STIs, however, Lambskin or any contraceptive made with animal membrane only protects against pregnancy, not STIs.

7. Go for condoms with extra features

Condoms come with various features like studs, ribbing, and ultra-thin materials. Each type of feature has a benefit, like warming to amplify the intensity or ribbing texture to improve sensation. Some even target the G-spot! It's essential to find what feels best for you. Playful condoms bring some fun and novelty to the bedroom, so go ahead, experiment and explore the wide variety available for those extra special intimate moments.

8. Use more lube

Using lubricant with condoms makes things more comfortable and pleasurable. It reduces friction, gives a smoother glide, and prevents discomfort, irritation, and condom breakage. So, if you're feeling like condoms dry you or your partner out during intercourse, try adding lubricant. Just make sure the lubricant is compatible with the condom material. For example, you should use water-based lube like Pjur Aqua with latex condoms, but not oil-based lubricant as that can damage the condom material.

9. Avoid using two condoms or “double bagging”

Avoid using two condoms, known as "double bagging," as it can make condoms less effective. It increases friction and tension, making breakage or slipping more likely. Additionally, the friction weakens both condoms, reducing their reliability against STIs and unintended pregnancy. Thinner or ultra-sensitive condoms offer the same level of effectiveness and may even increase sensitivity.


So, do condoms kill the feeling? That answer boils down to personal preference, the type of condom, even and how you use a condom. While wearing a condom may affect sensation, not everyone agrees that they significantly reduce sensitivity or pleasure. The idea that condoms take away from pleasure and intimacy is subjective and not widely agreed upon. Different condom materials and features can enhance the intimate experience while providing reliable protection against STIs and unintended pregnancies. So, as you prioritize your sexual health, consider the safety, health benefits, and peace of mind condoms offer against the reduction in sensation. And for those looking to intensify sexual sensations, there are many ways to do that even with condoms, like using couples vibrators, trying different sex positions, and switching up foreplay. 

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