Newly unwrapped research suggests that sex with condoms is just as earth-shaking as sex au naturel, HealthDay News reports. A cross-section of nearly 6,000 18- to 59-year-old Americans -- women, men, gay and straight -- revealed as much in data analyzed by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in Bloomington. The results, published Jan. 23 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, indicated that all parties consistently graded protected sex as "highly arousing and pleasurable," according to an Indiana University news release about the study. Center co-director Debby Herbenick said the findings defy long-held beliefs that condom-use makes sex less natural. According to the news release, the study also found that men showed "no significant difference" in maintaining erections with or without condoms, and women couldn't tell whether a condom was lubricated or what material it's made from during the act. The latter signifies that women need to become more familiar with the condoms their partners use so women can enhance their safety and sexual experience, Herbenick added. Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of ambulatory care, obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, told HealthDay that condom criticism stemmed from "a macho thing." But condom avoidance might also be attributed to comfort. For example, a recent study of gay men showed that the larger a man's penis is, the less likely he is to use a condom. Many respondents said they simply couldn't find the right fit. As NBC points out, the Indiana University study was funded by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., the company behind Trojan condoms. However, Herbenick told the outlet that "the data is the data." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of condoms reduces the risk of contracting and/or spreading sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
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