Many men feel about condoms the same way they feel about going to the dentist: a necessary evil to be avoided whenever possible. The go-to excuse is usually that wearing condoms doesn't feel good, or that they have a latex allergy that literally causes their testicles to spontaneously combust.
Sorry, gentlemen, but you don't get to play the "they're not comfortable" or "I'm allergic" card anymore. A study released Monday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has determined that condoms do not affect sexual performance. The issue isn't that condoms make men less likely to stay hard. Rather, these men most likely had trouble staying hard to begin with.
Take that, guy from sophomore year who said wearing a condom went against his Zoroastrian religious beliefs!
The study: Researchers surveyed 479 men between the ages of 18 and 24 and asked them whether they'd experienced problems in the bedroom as a result of using condoms. The goal of the study was to determine whether the men suffered from erectile dysfunction or if their penises just really, really hated condoms.
Ultimately, the researchers found that just over one-third of the men polled (38%) had no trouble staying erect whilst strapping on a Jimmy Hat. But of the 62% of men who did report having various condom-related erectile difficulties during condom application or during intercourse, 18% to 32% met the criteria for "mild to moderate" erectile dysfunction. Put another way, these men were blaming condoms for their inability to stay erect, when in fact they were just much more likely to experience problems with erectile dysfunction anyway.
This isn't the first time science has disproved the "condoms make me bad at sex" theory. A 2013 study from the University of Indiana also proved that condom use didn't affect the quality of sex, according to both male and female partners. The study also disproved the old chestnut that condoms have magical dick-shrinking properties.
While the results of the recent study can be considered a victory for young women who've battled with their partners over wearing a condom, it's important to be sensitive to the fact that erectile dysfunction can be a source of embarrassment for many men. (It's also becoming increasingly common among younger men: Another 2013 study determined that 1 in 4 men who seek treatment for the disorder are under the age of 40.)
So the next time your partner comes to you with a sob story about how wearing a Trojan violates his First Amendment rights, feel free to call him on his bullshit — but also, try to be sensitive to the fact that he's probably experienced difficulties in the bedroom before. And then kick him to the curb, because anyone who refuses to wear a condom probably isn't worth having sex with anyway.
Correction: Aug. 23, 2015
An earlier version of this article stated that 38% was equal to a majority of men polled in study. That percentage represents a plurality of men polled, the largest single group to choose a specific answer.