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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 28, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 35
Condoms not entirely to blame for erection problems, new study says
Section One
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Condoms not entirely to blame for erection problems, new study says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Condoms are not entirely to blame when men who use them experience erection problems, a new study says.

The study, published in the August Journal of Sexual Medicine, surveyed 479 men between the ages of 18 and 24 who had used a condom during sex in the previous 90 days.

Of the men surveyed, about 62% had condom-associated erectile problems before penetration, after penetration, or during both instances.

In the population as a whole, previous studies have found that between 16% and 30% of young men experience occasional erectile dysfunction, regardless of condom use, so at first glance the study's findings might suggest a significant increase in erection problems resulting from condom use.

However, researchers said that the young men who reported condom-associated erectile problems were more likely to report trouble getting hard even when no condom was used.

In general, young men who had trouble staying hard using condoms were significantly more likely to be classified as having mild to moderate erectile dysfunction than the ones who weren't affected by using condoms.

In fact, researchers said they had deliberately over-sampled men with condom-associated erection problems, recruiting participants using flyers that read 'Do condoms interfere with your erections?' and 'Do condoms interfere with your arousal?'

Their purpose was to determine what role, if any, the condoms themselves played in erection issues.

'Condom-associated erection problems have been a very under-researched topic,' study co-author Dr. Cynthia Graham explained. 'Increasing evidence suggests, however, that they may influence whether condoms are used correctly or from start to finish of sex.'

For the actual survey, the men were first asked how often they had erectile problems in the last 90 days when they were not using condoms. They were specifically asked to explain at which point they lost their erections during the hook up - before putting it in or after (but before they reached orgasm).

Then, the men were asked about their erectile problems in the last 90 days when they were using condoms. They reported how often they lost or started to lose erections while putting the condom on before intercourse, and then how often they lost or started to lose erections while wearing a condom during intercourse.

'Men who first experience loss of erection when they use condoms might worry about [difficulty] experiencing erections more generally and hence be more vulnerable [to erectile problems],' the study stated.

The study also cited previous research that found difficulties performing with a condom usually lasted only for the first 60 seconds of sexual activity.

Researchers also found that 37% of participants reported that they were never actually taught how to use a condom, which may help explain why they believe using one can have a negative impact on sexual performance. Schools need to be much more effective in sex education, the study concluded.

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