Men Don't Hate Seeing Condoms In Porn As Much As You Think, Study Finds

The myth that condoms diminish pleasure was helpfully debunked in a report last year, which found that most dudes claiming as much actually just suffer from erectile dysfunction or simply never learned how to apply one properly. But stigma against condoms persists. A new study, however, found that men don't hate seeing condoms in porn as much as we're led to believe, either.

In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, 821 men across the sexuality spectrum were surveyed on their preferences surrounding "sexually explicit media" — or, in common parlance: porn. While the percentage of straight, gay, and bisexual men who preferred watching penetrative sex with condoms didn't break single digits across any sexual identity, the percentage of men who felt indifferent about the presence of condoms in a scene was surprisingly high.

Among straight men watching vaginally penetrative sex, 31.7 percent were indifferent about the presence of a condom in the scene. And while 65 percent preferred watching condomless vaginal sex, that's not exactly an overwhelming majority. Those numbers were similar for straight men watching anal sex scenes.

Among gay men, 29.2 percent were indifferent about the presence of a condom, while 64.4 percent preferred condomless scenes when watching penetrative anal sex. For penetrative vaginal sex scenes, there was a nearly even split, with around 45 percent feeling indifferent about condom use, and around 50 percent preferring condomless scenes. (Oh yeah, spoiler alert: Fifty-five percent of gay men watched straight sex scenes and 21 percent of straight men watched gay male scenes.) Participants who identified as bisexual showed consistent preferences whether for a penetrative vaginal or anal sex scene, with around 41 percent feeling indifferent about condoms and 50 percent preferring condomless scenes. 

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The second part of the study surveyed the correlation between men who had recently watched scenes with or without condoms and whether they had used condoms the next time they had sex. While there was a statistically significant correlation (i.e., men who watched a scene with condoms were more likely to have used them, and men who watched a scene without condoms were less likely to have used them), we can't deduce from this survey alone why that was the case.

Earlier this year, a study in the PLOS One Journal by Dr. Eric Schrimshaw from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Dr. Martin J. Downing, Jr. from the Public Health Solution, focusing on 265 men who have sex with men, found a link between the levels of safe sex in porn and in real life.

While it's true that slightly over half of men surveyed in this new study still preferred watching porn scenes without a condom, it's encouraging that nearly half felt indifferent about them. If a fantasy medium like porn isn't de-eroticized by the presence of a condom for men, then it's possible that they could carry those perceptions with them into IRL sex.

Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Giphy

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