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Do It with Emotion

This column addresses questions and topics of all kinds concerning sex and relationships. Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion do not claim to be experts in the fields but have been “around the block” a few times and have seen their share of situations involving relationships and sex. The opinions of Dr. Do It and Ms. Emotion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication.

In this column we thought we’d address some very pressing concerns about what products are out there for the sexually active. Although we’ve tried many items that are available, we stopped by Condom World at 332 Newbury Street in Boston to get a more thorough idea of what’s out there today.

Ms. Emotion: Well, I think I should point out first that Dr. Do It and I did not try any of these products out together (except maybe in his dreams).

Dr. Do It: Well, dreams are the safest place to have sex. But speaking of safe sex, this is a good point to bring up condoms. There are so many brands and styles to choose from, each varying in sizes, shapes, colors, and material.

Ms. Emotion: Yes, Dr. Do It, but I think we’re all wondering which kind is your favorite?

Dr. Do It: The ribbed condom from the well-known Trojan line has slight ridges circling the condom which are supposed to create more sensation for both people. And since I aim to please, I often go with this type.

Ms. Emotion: Hmm, I’ve tried those but I’ve never felt anything different.

Dr. Do It: Do you ever feel anything different? Perhaps you should try Lifestyles Studded condoms, which have tiny latex bumps on the surface of the condom to stimulate sensation. But maybe you’re not sensitive enough to feel those either.

Ms. Emotion: I’ll have you know I’m very sensitive.

Dr. Do It: Yeah, I’ve heard your boyfriend complain about that before. Okay, let’s get back to the article. Another good option is Lifestyles’ Ultra-fit version. It is more contoured and thinner than their standard version. Lifestyles also has a thin version, which I’ve used but I think it is too thin especially since I think even their standard version feels thinner than the standard Trojan version. If you want variety you could also get the Lifestyles assorted colors condoms, which has every color in the rainbow. Of course you’ll need to keep the lights on to see the colors.

These different versions of condoms come either lubricated or non-lubricated. And the lubricant used in most of these condoms is the spermicidal lubricant with nonoxynol-9.

Ms. Emotion: I should also point out that for some people, nonoxynol-9 can irritate their genitalia, sometimes severely.

Dr. Do It: And we don’t want Ms. Emotion to get irritated, do we? For those who fit this category, you should check the boxes before buying them. You can get ones without nonoxynol-9 or get unlubricated condoms. Unlubricated condoms can sometimes be more difficult to put on (or in) but you can also buy a lubricant without nonoxynol-9 to use with unlubricated condoms.

The lubricant selection is almost as large as the condom selection. Astroglide, an old favorite claims to be “second only to nature” and I wouldn’t doubt it. Another brand, Wet, comes in two types: Original with nonoxynol-9, and Light without it. ForPlay is a new line that Condom World carries, and it comes in three viscosities: liquid, gel, and cream. The cream is said to thin with the addition of heat. Condom World also carries a European line called EROS, which, according to the label, could be used for just about anything, from condom lubrication, to massage oil, to helping you put on your rubber clothing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it could also grease your car’s axles.

Anyway, I must point out something about lubricants. These things can be very slippery, so you don’t need as much as you think you do. As the instructions on the labels say, just a couple of drops is all it will take. Use any more and you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place with no friction at all; and you won’t know whether you’re coming or going.

Ms. Emotion: One last thing, some people have latex allergies and are irritated by the standard latex condom. Condom World carries a Naturalamb brand which is made from natural membranes. They protect against pregnancy but do not protect against STDs. I personally would not recommend this type of condom. But there is a new condom type for those irritated by latex. It’s called Supra Microsheer Polyurethane from Trojan, and it’s been on the market for about four months.

Dr. Do It: It’s been a pretty hot seller because a lot of people (including some of our friends) actually prefer it to the latex condom. It feels thinner, is more comfortable and allows for more heat-transfer, so you can “feel” your partner more directly.

Ms. Emotion: I never thought about the heat transfer issue. I guess you have to be a guy to really understand that. Maybe that’s why when a guy applies cold lubricant to the outside of a condom it doesn’t phase him, but it sure does shock us.

Dr. Do It: Well, I always warm the lubrication up between my hands before rubbing it on the condom.

Ms. Emotion: Sure you do. I bet you’re in as much of a hurry as the next guy.

Dr. Do It: Anyway, we didn’t have enough space here to talk about the many other things that are available at Condom World (such as massage oils, sex books, climax beads, padded handcuffs, etc.). But for those who want a little more variety in their sexual activity, we recommend checking out their selection. If there is interest for us to go into more detail about these accessories, please e-mail us at advice@the-tech.mit.edu and tell us. Send any other questions about relationships or sex which you would like addressed in this column to the same address.