New kid on the cock

Friday, June 04, 2010

Question

I was in a relationship with the first girl I slept with for years, so even though I've had a pretty active sex life, I never had to wear a condom.

Since being dumped, I've had close to no sex, and the only time I did, even though it was pretty fun for everyone (she was great, I was great, it was great), I realized how different, not as fulfilling, it is with a condom on. I felt little down there, felt disconnected and handicapped in my ability to provide pleasure, as I can now only feel what I'm doing well or not with/to her by sight and sound. I have this image of a massage therapist working with anesthetized hands.

I'm already using the thin ones, but there's not exactly a great variety for my size. Not catching diseases is important, but at the same time I'd like to enjoy more the rare opportunities I actually get. I read in your column some time ago about a super-thin condom made from a different material that got rave reviews.

For real, or did I just imagine that? What is that condom? Does it come in a large size? Also, while I'm not presently in need of tests for venereal diseases and other uncool genital stuff, I'd be in trouble if I did, because I'm clueless about how to get them quickly. Do I need a family doctor? Does it cost something?

New Guy in the Protection Business

Answer

Regardless of your perceived status, making sexual health part of your routine and developing a relaxed candour with its language and practitioners is a smart thing to do. You don't need a family doctor; there are free sexual health clinics you can visit even on a walk-in basis. Hassle Free (hasslefreeclinic.org) was my favourite until I was diagnosed with premature ovarian syndrome and had to get myself a GP and a specialist.

For barrier protection, you have several options. Try Kimono brand from Japan in the larger size. Skyn is the one you may be remembering I mentioned in my column. It's made of polyisoprene, an alternative to latex, though for now it's only available in regular sizes.

Visit a sex shop offering single condoms for sale (Good for Her, Come As you Are) and grab a selection. Use them while you jerk off to test sensation.

Another option you may want to try during sex is the female condom. I've found them somewhat unwieldy to insert, and they are compar-atively expensive, but this is another benefit of free sexual health clinics: they generally have buckets of complimentary condoms, both male and female, in the waiting room. An advantage of the female condom is that is covers a broader area, offering better protection against skin-to-skin viruses.

As for gauging sensation in your partner, if you've ever had a massage, you might have noticed that one thing therapists do is ask questions like, "Am I going too hard? Does this feel good? Where can I apply more or less pressure?" You are free to do the same with sex partners.